Bikes, Beer & BBQ

An easy paced pedal on Michigan's premier rail trails.
 

Beginning in South Haven at the shore of Lake Michigan and finishing on the sands of Lake Huron. Our Bikes, Beer & BBQ (BBQ) tour is an easy paced pedal highlighting Michigan's craft beer culture, a town called Hell, all manner of BBQ, and Michigan's premier rail trail system.

 

Bikes, Beer & BBQ is about exploring world class craft beer, smokehouse wonders and tasting the harvest of growers from across the state. BBQ takes place in mid August when the the pace slows, the days are long, and average temps are perfect for enjoying an ice cold beverage. The tour is designed so you can cycle for a few hours to build your appetite and have plenty of time to explore.  BBQ rolls along moderate railroad grades and is suitable for any type of bike and skill level.

No matter how you like BBQ, seared over an open flame, buried in a pit, slow cooked in a smoker, simple like hotdogs and hamburgers or 14 hours worth of attention and care, it's all BBQ and loved around the world! Second only to California in agricultural diversity, Michigan's vineyards, farms and orchards are filled with hops, apples, peaches, cherries, berries, and has fostered over 400 brewers producing almost 1 million barrels a year of craft beer!

 

Michigan has more miles of rail trails than any other state. Port Haven's BBQ tour gives participants a chance to visit, experience,  and enjoy over a dozen trails including the three premier systems that make up the Port Haven Trail - the Great Lake to Lake Trail, The North Country Trail, and the Iron Belle Trail. Book end this trail system with Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, add tasty BBQ and top it off with ice cold craft beer for an unbeatable tour combo.

Port Haven Tours focuses on a simple philosophy - how can we say yes, so you can enjoy your time on the tour. To provide our best to you, we limit tour sizes, have a higher than average staff to rider ratio, and use better lodging and food service providers. Our amenities help keep it simple so you can enjoy your tour. We don't charge extra to shuttle you, visit an attraction on the itinerary, replace a tube, adjust your bike, or give you a few minutes of massage. Long term parking is included.

ITINERARY

Check In - Welcome to Kalamazoo, birthplace of Gibson Guitars, Checker Automobiles & Bell's Brewery. For a true rail trail experience, try arriving by train at the Kalamazoo train station. Our team will be waiting to collect your bike and gear so you can explore the city. Come early and spend the day visiting the Air Zoo which houses the famous Blackbird spy plane. Check-In is just a short walk from the train station from 3-5 pm in the lobby of the hotel, followed by an evening reception from 6-8 pm to meet your tour mates and enjoy your first flight of Michigan craft beer.

Day 1 - South Haven to Kalamazoo.

After an early breakfast we'll be shuttled to South Beach, dip our rear tires into Lake Michigan and head east on the scenic Kal-Haven Trail. The day ends back in Kalamazoo for a flight of local craft ale and BBQ.

  • Breakfast 7 am

  • Riders and bikes shuttled to South Beach

  • Tire Dip

  • Bike 42 miles

  • Mid-route rest stop with ebike charging and real food

  • Flight and Dinner at 6 pm

  • Rider meeting

 

Day 2 - Kalamazoo to Battle Creek.

After breakfast, pedal out on the smooth Kalamazoo Valley River Trail, where after passing Bell's Brewery production facility, we'll visit the Gilmore Car Museum. From there it's on to Fort Custer National Cemetery and the Avenue of Flags on the Battle Creek Linear Park. Battle Creek was a hub for the Underground Railroad and today's route will pass a memorial remembering the bravery of the people fleeing slavery and those who worked to help them find freedom. Here you have the option to shuttle to the hotel or pedal the final 11 miles through OTT Biological Preserve. This evening you can retire to your room or head out to try your luck at the casino located a short walk away.

