The 18-mile-long, 2-mile-wide finger of land that divides Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay is a cyclist's serendipity. Most of the 40-mile route is along flat shoreline, but there are scattered steep hills too, clustered at the tip. Atop them cyclists are rewarded with views of both bays, cherry orchards, and vineyards and then a blow-back-the-helmet descent.
The Old Mission Lighthouse and Park at the tip of the peninsula (also the forty-fifth parallel, halfway between the equator and the North Pole) makes a perfect rest stop. Traverse City bills itself as the world's cherry capital, and indeed, the region grows more than three-quarters of the world's tart variety, the kind used in pies. You?ll see many of these orchards on the Old Mission Peninsula Cruise. It's favored by local cyclists, including members of the aptly named Cherry Capital Cyclists, for its beautiful scenery, good roads, and lack of traffic. This counterclockwise outer loop is the easiest of the many routes around the peninsula.
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