Page 99 - Visitors Guide 18
P. 99

Retro biking
with directions from the ‘70s
Recalling when county roads had ‘low traf c’
Are you up for a bike ride, 1970s style?
Richard Wetters, through a pamphlet published more than 50 years ago, laid out several bike paths for Leelanau County. His favorite was the “Half Century: Around the Lakes” loop that Dick and his son enjoyed for many years.
It follows a path around Lake Leelanau.
We’re providing a copy of the tour as he wrote for his booklet, “A Bicycle Touring
Guide to Leelanau County Michigan.” Please note that his comments about traf c and hazards may be out of date.
Around the Lakes
Distance – 47 miles if you start on the lakes, 54.6 miles if you start at Norris School on Cherry Bend Road just west of M-22
Terrain – Includes four dif cult hills and a few smaller hills. For this country, a very
reasonable ride.
Traf c – Low except for M-22 south of
Hazards – An occasional dog.
We ran this as a L.A.W. half century in October of 1974. Ten to 12 riders started from Norris School into a 25 mile an hour
(Continued on Page 100)
By Jen Murphy
Special to the LVG
Leelanau County has been a haven for bikers for years. In fact, it was just over 40 years ago that a county couple dedicated a substantial amount of time compiling notes on their favorite routes.
Richard Wetters and his wife, Carol, produced two biking booklets before the two-wheel craze of today had gotten a footing.
The second pamphlet focused on Leelanau: “A Bicycle Touring Guide to Leelanau County, Michigan.” We found a copy in old  les at the Enterprise, and caught up with Carol who is still alive. Unfortunately, Richard has passed.
“He rode a lot and I remember driving some. Back then, dogs were also a danger for cyclists, and people now would probably laugh that he mentioned various dogs who were threatening,” Carol said.
One of their favorite rides, which can still be undertaken, was a 47-mile ride Dick called “Half Century: Around the Lakes.”
According to Carol, their son Brent still enjoys the ride when visiting Leelanau county.
Producing the booklet was a labor of love. It was written as a resource for cyclists with no intent for pro t, and it wasn’t easy.
Carol said she typed the pages on a portable Olympia typewriter. Her husband drew most of the maps by hand.
“If I made a typo, I basically had to retype the entire page. We laid the pages on a ping pong table in the basement and collated them,” she said.
“I’ve often thought how much easier some of that would be today.”
Dick died in 2008 following a battle with Parkinson’s disease, but his legacy in the biking world lives on. Carol said she still hands out copies of the booklet to friends.
Some things have changed, including Richard’s notes about dogs on certain trails. And some orchards have been plowed under.
But biking remains strong as ever Leelanau County.

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