Where to Bike
Most cycle shops around town carry paper maps of recommended cycle routes, produced by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission and the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Department. In addition, Washtenaw County has created a series of bicycle safe routes linking and spanning Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti called the Border to Border Trail. A map detailing the route can be found here .
There are currently a few mountain biking trails in Ann Arbor. One set is in Olson Park (map), which is located at Pontiac Trail at Dhu Varren Road. Another, called the Bluffs Nature Area (map), is located on the west side of North Main St., across from Lake Shore Street. Other mountain biking routes exist, such as the M-14 trails, the "Loop of Pain", and trails crossing through Black Woods Ponds park.
Mountain biking trails near Ann Arbor include those at Rolling Hills Park, Maybury State Park, the Potawatomi Trail (in the Pinckney Recreation Area), the Island Lake Park Recreation Area , and the Brighton Recreation Area.
This gets a bit trickier, but some Ann Arborites cycle year-round. Any amount of snow and ice makes starting and stopping harder and slower. (Note that riding on the street becomes an even better idea, as the streets are generally better cleared of snow than the sidewalks.) You'll need a change of clothes, or at least some shoe covers and face protection - many winter cyclists wear ski goggles to protect their eyes from wind and glare. As always, a good set of lights is essential, especially due to the shorter daylight hours. getDowntown occasionally offers winter biking workshops, and winter cyclists are generally happy to help newbies.
Where to buy a bike
Here are some recommendations on places in town to get a bike or get your bike repaired.
annarbor.craigslist.org Around the start and end of terms people put used bikes up on craigslist. Its a great classified resource for all kinds of used goods.
Two Wheel Tango On Packard. These guys are bike experts and will go out of there way to help you find the right bike for you. The Hoover location closed, but they opened their new shop on the west side (Jackson at Zeeb) in July, 2007.
Great Lakes Cycling & Fitness A family owned shop located at 2015 W. Stadium. New ownership as of '07 and a new location as of March '09. A full compliment service dept. with the fastest turn around in Ann Arbor. Great Lakes carries Cannondale, Giant, Felt, Scott, Electra (Townies) as well as a number of smaller brands.
Wheels in Motion Bike shop for every kind of rider. Family owners have been in the bike shop business in A2 for over 75 years. 3400 Washtenaw. Bike (and car) parking in front, handicap accessible through rear entrance.
Ann Arbor Bike Polo is polo, on bicycles.
Biking in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor received a Bicycle Friendly Community Award in 2005, and has made major efforts over the past several years to encourage cycling, including development of Non-Motorized Transportation Plans, a Bicycle Master Plan, the earmarking of 5% of the City's share of State gasoline tax receipts to non-motorized transportation, and programs such as getDowntown's "Curb Your Car Month". A number of new bike lanes have been designated recently; the DDA has included bike parking areas in their parking structures, rentable bike lockers in select locations, and bike hoops in their streetscaping efforts; and all AATA buses are equipped with bike racks for mixed-mode commutes.
Bicycles are considered vehicles under Michigan State law and court rulings, and cyclists have all of the rights and responsibilities of automobile drivers. Ann Arbor employs a number of police officers dedicated to enforcing traffic laws for bicycles. The laws are consistently enforced in the downtown area less so further out. Bicyclists are not obligated to ride in the street by Ann Arbor law. However, studies have shown that bicycling in the street is safer by far than bicycling along sidewalks. Bicyclists should "take the lane", except on large arterials with no on-street bicycle facilities, and sidewalk bicycle riding in the downtown is dangerous for pedestrians as well as bicyclists.
Many downtown streets have "cycle route" symbols painted on the pavement to warn drivers, and almost all streets are low-speed enough for cyclists to ride comfortably in traffic. Ann Arbor has 18 miles of designated bike lanes.
Outside of downtown, many of the higher-speed arterial streets have bike lanes on the pavement or "side paths", which are wider than a sidewalk and paved, rather than cement, and often marked as bike routes with signs. The network of dedicated bicycle facilities is planned to expand in coming years. Most cyclists are happy to give route and safety tips to newer cyclists. A front bike light is required by both law and common sense when riding on streets during nighttime or dusk and a rear light is recommended; cycle shops around town carry sets for around $35.00 and will usually install them for you.
Bicycles as art
Circumference has a conference bicycle that seats 6? 8?
Michigan Peaceworks has organized a bicycle chorale of singing riders.
- Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition
- Car Free Ann Arbor - blog format listing of local and general car-free transportation tips.
- getDowntown's biking information page - includes locations of downtown bike lockers and covered bike parking within downtown parking structures
- Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society
- Ann Arbor News on the Ypsilanti bicycle scene
- Michigan Sports & Fitness Magazine - locally published outdoor sports magzine that covers road cycling, mountain biking, triathlons and other pursuits.