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Lake Huron Loop

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Lake Huron Loop

Old 02-24-05, 07:28 AM
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Lake Huron Loop

This summer I want to ride around Lake Huron. There are a few cyclists out there with web pages who avoided cycling on Canada's Route 17 claiming it's too dangerous. Has anyone had any experience riding from Manitoulin Island to Sault Ste. Marie on route 17? Any advice is appreciated.Thanks.
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Old 02-24-05, 05:58 PM
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Jamie Noble rode around Lake Huron last summer - you might want to check out his journal gltlakehuron.crazyguyonabike.com. He's very good about answering questions posted in his guestbook - although I'd bet that he'll stumble on this posting too!
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Old 02-24-05, 07:55 PM
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I did most of the Canadian route by canoe and it was great - no major problems.
 
Old 02-24-05, 11:52 PM
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Hi!

I went around Lake Huron last summer as Denise mentioned. It was an incredible ride with opportunities to meet other cycling tourists at several different points in my tour. I also rode from Saulte Ste Marie to Espanola on 17 along with several Cross Canada cyclists who happened to be riding through the area at the same time. I met 14 Cross Canada riders during those two days on 17.

If you check out my Round Lake Huron journal on Crazyguyonabike.com you will find places where I've made specific comments about the ride, shoulders etc and in many pictures you can actually see the road conditions. Additionally each page has a profile chart showing the hills etc that you can expect to ride.

http://gltlakehuron.crazyguyonabike.com/

I found from discussions with other cyclists that there seemed to be a pattern that cyclists NOT using mirrors were the most concerned about traffic. Cyclists using bike mounted mirrors were in the middle and cyclists using helmet mounted mirrors were the least concerned. I personally used a helmet mirror and did not find the traffic conditions too bad.

Most sections have at least small paved shoulders that you can ride on. THe shoulder does tend to disappear in three lane sections where your side of the road has two lanes. Most cars go to the lane closest to the center so that wasn't a problem for me.

Keep an eye out for two big trucks, like lumber trucks, going by in opposite directions at the same time. It was recommended to me that I try to avoid travelling on 17 during weekends or holidays when the traffic tends to be higher with many more RVs and other tourists.

When you turn at McKerrow/Espanola you turn on to highway 6 or 8 I can't remember the actual number. This highway has a dirt shoulder but no paved shoulder. In the middle of the dirt shoulder there was a hard clay area that in most conditions could be ridden on. I stayed on the road although I did go to the clay area a few times when climbing the "mountains - labelled that way on the map" after Espanola especially in areas where the road dipped a lot meaning that cars might not see me until they crested the hill behind me. You might find those mountains a bit surprising after riding the TransCan earlier in the day.

Once you reach Little Current the highway turns pretty peaceful and relatively flat except for a couple hills all the way to South Baymouth. Camping can be hard to find in South Baymouth so if you want to take a daylight ferry and it's dark I recommend camping at the campground somewhere around 15 km outside of South Baymouth.

Plan your entrance into Tobermory so that you are going to be riding opposite the traffic direction if you are arriving there on a weekend. If you will be heading South then try to be doing so on a Friday rather then a Sunday and the opposite for the other direction. There are no paved shoulders on the highway leaving Tobermory and no alternate roads for about 40 km. Check my tour report and you will find that the point where I turned off allows you to head South on the highway or West and East on much quieter roads.

If you intend to stay on Tobermory for a few days to ride the island you can find very detailed road maps of the island for a couple of dollars at many of the small stores.

Hopefully you can tell by my long message that going around Lake Huron was an incredible experience for me and one that someday I just might repeat despite the many other places in the world to tour.

Lake Huron is actually just one segment of my Great Lakes Circle Tour. I've also gone around Lake Erie as well. I have three more Great Lakes to circle in North America anyway.

In my Great Lakes Circle Tour journal I have a page for each lake with links to other bicycle tours around the same lake. Here's the one for Lake Huron:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journ...e_id=15957&v=3

Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have.

~Jamie N
www.bicycletouring101.com
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Old 02-25-05, 01:50 PM
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Thank you so much Denise and Jamie! This is exactly what I was looking for. You guys rock! Thanks again.
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Old 02-25-05, 06:08 PM
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A friend and I rode around Lake Huron nearly 30 years ago - it was by far the most incredible ride I've done, even though it rained 5 straight days, most of which were during the Sault Ste Marie - Georgian Bay portion. We took the ferry from Tobermory across the bay mouth to cut off a few miles - even with that the ride totalled just over 1,000 miles.

Traffic back then was no issue!!! Canadian drivers are by far much more curtious than those in southeastern Michigan.
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Old 02-26-05, 12:07 AM
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It's kind of amusing that you mentioned rain. After weeks of sunshine it seemed like I rain into a major storm front the day after I set bicycle on the Upper penisula. I had the opportunity to get to know that storm/cold front extremely well over the next few days of my tour along the north shore of Lake Huron until I reached Tobermory. Only the first two days featured lots of rain, the remainder were mainly chilly with occassional showers.

Do you happen to have an online journal about your tour? I would absolutely love to read about your trip!

~Jamie N
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Old 02-26-05, 09:48 AM
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The rain actually hung with us for most of the trip. We started in our hometown of Utica, Michigan, and had a wonderful first day to the State Park at Bay City. The next day to East Tawas was rainy from start to finish - I was happy to see your photos of that stretch as we missed most of the scenery - US 23 was pretty busy that day, and with the rain we spent most of our 'eye time' on traffic and road conditions. We opted for a motel that night so that we could dry out, and immediately the sun came out..... go figure! To set the timeline - that was the day that Elvis died (or did he??)

Reading your journal had inspired me to search for mine - written in a notebook tucked away somewhere in the basement. I do have photos, and will probably get them scanned and posted somewhere. Having aged 30 years, they are not in the best condition, but worth the trip!!

Way back then we were allowed to cycle across the Blue Water Bridge, did the double ferry from to / from Mackinac Island, and rode across the International Bridge. I've also ridden across the Ambassador Bridge (not allowed any more), and Big Mac - upon completion of the DALMAC ride I've done for the past 4 years. For the DALMACers, see you all on the quint century this year!!! Cooper will be staying home, unless the wife agrees to provide private SAG, and bring him along......
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Old 02-26-05, 03:14 PM
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After 30 years, I'm sure the trip is much different. Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-26-05, 09:12 PM
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Hi again!

I'm glad that you enjoyed the pictures. I took a lot of them on that trip! When touring I try to remind myself to take pictures on a regular basis. While the pictures are nice during the tour it's long after the tour that they become really special when you look them over during a quiet winter day (like the other day for me).

I would love to see your journal and any pictures you might have from that time. It will be quite interesting to see what's changed during that time.

You are still able to ride across the International Bridge in Saulte Ste Marie but unfortunately that's the only one.

Thanks again!

~Jamie N
www.bicycletouring101.com
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