March 1, 2011
The impetus for creating this site was a number of conversations with long-haul cyclists I had across the U.P., many of whom were part-way through a trip around Lake Superior. Depending on where they were on their journey, I'd always ask if they'd already made it to or were planning on riding around the Keweenaw. After all, it's part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour, and it seemed to me a foregone fact that anyone out to ride around the big lake would include the Keweenaw. But I was wrong. None of the touring riders I spoke with outside of the Keweenaw had (or were planning on) making the detour. Some seemed hell bent on putting the trip to an end and volunteered that no one should consider embarking on such a misadventure. Others seemed happy enough to keep plugging on and were sticking to their course. And a few seemed intrigued to learn that there were long stretches of rural road that hugged Lake Superior so close you might get wet on a windy day, where only handful of cars would pass over the course of a couple of hours. I've talked to a few circle tour riders in the Keweenaw, and all said what anyone who has ever driven the around the lake will tell you: the best 100 miles of Lake Superior are in the Keweenaw.
Circumnavigating Lake Superior is a long ride by bike. 1300 miles according to the official Circle Tour site. And a considerable portion of the route takes riders along high-traveled roads, built for getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible in an 18 wheeler. After 1000 miles of that, a cyclist who didn't know what he or she was missing just might pass on a side trip to the Keweenaw.
Granted, there's some fine riding on the Bayfield Peninsula in Wisconsin, on Minnesota's North Shore and some amazing scenery in Ontario and across the U.P. of Michigan. But the hundred mile stretch of road you'll want to ride again and again will be in the Keweenaw. Smooth roads, low traffic, hills as steep as you want them (flatter options if you don't), empty beaches, and friendly people. Even in cars. Mostly.
A couple different routes around the Keweenaw are shown here – one shorter and flatter, one longer and hillier. For info on road conditions, traffic volume and scenery, check out the Maps page of the site.