  • Breakfast 7 am

  • Bike 44 miles

  • Visit Gilmore Car Museum

  • Rest stop with ebike charging and real food

  • Flight and Dinner at 6 pm

  • Rider meeting

 

Day 3 - Battle Creek to Jackson. After two days of riding, we'll be ready to sample Michigans food diversity while riding along quiet country roads past orchards, farmlands and small towns. We'll start hungry and enjoy a country breakfast at a local farm just a few miles from our start. After eating our fill, we'll pedal through historic Marshall and enjoying some of the over 800 historically significant homes and buildings which make Marshall a national historic district. Wave a fond farewell to Dark Horse Brewery, as we continue through the small college town of Albion to enjoy fresh pressed apple cider, donuts, wildflower honey and other farm fresh treats before we finish the day riding the Falling Waters Trail and Martin Luther King Equality Trail into downtown Jackson for a tasty feast of food and rehydration.

  • Breakfast on the farm at  8:30 am

  • Bike 45 miles

  • Visit Marshall

  • Orchard stop with cider, donuts, ebike charging and real food

  • Flight and dinner at Grand River Brewery

  • Shuttle to Jackson hotel

  • Rider meeting

Day 4 - Jackson to Hell and Whitmore Lake.

Enjoy miles of quiet forested trails along the Mike Levine Lakeland Trail before finding yourself on the road to Hell. Don't worry, we'll help you find your way back. Down in Hell enjoy some ice water, personal creamatory service (an ice cream shop), and of course the Hell Saloon. Just don't make any deals while you're there! Don't forget to mail out the Bikes, Beer & BBQ in Hell postcard before pedaling out. At trails end, you'll rack your smoking bike and enjoy a night of smokehouse specialties and ice cold Michigan barley pop!

  • Breakfast 7 am

  • Shuttle from Jackson to the PHT

  • Bike 41 miles

  • Drink ice water in Hell

  • Rest stop with ebike charging and real food

  • Fllight and Dinner at 6 pm

  • Rider meeting

Day 5 - Island Lake to Rochester. After breakfast it's off to Island Lake Recreation Area to un-rack our now cool bikes and continue our journey to Lake Huron. Our penultimate riding day provides a full mix for the senses. In Island Lake Recreation Area you'll enjoy the smell of the forest, look over peaceful lakes as you pass West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve, and of course enjoy the quiet hum of tires as you roll your way along the Huron Valley, Air Line, West Bloomfield and Clinton River Trails. Tonight we'll enjoy a farewell meal and a last flight of their finest craft tipple.

  • Breakfast 7 am

  • Shuttle to PHT from Brighton

  • Bike 41 miles

  • Rest stop with ebike charging and real food

  • Last flight and Dinner at 6 pm

  • Rider meeting

Day 6 - Rochester to Port Huron. The tour concludes with a perfect summary of the Port Haven Trail - a mix of rail trails and quiet country roads that carry us to the sandy beaches of Lake Huron. We'll start along the Macomb Orchard Trail, and finish along the lake hugging Bridge to Bay Trail. On the shores of Lake Huron we'll finish our tour and enjoy a beachside BBQ.

  • Breakfast 7 am

  • Bike 54 miles

  • Rest stop with ebike charging and real food

  • Tour ends at Lake Huron with an old fashioned outdoor BBQ for lunch

  • Riders & Bikes shuttled to Port Huron hotels

Questions?

Please call us at 616-581-3464 or email us at hello@porthaventrails.com

Registration Fees 

 

Tour size is limited and registration includes lodging, reception, meals, nightly beer flight for participants over 21, mid-route SAG stop, SAG wagon, on tour bike and bike box transport, secured overnight bike storage, tour mechanic (parts not included), train transportation from Port Huron to Kalamazoo, route shuttles, long term parking, GPS loaner, paper turn by turn directions, museum tickets for the Gilmore Car Museum and Thomas Edison Train Museum.

  • Single, per Rider $2,650

  • Double, per Rider $2,290

  • Triple, per Rider $1,890

  • Quadruple, per Rider $1,790

Bicycles on Tour

 

Our philosophy is ride what you own. If you don't own a bike, we'll arrange a bicycle rental. We don't judge, all we ask is that the machine is in good mechanical condition. This includes trikes, recumbents, tandems, unicycles, and e-bikes. We provide e-bike charging mid-route each day and each evening, and secured overnight bike storage so you don't have to drag your bike into your room. A professional bike mechanic is in residence for the entire tour. Bikes may be shipped to the start or from the finish and Port Haven Tours will have them assembled or packed for shipment by a professional mechanic. Shipping and packing costs are the riders responsibility.

