Bikeathon Routes

BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration is held annually on the third weekend in September.  In 2022 that’s September 16-18.  WE WILL “DATE-STAMP” THE UPDATED PAGES AS WE GET TO THEM.  THE REST OF THIS PAGE PERTAINS TO WHAT WE DID in 2021.  

On any given day our Fall Bike Celebration routes are hauntingly beautiful, offer stunning photo ops and are best experienced at a bicyclist’s pace. Sharp-eyed riders should be able to find at least one of the Vicksburg Quilt Trail paintings on virtually every route. No other community in Southwest Michigan has such an (on-road) feast for the eyes.

Saturday’s Bikeathon routes are scaled to fit the 9am-noon time frame and will be great for social and recreational riders and those who may want to participate on foot or with assistive devices. All will be well marked. Distances are approximate until double checked. Unexpected roadwork, detours, etc. may occur and are of course beyond our control, but we intend to use paved roads on all routes. Actual routes will be firmed up after we mark them.

Saturday’s Multi-Charity Bikeathon (9am-noon)
Routes start & finish at the wonderful timber-framed Vicksburg Community Pavilion
Registration Opens: 9:00am Latest Day-Of Registration Closes: 11am. Event Clean Up & Close: noon
Note the Routes & Start Times Below; Starts are scheduled in waves depending on the distance.

Road Route Maps
Climax (37mi – PINK) – Scotts Mill Park (25mi – GREEN) – Vicksburg Quilt Trail North (18mi – ORANGE) The Lake Cruise route (11mi – GOLDEN YELLOW) is new in 2021 and reserved just for the Bikeathon. Trail Route: Vicksburg Trail (out and back as far as you want to go – no map needed – the trail starts right across the road from the Vicksburg Community Pavilion. Caution: Richardson St. is a two-way street. Please walk your bikes and look both ways before crossing).

Technical note. Some features with Ride With GPS may require a desk-top computer in one of the steps (such as downloading a .gpx file) or for-fee accounts (such as when trying to use it on a smart phone). You may be able to get around this by accepting a free trial. We apologize but our volunteers will not be able to answer technical questions about this. This is much like any other navigational system, and RWGPS works better than most.

Printed route maps and cue sheets will be provided. Important updates may occur as conditions warrant; please check the Registration page (and emails to registered riders) before the Ride.

Signing up or donating is easy! Register in advance online through PledgeReg or pay in person on Ride day. 

Road Routes

Bikeathon images soon

Climax (37 miles; Latest Start: 9:30am)
Yep, it is true that the delightful Village of Climax is listed as #1 in WKFR’s (103.3 FM) list of “5 Bizarre Michigan Town Names Explained.” Those who make it to scenic Scotts Mill Park where our rest stop is planned, may want to continue on to make it all the way to Climax. Or, you can stop by Scotts Mill Park on the way back to Vicksburg after you swing through this truly charming village of around 780 souls. By the time you ride it, we will hope you will look up how the village got its name.

Scotts Mill Park (23 miles; Latest Start: 10am)
The stop at Scotts Mill Park turns your ride from Vicksburg (former home of the Simpson Paper Mill) into a journey from a revitalized former paper mill town back in time to an 1870’s flour mill, complete with a water wheel and mill pond. We believe the flour mill will be open for a self-guided tour. The setting is picture perfect — many a couple has been happily wed in this gem of a Kalamazoo County Park. Hmm. Play your cards right and maybe you and your true love can pledge your troths while enjoying snacks and getting some water in the picnic shelter. If you feel the earth move on this route we guess it might be true love…but it could be due to an earthquake. The epicenter of a 4.2 magnitude quake in 2015 was only a mile from nearby Scotts, an unincorporated community of about 3,600 people. This route will take you through it. Be sure to wave to everybody to let them know bicyclists are a friendly bunch!

Vicksburg Quilt Trail North (17-18 miles; Latest Start: 10am)
The Vicksburg Quilt Trail is a collection of 24 large colorful quilt patterns, most of which have been painted on the sides of barns located throughout the Vicksburg area. For this route, the founders of the Trail have designed this loop for you to admire the artist-owners’ creative works along the way… . Riding it, we think you will come to agree that the Vicksburg Quilt Trail must be seen in person to be fully appreciated, because the idyllic settings for the evocative quilt paintings — many set against a magnificent rural backdrop — frame an image in your brain that can pretty much only be taken in by stopping to admire the views. The North Loop is short enough so that your rest, munch and sip stop is back at start. Full color and special maps will be available to guide you to each of the featured quilts, most of which are painted on barns. The quilts on the Vicksburg Quilt Trail and their locations were selected for their unique character. The owners have graciously all agreed to allow you to stop in their driveways. You never know whether the owners will offer you cookies when you stop to take a photo, but all will be welcoming and expecting that you will stop a moment to admire the view. This special route touches a sample of what the Vicksburg Quilt Trail has to offer with a chance to capture the moment.

Pssst … There was some scuttlebutt floating around about a scavenger hunt or other fun seek and find type of activity related to the Vicksburg Quilt Trail. Did these whispered notions take root? Nope, not so far and maybe not in 2021 either. Will we keep mixing metaphors? Will we rely on the input you, dear readers, give us about pulling off a “benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, waymarking and Munzee” type of activity? Will our Chair throw chairs if it doesn’t happen? Who knows? May be a bit too much to pull off in this year as we scramble to return to normal. We’ll just have to see.

By the way, on any of the routes please step off the road or path when you dismount. Always be mindful of traffic. Be sure to signal your intentions. Stay visible, with bright clothing and day time running lights. Helmets are required. We also recommend rear view mirrors and eye protection.

Biking is fun for the whole family. It’s a great physical activity, offers a chance for adults to teach children a skill they can enjoy their whole life and provides stay-cation and vacation travel adventure as well.

Lake Cruise Route (12 miles; Latest start: 10:30am)
The Lake Cruise Route is new for 2021 and perfectly suited for a leisurely tour around Sunset Lake. You’ll also cruise along the southern shores of Austin Lake before heading back to Vicksburg. Who doesn’t like nice lake views on a bike ride? This route has almost no climbing, makes use of the Vicksburg Recreational Trail on the way back and offers a multi-use path for part of the way out as an alternate path along 22nd St. If don’t have much time on Saturday morning or haven’t been on a bike in a while but still want to get a fair amount of exercise, the Lake Cruise route is made for you. If you are a family with smaller children, we suggest you get them ready for this ride by making sure they can handle the distance beforehand.

Trail Route Vicksburg Recreational Trail (up to 5 miles; Latest start: 11am)
This is an out and back ride with a length of your own choosing. Riders going the whole distance will get a chance to ride the whole length to where the Vicksburg portion of the trail currently ends at the border of Portage city limits. Riders who are riding this popular trail should be back at the start no later than 11:45am. Please be courteous to pedestrians. Please cross Richardson to the Trail on foot and use great caution at the other road crossings.