Routes

BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration’s magnificent Bike Tour is always on the third Sunday of September (Sept. 18 in 2022) and offers something for everyone.  It’s not a race, and, E-bikes & recumbents are welcome! Ride registration is open at BikeReg* through Sept. 14 and will be offered on Sunday AM as well.

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.

BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration is held annually on the third weekend in September.  In 2022 that’s September 16-18.  Our wonderfully scenic “quilt barn, bridge & buggy” bike tour of the countryside will take place on Sunday starting and ending the grounds of the Vicksburg Historic Village.  Day-of registration for Sunday’s Bike Tour will be OPEN on-site Sunday.

Route opening & closing times, group start times and other important details are HERE. This page only covers route descriptions

Sunday’s Bike Tour Routes include a Century, Metric Century and other classic distances, plus fun destinations. All will be well marked and will include SAG stops. Distances are approximate until double checked. Unexpected roadwork, detours, etc. may occur and are of course beyond our control; exceptions may occur but all are planned to be on paved roads.

Sunday’s Fall Bike Celebration Bike Tour (7:30am-5pm)
Routes start & finish at the charming Vicksburg Historic Village
Day-of Registration Opens: 7:30am Closes: 1pm Ride/Food/Area Clean Up & Close: 5pm
Routes & Start Times Below; Starts are scheduled in waves.
Your Fall Bike Celebration Ride registration includes the Saturday evening Ice Cream Social and Sunday’s Fall Bike Celebration Bike Tour, with water, snacks and treats along the way and a delicious meal at the finish. Camaraderie and smiles all around are a sure thing.

2022 Maps from Ride With GPS (Route opening & closing times, group start times and other important details are HERE. This page only covers route descriptions. )

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 that our volunteers will not be able to answer technical questions about RWGPS. It 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 online in advance is easy — register here online through BikeReg.

Note to mileage hounds. Mileages are approximate and may change due to last minute road closures, etc. Within our Last Start and 5pm Closing Time parameters, feel free to ride more than one route to fit your mileage goals to build the perfect day. For example, Climax + Vicksburg Quilt Trail South Loop = 53 miles. “Can I really do that?” Hmm…try it and see! Plan ahead if you are attempting any routes or combo-routes that will get you back to the finish after 4pm; we are closing at 5pm. A simple calculation shows that if you are attempting a longer route, you have eight hours if you start at 8am and get back to munch on the goodies at the end around 4pm. If you build in an hour’s worth of stops for any and all reasons, you’ll need to ride 7+mph on the average to do a “half-century” of 50 miles, and twice that fast to do our Century if you want to get back in time. We know lots of cyclists can handle the pace and distance (and more!) and understand the math is ridiculously easy, but thought it wouldn’t hurt to spell it out. See the “Training TIps” at the end of this page if you have never done a Century.

Road Routes

– Shipshewana – Climax – Scotts Mill Park – Vicksburg Quilt Trail North & South –

Shipshewana Century, Hybrid & Covered Bridge Metric Century (103, 83 & 62 miles)
Land O Goshen! What should we even call a Fall Bike Celebration route that: a) crosses State lines; b) take riders into another world; and, c) suggests the possibilities of time transport? All three routes cross the longest covered wooden bridge in Michigan. The Metric Century stays in Michigan the entire route. This is the cool part: our 103 & 83 both go through Shipshewana. The 103 returns by way of Scotts Mill Park while the 83 finishes on the same route as the 62 miler. You have until mile 73 until the routes split. If you need to bail on the 103 you can. Hmm, could this be a fair range test for an e-bike?

Climax (37 miles)
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. By the time you get to the Fall Celebration Ride, look up how the village got its name. 🙂

Scotts Mill Park (23 miles)
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. In 2020 the flour mill will be open for a self-guided tour for a number of hours around mid-day. 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 refilling your water bottle 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 and South (Two Loops; 16-17 miles each)
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 these routes, the founders of the Trail have designed two separate loops 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 and South loops are short enough so that your rest, munch and sip stop is back at the Middle School. Full color and special maps will 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. These special routes touch a large sample of what the Vicksburg Quilt Trail has to offer with a chance to capture the moment.

By the way, on any of the routes please step off the road when you dismount, and always be mindful of traffic. Be sure to signal your intentions. Stay visible, with bright clothing and day time running lights. 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.

Family Routes

Lake Cruise Route (11 miles)
Who doesn’t like lake views on a bike ride? This route is suited for a leisurely tour with views of Sunset Lake. Heading north, you’ll cruise along the southerly shores of Austin Lake before heading back to Vicksburg. The route has virtually no climbing and makes use of the Vicksburg Recreational Trail for part of the way. 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.

– Vicksburg Trail –

Family Trail Route (4-5 miles)
Vicksburg Historic Village
The Vicksburg Trail will be open all day to Individual and Family registered riders. We suggest riders who are riding this popular trail make their way back to the Historic Village in time to grab a bite to eat. Please be careful as you cross the sometimes busy road between the Vicksburg Historic Village and the Vicksburg Trail.

Training Tips: Can a bicyclist actually ride imperial, metric or hybrid-century (83 miles…ha ha ha) in eight hours? Well, the answer is yes, for some of us. It could be you! If you try it you’ll find out for yourself. Here’s a word to the wise: train for it. Those who can do a century ride tend to think of themselves as cyclists and kit up in padded shorts.

The Shipshewana routes will best be enjoyed when you have trained to ride the distances and paces involved. If you are starting from scratch after not being on a bike for a while, it helps to learn how to ride the roads beginning in May (say, on the Kal-Haven Trailblazer & in KBC’s Bike Camp), build up to riding an intermediate distance (say, 30+ miles at KBC’s KalTour at the end of June), then keep training until you can ride 50 or 60 miles before trying the longest routes (say, on the Vineyard Classic). We like to say, Kalamazoo has a ride for you! Or, buy an e-bike and bring an extra battery!