Saw this post, looks like it's a month old by now and might be a moot point by now, but I've ridden the TC to Beulah and back stuff a bunch and thought I would add my 2 cents worth. First, a couple quick comments about your route:
- The Cinder/Reynolds Rd sections are not bad - not very scenic, not very good shoulders, but traffic is usually pretty light for the most part.
- I strongly suggest staying off North Long Lake Rd and Cedar Run Rd in and around Lake Ann and Long Lake. Shoulders are pretty bad on both, both roads on the Lake Ann side are in pretty nasty condition and traffic is very hairy.
I don't know if it's the shortest, but here's what I have ridden a bunch and can recommend:
- From Beulah, you are going to want to get on M22 via the North side of Crystal Lake. Get on Crystal Drive and take that to M-22.
- Take a right on M22 and start heading North towards Empire. This section of M22 is great - a bit of traffic, but it's scenic and has a terrific shoulder.
- A few miles North of the Platte Lakes, take a right on Fowler Rd. (you'll be heading East). No shoulder, a bit rolling, but scenic and very light traffic.
- About a mile west of Maple City Hwy, Fowler turns into Rayle Rd, then Rayle into Almira Rd. Cross Maple City Hwy on Almira. Continue East on Almira, then cross Ole White Dr, Almira turns into Barber Rd. Take Barber to Reynolds Rd.
- Take a left on Reynolds Rd. Reynolds has a bit of traffic, is rolling and has been repaved with a great shoulder in the last year.
- Go north on Reynolds Rd, it turns into S Maple City Rd close to M72. Cross M-72, continue North on S Maple City Rd.
- Take a right on E Kasson Rd and ride that until you hit S Cedar Rd (HUGE downhill with great scenery right before you hit S Cedar!!).
- Left on S. Cedar, go 100 yards and then right on Alpine Rd.
- Here's the option - if you want to do the famous Philosophy hill (and the most direct route to TC), stay on Alpine, it turns into E White and then White turns into E Hoxie. E Hoxie is the Philosophy climb. Stay on Hoxie, cross Bugai Rd at the top, continue down the other side on Hoxie, bear right when it turns into Grandview and then at the bottom, Grandview will cross the Tart Trail North of Traverse City. Take a right on the Tarte and roll into TC!
- OR if you want to skip the hill and take the round-about way, back on Alpine, take a Left on E. Gallivan Rd. Gallivan turns into S Weisler Rd, then Weisler turns into E Fouch, and about a 1/4 mile after E Fouch crosses Lake Leelanau Drive, take a right on the Tart Trail and head South to TC.
Can't remember the exact mileage, but I'd have to say that is probably about a 50-60 mile ride and the route listed above is probably the safest and most scenic. A bit hilly in spots, but pretty good overall. Hope that helps!