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Thread: Mackinac Island

  1. #1
    Pedaling Backwards Mr_H's Avatar
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    Mackinac Island

    My wife and I are headed up to Macinac Island in a couple of weeks for our anniversary. While we won't be hitting any of the real fun trails *sniffle* I'd still like to take my bike up. I've got a few questions for other folks who've gone up there before.

    -I was told at the local bike store that they treat the bikes badly on the ferry, throwing them in, scratching them up, etc. Is this true? It seems like a lot of money to have your bike thrown about.

    -With the above in mind, would it be better to rent a bike for a day? We're not going hardcore trail riding or anything, just biking about the island. I dont know the costs between ferrying over a bike vs renting for one or two days.

    -I keep hearing that bike theft is a issue up there...I know the basic safety bits (lock up, remove valuables, etc)....anyone have any issues with that?

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_H
    My wife and I are headed up to Macinac Island in a couple of weeks for our anniversary. While we won't be hitting any of the real fun trails *sniffle* I'd still like to take my bike up. I've got a few questions for other folks who've gone up there before.

    -I was told at the local bike store that they treat the bikes badly on the ferry, throwing them in, scratching them up, etc. Is this true? It seems like a lot of money to have your bike thrown about.

    -With the above in mind, would it be better to rent a bike for a day? We're not going hardcore trail riding or anything, just biking about the island. I dont know the costs between ferrying over a bike vs renting for one or two days.

    -I keep hearing that bike theft is a issue up there...I know the basic safety bits (lock up, remove valuables, etc)....anyone have any issues with that?

    Thanks
    My wife and I went to the island for a couple of nights last month. Regarding your questions:

    1) You can watch the ferry personal roll your bike onto the boat. I've never seen any abuse. Our bikes were handled fine both ways.

    2) The bikes you rent on the island look to be in poor shape; I'd much rather ride my bicycle than any rented bike I saw. It'll be cheaper as well; it only costs about $7 per bike to take your bicycle over and back to the island.

    3) Lock your bike and you'll be fine.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    The bikes available to rent there suck. Last time I was there 5 years or so ago my POS schwinn Mesa outclassed everything on the island that I saw. I agree about locking, lock it up and you'll be fine is right.

    One more thing, you will miss out big time if you don't hit the trails on the inside of the island. Having walked completely around the island when I was 6, I personaly wouldn't even bother with bikes for simply circling the island. Its a very boring and easy thing to ride around.
    Bring back the Sig Test!


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    Senior Member TassR700's Avatar
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    I agree with what's been said above. In addition, rental rates are high because they are mostly catering to the 1-2 hour rentals for a ride around the island. If you bring your own, you won't be rushed and can ride whenever you want. As long as you have a decent lock, there are so many other bikes for thieves to choose from, you will be fine. We never had any problem with the handling on the ferries either. Have fun!

  5. #5
    Pedaling Backwards Mr_H's Avatar
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    Thanks folks. You helped convince my wife to let us take our bikes up

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    Member Mugsy Malone's Avatar
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    My fiancee and I went up there back in July - we wheeled our own bikes onto the ferry both coming and going, and they were parked nicely. FWIW, we took one of the hydrofoil ferries (I don't remember which one it was, actually).

    I locked our bikes up overnight, but not during the day when we'd stop in to a fudge shop (for example). Nobody messed with our stuff. But then again, we don't have SUPER nice bikes. YMMV.

    Wish we'd tried the interior trails - we just rode around the island a few times. Which wasn't quite enough for me, but it was enough for her!

    Definitely check out the Butterfly House when you're there. Totally touristy, but it was still pretty neat.

    I've got some cool pictures of our trip up here - http://flickr.com/photos/mugsy/sets/72157594199755247/
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    My wife and I have taken our own bikes there several times. As mentioned earlier, the shoreline route that circles the island (about 6 miles) is a flat but pleasant ride. There are some slow riders and horsedrawn wagons to dodge, but hey, no cars! You will ride past some of the places where they filmed scenes from 'Somewhere In Time'.The interior of the island is like a mini-mountain. There is a long grade on the back side of the island that takes you to the top (past the airstrip). There are fantastic views of the Mackinac straights and many interesting geological and archeological sites. For the person with his own bike, you practically have the interior of the island to yourself. There are fantastic trails that wind up and down through the woods, and they are paved, so 700x23's will get you anywhere. One of the old hotels just north of the town has an outdoor cafe right on the bike trail --- park your bikes and clomp right in for lunch with a view. Have fun! ---Mick

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    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Micke,

    First of all, its actually 8 miles around the island. Also, last time I was there there were a bunch of unpaved trails. I don't recall paved trails. I don't doubt they are there, but at least 5 years ago there were lots of un-improved horse and mtb trails also.
    Bring back the Sig Test!


