One of our Grand Rapids amigos, Thom Goodyke gave me the thumbs up, when I asked him about beach riding conditions on the Michigan side of the Great Lake with the same name. That set my imagination on fire with fat-bike-beach images from the past. I cut my teeth riding mountain bikes in the Wolverine State and I return there as often as I can to ride her sweet sandy trails and beaches!
The mixed bag of rain and clouds in the forecast was the last piece of the puzzle to motivate me to get a mission plan together for a solo beach safari. I keep my legacy fat-bike, Otis, set up for beach riding. The camera loves Otis and stormy skies love the camera back.
My first stop brought me to New Buffalo just over the Michigan State Line. I wanted to get some tires in the sand “Proof of Beach” before I headed any further around the lakeshore. I’ve ridden this section of beach with mi amigos DJ and Wendy before the great lakes uprising of 2018 and it was wide and windy.
I started at the New Buffalo Beach and rode north. There was quite a bit of soft sand to negotiate to get to the surf-line and I stopped and dumped some air pressure to keep me afloat. About two miles down the beach, my front tire went flat. I picked up a thorn and somewhat to my surprise, I was running a tube instead of tubeless. I busted out my spare Revo Loop Tube and got rolling after lots of pumping. A sandy tire change was a new experience for me and reminded me why I run tubeless (most of the time).
Van Buren State Park
For the next beach stalk of this Third Coast Beach Safari, I visited Van Buren, State Park. I’d hoped to camp there and ride the beach, but their camping facilities were closed due to construction, so I just rode the beach. I was also trying to escape some rainstorms that were racing across the lake. When I got to VBSP it was a bit foggy which can be a really cool time to ride.
The barrier at the powerplant made a really elegant pixel arrangement for the camera. I was probably in the crosshairs of an Energy Department security agent the whole time that I took the photo(s).
For some strange reason, I’d never been to the lakeshore in Holland, Michigan. I’ve driven through and visited the beaches north and south of Holland so this trip, I took some time to get acquainted with the beaches of Tulip Town. It reminded me of Port Washington on the Sconny side of the lake. It’s a really nice place with a gorgeous boardwalk and lakefront parks. I started my ride at Holland State Park.
The lake was a little more active and there were a few places that made me hike a bike through thigh-high water. Always remember to hike with your bike on the shore side of your legs so the waves don’t push your bike into your legs. Waves can be damned powerful when they crash into the shore. After a bit of riding, I visited Tunnel Park and then headed back to the State Park for a nice tailgate picnic.
The singing sands of Grand Haven must start in Holland. When you walk or ride in the soft dry sand it makes a noise that the local lore calls singing sand. It also is quite clingy. Check out my Husker Du in the photo. Any good beach safari ends with sand in everything and this trip was no exception! This trip only covers a tiny sliver of what’s out there to ride. The beach is back over in South East Michigan. I wonder what the Wisconsin Beaches are like? If you’ve got some beach that you’d like to safari, drop me a line and we’ll plan a bike picnic at your sand preserve. Beach riding is in my blood! (and captures my imagination) ¡Felices Caminos Amigos!