Late Winter Beach Ride Weekend

On the spur of the moment, last week, Bethany & I, got an invitation from some long time, friends to spend the weekend over in Michigan at their beautiful lake house near New Buffalo. Our hosts DJ & Wendy, along with our buenos amigos Tom and Amy, met us on the shores of Lake Michigan on Saturday morning on the day before St.Pat’s. The six of us have been riding mountain bikes together for about the last twenty odd years and DJ was the very first of my friends, to own a pugsley, way back when they first were introduced in 2005. We settled in and after a bit of socializing and unpacking, I packed up my camera and DJ threw a few cold ones into his pack and we all rode their nice flowy switchbacked trail down to the sand and waves of Lake Michigan.

wendy cliff and cisco

Wendy and DJ’s two dogs, Cliff and Cisco, joined us on the ride, as well. Winter was giving us one last good blast, with winds straight out of the north at about 15, gusting to 25 mph, and temps in the high 20’s F. We headed north under grey skies and pedaled to the rythmn of Michigami’s pounding waves. We left McIntosh Beach and cruised up the lake shore with all of our hoods and zippers cinched tight to keep the wind from biting us, too hard.

d1 group

It had been awhile, since I had ridden any beach, so I started by rolling the surf line, but the sand felt like it was sucking me in…I stopped and let some air out of my Big Fat Larrys. The result was nothing less than magic! After just one more slight air bleed, I was gliding all over the place, looking for logs to ride and having a blast. Beach rides tend to be pretty social. There are always little spots, where you can loop around and play on logs or rocks and lots of small creeks to splash through.

d1 creek cross

We headed into the wind for a little over an hour and then stopped and had some Guinness along with some delicious maple whiskey to get our St.Patties Day Celebration started! We knew the ride back would (literally) be a breeze and as soon as we packed up our empties and turned our bikes south, we jetted down the beach and started to open some vents on our wind layers.

d1 turnaround toast
Happy St. Fatty’s Day! (one day early)

DJ wrecked right at the end of the ride, when his drive train locked up as he was climbing the switchbacks back up to the house. He cascaded down the hill, side ways doing one and a half rolls, while still clipped into his pedals. (sorry no pictures). Later, we feasted and enjoyed a warm fire with good friends!

d2 bethany and wendy

According to the forecast, Sunday showed the promise of a little more sunshine and warmer temps so after the proverbial lumberjack breakfast we decided to ride down south to New Buffalo and stop at Casey’s Good Old Irish Pub, since it was St. Fatricks Day. The sun made an appearance and the winds were a bit lighter, which made it feel about 20 degrees warmer!

d2 side

By the time we got close to New Buffalo, we had shed most of our outer layers and we were all looking forward to a nice cold beer. We couldn’t believe our eyes, when we saw that the Irish Pub was closed!…on St.Patricks Day! So instead of pub grub we went to Barney’s Market and grabbed some delicious local Bell’s beer along with some cookies and snacks and found a nice sunny spot out of the wind and had a sidewalk picnic. The ride back to the lake house was glorious and peaceful. We all agreed that the ride had been just long enough to be challenging, yet still…super-fun!

Wendy's Red Pugsley

 Michigan has such bang’n beach riding! I can’t wait for my next visit!

lakehouse 3-13 109 copy

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Just an old cat that rides bikes, herds pixels, ropes gnomes and sometimes writes stories. I love a good story.


  1. LOVE the other side of Lake Michigan. The sand dunes are taller and the sunsets are great. Plus it stays light out til 10pm in the summer. Had me some good times in Grand Haven!

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