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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I agree that the interior trails are fantastic. My cousins lived on the island when I was a kid, and we explored the interior of the island as much as the coast and the town--just running around as kids will do. There's the natural bridge of course, and there were some cliffs, caves and stuff too. Mountain bikes would probably be fun, but unfortumately I've only ridden the rental bikes there. If you do rent, a tandem might be a pleasant change of pace, especially on your anniversary.


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    Pedaling Backwards Mr_H's Avatar
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    Anyone know where I can find maps of the trails on the island? I'd like to plan out a couple before we head up

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    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_H
    Anyone know where I can find maps of the trails on the island? I'd like to plan out a couple before we head up
    A google search will turn up a bunch of stuff, but truly I think its more fun to get lost and find your way out. When you're riding its a small island.
    Bring back the Sig Test!


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  12. #12
    jwa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_H
    Anyone know where I can find maps of the trails on the island? I'd like to plan out a couple before we head up
    I'm a hard-core map guy - for me, half the fun of a tour is planning the route. That being said, I agree with others here - don't do too much planning for the trails on Mac. Island, for a couple of reasons:

    - The island is small, & trails crisscross a lot - most trails are 1/4 - 1/2 mile in length. Get a map at the tourist info booth downtown, start riding, turn off somewhere & see where it goes!

    - Depending on your skill level, the map is deceptive - there are a number of trails which, while do-able by beginners, wouldn't be a lot of fun (the trail down to Skull Cave from Fort Holmes is quite steep & real rocky; the trails in the swampy area on the N side of the island). Another - "Tranquil Bluff Trail" in the area of Arch Rock - is simply scarry. I know *my* anniversary would be happier if we chose trails that looked good in real life rather than by the map.

    But, if you're gonna insist on doint it the *wrong* way...

    http://www.mackinacisland.org/mackin...locatormap.pdf

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    We spent a week on the island last summer with our kids. Brought all five bikes and had no trouble. Not on the ferries nor on the island. Just bring a lock to be safe. The ride around the island is mostly flat. You get some hills when you ride the roads in the interior.

    I agree with all of the comments above. Also, check out the Village Inn. Good food and good service. We stayed at Mission Point which was decent. One last thing... if you are into GeoCaching with GPS receivers then be sure to bring yours because there are several caches on the island.

    Have fun!

    Family, Cycling and Photography --- life is good!
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    Pedaling Backwards Mr_H's Avatar
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    Thanks all

    I'll make sure to take some picts and post'em somewhere for those folks who haven't gone to the isle.

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    We took our bikes to Mackinac Island about 5-6 years ago; it was my wife, and our two kids. The ferry personnel were quite respectful of the bikes both loading and unloading, but just to make sure, I waited right near the ramp and when I saw them approaching our group of bikes (and mine in particular, since it's a Litespeed Ti MTN bike) I went right over and told the attendent that I'd take it from here. I think he was glad that I offered.

    But I watched them load and unload all the other bikes, and I felt they did a very good job. There was no abuse whatsoever. I mean, really, just think about it; if they abused the customers equipment, they won't be on the job too long.

  16. #16
    "the old one"
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    My wife and I went to the island this past October.The boat people were very good about loading and unloading the bikes.Have a nice trip.
    woody

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    Don't you think bike theft is a possibility most any place?

    Anyway when I took my bike over there, I walked my bike to the spot I wanted and locked it up -you can lock it to your partner's in front or back of yours. etc.

    When you walk on the island, you walk your bike etc./or ride where it is safe for you or other people.
    I do not know the charge for renting bikes but a long time ago I did rent one. It was ok -

    If you want to have a lot of fun and you x country ski look up the festival that takes place in February ( I THINK )

    You can drive to St. Ignace. Stay at a nice bed and breakfast. Then drive to the airport and fly over to the Island. The Poker Run is soooooooooo much fun. Then they have a chili cook off in one of the local bar/resturants.

    There is just one church there but I went and it was nice. People came on snowmobiles and skis'.

    Have fun! Barb

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