Experience the North Shore by Bike
By Kris McNeal
…and then we decided to bike all the way around all five of the Great Lakes…
Many of us have experienced Lake Superior’s scenic North Shore. Whether it’s a day trip to one of the shore’s many fabulous parks, a leisurely weekend getaway, or a quick trip for business, we can probably agree, that most of those journeys took place inside a car or truck. Sure they’re convenient and efficient, but how much do we actually see… how much do we really experience… while driving along the shoreline? It’s difficult to take in the grandeur of the North Shore when you’re moving along Scenic Highway 61 at 55 mph, and even harder yet when traveling 65 mph on the expressway. The motorist may stop at a pullout to take in the beauty for a moment and snap a few selfies, but then it’s back into the car and off to the next destination, leaving everything along the way to the dust.
A much smaller group of people (myself included) has discovered a new way to travel along Lake Superior’s majestic North Shore. Powered by pedals, we’ve biked along the rugged coastline and gained a new kind of perspective on our relationship to the largest freshwater lake in the world. Ernest Hemingway understood that relationship when he wrote:
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”
A unique perspective is obtained when pedaling a bike and it provides a much more intimate experience with the North Shore. Our brains can process more of what we are seeing due to the slower pace and we don’t miss nearly as much as when driving a car. Thus, our experience becomes much more complete and fulfilled and we come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of our journey and surroundings.
My own intimate experience of the North Shore – and the trip I completed around all five of the Great Lakes – is nearly indescribable. It’s something that changed the way I look at… the way I experience… Lake Superior. Now, I’ve got a chance to share some of that experience with folks coming to visit Duluth and the North Shore!
The Duluth Experience Tour Company is now offering exciting bicycle tours up the North Shore and with gear, bikes, guides, lunch, and transport provided, you’re given everything you need to lose yourself in the journey. You can take it slow with the Scenic North Shore Bike Tour where you have more leisure time to learn about Duluth and Lake Superior along the way before ending the ride on a beautiful beach where you’re treated to an awesome picnic lunch from Northern Waters Smokehaus. Or, you can step it up and take the High Roller Bicycle Tour where you bike up to Two Harbors, stopping along the way to have a lite snack at the New Scenic Café while learning about Lake Superior’s origins and the geology of the North Shore. Upon arriving in Two Harbors, you’ll dine on a great lunch by Vanilla Bean Café and then ride back to Duluth on the North Shore Scenic Railroad.
Come on out and join me for a pedal up the North Shore – I’d love to share the experience with you. And… if you’re interested in finding out more about my trek around the Great Lakes check out the trailer for Big Water Bike that will be coming out later this fall.