US 2 – a roadies dream

Not the greatest picture, but it does show the really generous shoulders on this rambling and interesting highway which we recently drove from St Ignace, Michigan (Mackinac bridge) across Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota until it eventually hooked up with highway #59 south of Tolstoi and about 60km’s east of Grand Forks, ND. What a roadies dream. This highway meanders through rolling hills, great lakes shores and state and national forests for about 1,800Km’s with a superb 6 foot wide shoulder on either side. The speed limit is 55mph and the traffic is light and almost no 18 wheelers. There are small towns just about every 40KM’s and lots of clean and cheap motels along the way. I saw only two cyclists the entire three days of driving. The route seems to be almost totally overlooked by the cycling community. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, have discovered it big time. There were hundreds of them all along the ride (perhaps coming home from Sturgis ’cause they were all headed east). There were also dozens of boarded up businesses and motels along the way, especially in Michigan. They need our patronage guys and we need to ride, a win-win opportunity. When do we plan the M-I-T US#2 Tour?

9 thoughts on “US 2 – a roadies dream

  1. We road the same route to and from Ottawa except went North at the Sault. I can’t see why anyone would want to drive or cycle the Trans-Canada. Minnesota has some excellent cycling as little as 3 hours from us. I have a number of loop rides I would like to do just south and east of Lower Red Lake. I also want to go back to Otter Tail County. I just need to convince a couple of you MIT’ers that it is worth the weekend needed.

  2. I have my passport now, so let’s book a ‘weekend to ride’. September, like you suggested, Merle.

  3. Looking at the map, there would be some interesting possibilities in this area. If we went for a weekend, the riders could get dropped off at Erskine, MN, at the junction of Hwy#59 and US#2 and then ride to Bemidji for a 95 km ride. Say we drove out to Erskine on Saturday morning and we would coast into Bemidji around 4pm, check into the Super8, skip across the parking lot and have a group supper at Applebees. On Sunday we could do a loop from Bemidji that would take us partly along the south shore of Lower Red Lake along US#89, the loop would be about 160KM. If we started riding after a good breakfast, we’d be back at the hotel by mid-afternoon with plenty of time for a group supper and then the drive the home for Sunday night.
    Ha! Easy enough to plan…next steps are more challenging!

  4. Allow me to add my 2 cents, even though many of you don’t know me. I would HIGHLY recommend staying in Park Rapids, MN if you want great riding. It’s just south of Bemidji and is the start of the Headwaters 100, a century ride organized in September. I spent a week in the PR area this past July. One of the great things about the riding around PR is the number of loops you can do. You could ride for 5 days and ride new routes every day. Not all the secondary roads have big shoulders, but on the plus side, they twist and turn and go up and down a little more interestingly than the larger roads. Did I mention the pavement? It’s awesome. Like butter. And the traffic is low. I did a 30k ride one beautiful evening and only had a total of about 5 cars pass me. nice.

    anyways, for what that’s worth.


  5. Thanks for your post Chris! A great suggestion, I’ve heard many positive comments about the cycling in the Park Rapids area over the years. I know Rob S (aka “sprocketman”) has taken his family down there a few times. I’ve heard that area has some of the “rails to trails” bicycle paths as well. But I’ve wondered if those are really suitable to the nature of club riding (i.e. drafting at relatively high speeds), even if they are great for casual/recreational riding? Maybe on a Sept weekend there would be so few campers/vacationers that the trails would be quite wide open. Although sounds like many of the roads in the area would also be pretty fine riding.

  6. I’d be so on board for a ride like this – count me in if you guys seriously want to plan something.

  7. Great, at least one cook! Oops, I meant “woman” (I’m so brave in the safety of cyber-world….).

  8. Just adding to Chris’ comments above…a few of us RRR guys (Chris is one of us) have done the Headwaters 100 2 or 3 times, and it’s a great ride. Lots of smooth, rolling asphalt, beautiful scenery, and several good pit stops along the way. I recommend it.

    Part of the 100 mile route incoroprates the Heartland Trail, one of the rails-to-trail paths mentioned. This will be their 29th year, so you know they’re doing something right.

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