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 2021 that weekend falls on September 17-19, 2021. SUPER Early-Bird Registration for the RIDE is now OPEN on our BIKEREG site. The RIDE will take place on Sunday Sept. 19, 2021 starting and ending the grounds of the Vicksburg Historic Village.
We are offering lots of options during registration in case we have to completely cancel – but with an event as compact as ours and with so many route options and starting times – we are optimistic.
The rest of this page outlines 2020’s routes. As of this moment we don’t think they will change MUCH.
The Routes include a Century, Metric Century and other classic distances, plus fun destinations. All will be well marked and will include SAG stops that Sunday. Distances are close, but approximate until double checked for unexpected roadwork, detours, etc. and finalized just before the ride.
Fall Bike Celebration Ride (7:30am-5pm)
In 2020 all routes will start & finish at the charming Vicksburg Historic Village
Registration Opens: 7:30am Closes: Noon 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 Ride, with water, snacks and treats along the way and a delicious meal at the finish. Camaraderie and smiles all around are a sure thing.
The 2020 routes have now been double checked and are posted here. To view the Fall Bike Celebration 2020 routes in Ride With GPS, click on the name of the routes: Road Routes: Shipshewana Century (103mi) – Shipshewana Hybrid (83mi) – Covered Bridge Metric Century (62mi) – Climax (37mi) – Scotts Mill Park (25mi) – Vicksburg Quilt Trail North & Vicksburg Quilt Trail South (17-18mi each) Family Trail Route: Vicksburg Trail (no map needed – starts right across the road from the Vickburg Historic Village). 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 is easy! Register online through BikeReg through September 17 or pay in person on Ride day.
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.
Road Routes (2020)
– Shipshewana – Climax – Scotts Mill Park – Vicksburg Quilt Trail North & South –
Shipshewana Century, Hybrid & Covered Bridge Metric Century (100, 83 & 62 miles; Latest Starts: Century-8:15am; Hybrid-9am; Metric Century: 10am)
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?* 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: preparation. Most bicyclists can’t ride that far in a day without training for it. Those who can tend to think of themselves as cyclists and kit up in padded shorts. All of these three routes cross the longest covered wooden bridge in Michigan. The Metric Century stays in Michigan on the entire route.
Training Note: The Shipshewana routes will best be enjoyed when you have trained to ride the distances 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, with KBC’s Bike Camp), build up to riding an intermediate distance (say, 30-50 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. Or, buy an e-bike and bring an extra battery (chuckle)!
Climax (2020) (37 miles; Latest Start: 10:30am)
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. Heck, you stop and catch your breath in both direction before heading back for a lunch if there is anything left for you at the Middle School. Just kidding. We’d like to know if you intend to reach Climax because we’ll have a special surprise waiting (only for those so registering) when you swing through this truly charming village of around 780 souls. By the time you get to the Fall Celebration Ride, we will expect you to know how the village got its real name. We are not kidding.
Scotts Mill Park (2020) (25 miles; Latest Start: 11:30am)
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 (2019 Loops; 17-18 miles each; Latest Start: noon; NOTE: South loop had approximately 1 mile of gravel in 2019 – but will be re-mapped to avoid gravel in 2020)
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.
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 in 2020. Will we keep mixing metaphors? Will we rely on the input you, dear reader, 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 challenging year of 2020. We’ll just have to see.
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 Trail Route (2020)
– Vicksburg Trail –
Family Trail Route (4-5 miles; Suggested departures: 11a-3pm)
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 road between the Vicksburg Historic Village and the Vicksburg Trail.