Sage advice, Mr. West, and the perfect wisdom for cyclists right now. The big races of the Northern Michigan are behind us, or, more aptly, so far behind us as to be on the horizon once again. Snow has made a few brief but exciting cameos, but may still be a little ways off. The time is ripe for steady, relaxed, big rides as the landscape morphs into the grey and white of December.
You've read a million how-to-dress-for-winter-riding posts, and there's no need to repeat that drilled-dead lesson. This is about just going. Get out there. Explore. Find a new route, a new hill, a new neighborhood loop. Go slow. Go fast when you feel like it. Stop for coffee, or for beer, or for two beers.
A good group of humans took a jaunt up to Short's Brewery in Bellaire. It was a rare day. Sixty-degrees in the middle of November. The freshly discovered gravel roads were soggy, but hope held that it wouldn't rain on the 40 mile ride north. Through the woods and winding roads, the skies opened up a few times, until a steady drizzle turned into a strong rain about twenty miles in. We found an awesome climb on Hill Road (imagine that) that is worth the trip by itself.
There are miles and miles of gravel roads en route to Bellaire, and we sniffed out some killer ones. If you're looking to stay on the dirt but out of the woods, it's tough to beat the route heading north. And if you stay on track, you end up at Short's, which is awesome, too.
Go ride. It's fun. It's might even be more fun.