Mix cool restaurants and shops, a vintage Main Street surrounded by well-preserved neighborhoods, and industry from food processing to automotive, surround it with lakes, trails, and public land, and you've got Chelsea. Located west of Ann Arbor, Chelsea combines college-town hipness with small-town flavor. Downtown is a wonderful place to sit with a cup of coffee and a paper or to people watch. You'll earn it on the ride. Looping west of Chelsea through the Waterloo State Recreation Area, at 20,000 acres the largest park in the Lower Peninsula, this is one of the more difficult rambles in the book.
While there are no big climbs, the ride is consistently rolling, and the winding roads are also narrow. This is a popular route with Ann Arbor, area cyclists, however, so drivers are used to cyclists. A ride through the Waterloo State Recreation Area is a like reading a good book, one that makes you want to keep turning pages. You want to keep riding to see what's around the next bend or over the next rise. Dotted with lakes, bogs, marshes, woods, and farms, the area has an untamed feel that reminds me a bit of the Upper Peninsula. It's hard to believe that you're in southeastern Michigan. Terrain: Rolling.
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