Bike rides are still happening in Michigan! We’ve had an unusually mild fall, which is great for weekend rides. Recent bike rides have taken me on solo adventures around town, scenic rides with my mother-in-law, and today my husband and I biked together for (I think) the first time since our mini bike tour over Labor Day weekend!
Riding my bike is always refreshing and revitalizing, but fall bike rides are even more so. This is, in part, due to the crisp fall air, the gorgeous autumnal colors dancing and swaying all around, and the smell of the changing earth and fallen leaves. Fall always tends to lead me to be a bit more thoughtful and reflective, as the weather changes and we all slow down and hunker in for hibernation season. As I’m able to ride in the fall, I find that solo rides leave me feeling a bit more introspective, and it’s a welcome feeling.
The River Trail is so beautiful this time of year. There is a stretch, in particular, that is especially lovely. Just after you cross over Mt. Hope Road, you bike alongside the border of a stately cemetery on your left. On your right is woodland and the meandering river, which has narrowed to more of a brook. You round the bend and your view has a decidedly more wetland type of feel to it. In the late spring and summer you’ll often see turtles sun bathing on rocks and large branches peeking out of the water. There are also many deer throughout this part of the trail, and I’ve seen deer wading through the water and taking a drink. Past the wetland, you cross over a bridge that opens up to what I believe used to be a golf course. It’s now just a picturesque grassy field. The paved trail winds you in between a shallow river area and more a of a swampy wetland. Here I’ve seen geese, ducks, mallards, heron, and deer. As you cross over the next bridge you enter my absolute favorite section, which I call Fern Gully. It’s breathtaking any time of year for different reasons. In fall the leaves above turn to bright yellow and orange, and you feel as though you are biking beneath beautiful stained glass windows, especially when the sun shines through the leaves. Everything becomes quieter and more hushed. Birds chirp all around, and the river winds languidly through the forest. It’s not uncommon to see small herds of deer, who are so used to seeing people running, walking, skateboarding, roller blading, and biking through their territory, that they barely care enough to glance up at you. Oh, I’ve also, on a very early morning bike ride, been lucky enough to spy a raccoon and a SKUNK! This was my first skunk sighting in the wild that was not roadkill.
It’s all very magical.
In case my descriptions don’t cut it, here’s proof:
Happy fall riding!