There’s a new women’s bike group in the area – and it’s not just for locals.


“Michigan Girl Bike Group” started in early May of this year with just a handful of riders on a rainy spring night - and has since grown to nearly 20 riders gathering every other Thursday night at 6 p.m. to tour Leelanau County on two wheels.


The group started out on mountain bike trails, but, due to high demand, has since morphed into a paved trail riding group, complete with after-ride beverages and laughter.


How do I know? Because I’m the unofficial leader of this pack of ladies!


I started the group as a means of helping women get out on their bikes for pure FUN! All women and abilities are welcome, although the pace is probably a little faster than you could maintain on a “cruiser” bike. Most women ride mountain bikes or road bikes and the average pace is 10-12mph. Each ride is 10-15 miles long.



Kandace Chapple leads the new “Michigan Girl Bike Group” down the Leelanau Trail.


The rides start at various spots along Leelanau Trail, a 17-mile paved off-road connection between Traverse City and Suttons Bay maintained by TART Trails, Inc. Running through the last of Leelanau County’s former railroad corridors, the trail features picturesque forests, farms, vineyards, lakes and ponds.


While most everyone in the group is local, they sometimes bring their visiting relatives, and, occasionally, a tourist or two will join us, renting a bike at Suttons Bay Bikes in Suttons Bay, or McLain’s Cycle and Fitness or Brick Wheels in Traverse City (all of which are located near the trail).


Each ride has a different theme. This August, the group held a “Heart” Ride to celebrate lost loved ones. We taped pictures of our loved ones on our bike, along with a cardboard heart dangling off our handlebars. The group rode up to a memorial bench along the trail for one rider’s father. We looked for “signs” from our loved ones along the way, like butterflies. It was a very sweet and loving ride with both tears and laughter! The night ended with a toast at the Farm Club in Lake Leelanau (lots of outdoor seating and can I recommend the Heirloom Cider, which is a collaboration with Left Foot Charley in Traverse City).



A recent outing of the Michigan Girl Bike Group included a finish at the Farm Club in Lake Leelanau.



The next ride is Sept. 2. There’s a private Facebook group for ladies to get details for each ride. Join us and enjoy the camaraderie of a group setting in Leelanau County - on two wheels!