Traverse City was full of tourists with streets closed and the cycle path was not on the bay so my plan to go cross country was a good one – I thought.
The Traverse Area Recreation Trail or TART- get it, like a “tart” cherry. It’s a well-marked trail system in the city that may have quite a few stop signs but it has been set up after most of the city was built so it is away from traffic but lots of stops and turns. It is unfortunate that all of the high-priced real estate along the bay could not be used.
The Google suggested route looked promising, using the mall trail that led to a nice steep hill away from the Busy Highway 31. So maybe Michigan has a different view of what a road is and maybe Google doesn’t know the difference between a paved road, a road with gravel and a single lane through the forest on a very sandy road. I’d like to say that the velomobile handled all those roads very well. But I wound up pushing for at least half a mile because the rear tire sunk too far into the sand – that was Haze rd between Wallin and Landis roads. I thought – well I can get through this road but the next one can’t be as bad however it kept getting worse. All told there must have been about 15 to 20 miles of non paved road I traveled on. You may say why didn’t you just go on Highway 31. The problem with Highway 31 today was that the section I would have liked to use had a disappearing shoulder and the rain made car and bike traffic difficult. My phone and emailed direction from my wife kept me from making wrong turns. The 5V USB battery pack for the LED velomobile lighting kept my phone powered.
The spot tracker device must not have liked the shortcut either as it decided not to broadcast any of the track from Traverse City to 10 miles out of Manistee. Or maybe it was the batteries.
The list of problem areas with the velomobile keeps growing. Every pedal push results in a squeak and a grown that I have not heard before. The back end is also making noises. I believe the bottom bracket bearing is going out. I believe I need to rebuild the bearings on the rear wheel. After my off road adventure the right front tire is nearly down to the point of failure. AND the built in electrical system is starting to fail – the turn signal flasher starts chattering for no reason – the right turn signal no longer works.
I looked at the remaining path to take and it does not seem unique. My legs no longer cramp up but the rest of my body wants a break (I won’t go into the details of my explosive exhaust leak other than freeze dried food might have had an expiration date) . I have decided to rent a U-Haul truck and cart the velomobile the final 71 miles to Muskegon. I will then ride the last 10 miles to the lake Express ferry and be on the Monday 4:30 ferry ride.
They only started the engines – no ride for me.
I have spare tires for the velomobile but my concern is the bearings that have started to make so much noise. They should be fine for the short distances I plan to do on the 3rd.
I am glad for the opportunity to have ridden nearly 600 miles in 7 days. The weather was not always what I wanted but it wasn’t bad. My prayers were answered for safe travel and I am always amazed at the beauty of God’s handiwork.