Route Surfaces on Tour

Bikes, Beer & BBQ (BBQ) takes place on trails paved with crushed and packed limestone or asphalt. Roads are primarily paved. On occasion for safety we may ride a few miles on gravel roads. But we hear that's all the rage!!

Support and Gear (SAG)

This is your vacation and we are here to serve! Bikes, Beer & BBQ (BBQ) is a fully supported tour with a roving SAG wagon and a mid-day SAG stop. Port Haven Tour provides a specially designed gear trailer to transport your machine. All bikes, trikes, recumbents, and tandems are transported fully assembled. Bike boxes, golf clubs, and all other luggage is also transported in our Gear Trailer. Luggage is delivered to your room each day and we ask you to bring your luggage to the lobby each morning.

The mid-route SAG stop is stocked with real food and drink. This includes meats, cheeses, pickles, breads, fruits, vegetables, juices, Gatorade, sparkling water, energy drinks, sodas, chocolate milk, and salty snacks. A generator will be provided for those who need to give their e-bikes a charge.

A SAG wagon will be on station to respond to any calls for help and keep the drama to a minimum. If you wake up and don't feel like riding, no problem! Our SAG wagon will transport you to the next hotel with your luggage and bike so you can recover and enjoy the rest of the tour. Riders who experience a mechanical or physical breakdown will be transported to either the mechanic or the overnight hotel as requested. Riders who experience a medical emergency will be transported by first responders to the nearest emergency room.

 

Instead of marring the landscape with paint or pins, each day's route is fully documented for use by GPS devices like smartphones or bike computers. These turn by turn directions are provided free by PHT on Ride With GPS. Participants who do not have a smartphone or GPS device may request a GPS device upon registration and we will provide a Garmin with the route pre-loaded for use on the tour. If you prefer, printed turn by turn directions are also provided.

Some riders like to bring a dedicated SAG driver, often called a private SAG. You can absolutely do this.  If the private SAG is sharing rest stops, meals and lodging with you, they should also register.

Meals

With the exception of Check-In day and the last day, breakfast and dinner are provided each riding day. On our last day, breakfast and lunch are provided. As noted in Support and Gear, the mid-route SAG stop provides an extensive offering of food and drink which is ample but not technically lunch. Meals are provided by a professional caterer or local restaurant. Participants must be over 21 to partake of any alcohol.

Lodging

Lodging is included from Check-In through our night in Rochester. We use hotels that performed well on our past tours when possible. When not available, hotels with high AAA ratings are used.  We place your bags in your room each day and you bring them to the lobby each morning. Single occupancy is the default for registration. When registering for double, triple and quadruple occupancy rates, requests must include the names of all room-mates. Otherwise we'll upgrade you a private single occupancy room and adjust your registration fee accordingly.

Transportation

  • Long-term parking is provided at the finish and the start.

  • Train transportation is provided from Port Huron to Kalamazoo on check-In day for those who wish to ride back to their vehicles. For those who would like to ride the train at the end of the tour, please note that the train does not leave until the morning after the tour's conclusion. Please review Amtrak schedules to determine which better suits your needs, train tickets are included with registration.

  • Shuttle service from the Amtrak station in Kalamazoo to the overnight hotel and check-in is provided. At the finish in Port Huron, shuttles will transport you, your bike and gear to the long term parking lot at the train station, or the local hotel. Those who choose to take the next day train will need to arrange their own transportation to the train station.

  • Kalamazoo's international airport is a short ride share from the starting hotel.

  • Flint's international airport is located about 1.5 hours from the finish. A shuttle is available for a small additional fee.

  • Like the pro's, you and your machine will be transported as needed each day to or from the start or finish so you can ride the best portions and keep most days in the 45 mile range.

  • We will facilitate transportation for participants to leave the tour at nearest of these Amtrak stations: Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Albion, Jackson, Ann Arbor, Pontiac, Flint and Port Huron. Currently bike transport is allowed on the Wolverine and Blue Water trains.

Private Vehicles -

  • Riders who want to bring a vehicle must provide a driver and are considered private SAG. You can absolutely do this as long as your private SAG registers as a participant if they are sharing rest stops, meals and lodging with you.