A Cycling Haven

“A place just for people?” my granddaughter asks? “Yes, Mya, no cars. Only people, bicycles and horses,” I reply by phone. She thinks that is pretty cool. So do we. We are no longer among the minority, here on Mackinac Island.

Stepping off the ferry it is immediately obvious. There are bicycles everywhere. Parking spaces along the street are filled with them. Parking lots are for bikes, not cars. We may not have to watch out for cars, but there is plenty of cycling traffic to keep us vigilant.

Mackinac Island Main Street
Mackinac Island Main Street 2

The island claims the only state highway that bans motor vehicles. Cycling M-185 around the island is delightful. It rings the island, providing flat, family friendly cycling immediately adjacent to the water. There we see cyclists of all sizes and abilities. We share the road with three wheelers, tandems, kid trailers and single speed bikes. Not another loaded touring cycle in sight. This is leisure cycling at its best. When Rich tries to press on, I repeat back to him a phrase he used on me just yesterday. “I am in absolutely no hurry.”

Rich cycling Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island cycling

A visit to the Grand Hotel is definitely in order. Its elegance is evident in its famous long front porch and perfectly manicured grounds. Where I once remember a clover-leaf shaped swimming pool (most impressive to a kid) now is covered in landscaped gardens. Beautiful, but honestly I miss the swimming pool. We are only allowed up to the hotel's perimeter without being hotel guests or forking over $10 apiece. So we stand back and gaze. We are also not up to the After-6 dress code: Men are required to wear coat and tie, women may not wear slacks. No mention of cycling shorts.

Grand Hotel

I would be remiss if I did not include the horse drawn carriages that abound in the town. They are majestic, and well adjusted to cyclists, fortunately. We are surprised to see that one stable offers self-drive carriages. The idea is rather frightening, actually. Mya is thrilled to hear that one might also ride horses there. That appeals to her already well-developed love for horses.

Horse carriages

Ultimately, the ferry whisks us away and swoops under the 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge for a close up view of its suspension span. It's an impressive reminder that we are returning to normal automobile inhabited territory. So long, cycling haven. It was nice while lasted.


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