Mackinac Island: Bicycle capital of the world

The Netherlands is the so-called bicycle capital of the world, with upwards of 20 million bicycles for a inhabitants of 17 million. That’s multiple bike for each individual.

By comparability, in the US there’s just one bike for each three folks.

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However there are some locations within the USA, like Mackinac Island, the place bikes are extra distinguished. Far more distinguished than even in The Netherlands. On Mackinac, there are greater than 170 bikes for each year-round resident!

That’s proper. The island has a inhabitants of lower than 500 and but licenses 85,000 bicycles every year.

The overwhelming majority of these bike licenses are for guests who flock to the island in droves from April by means of October. They bring about their very own bicycles as a result of motor autos are banned on Mackinac.

And even when automobiles have been allowed, many individuals would deliver bikes anyway as a result of Mackinac has greater than 70 miles of pure and paved trails across the perimeter and thru the inside of the island. That’s the equal of greater than 1,200 soccer fields positioned finish to finish.

Mackinac has so many bikes as a result of it’s simply an superior place to go for a journey. Greater than 80 p.c of the island is state park land that’s free so that you can roam, with terrain starting from flat to steep, 300-foot bluff climbs. The island is sufficiently small which you can pedal round it at a leisurely tempo in an hour and a half. But, it’s sufficiently big which you can take a number of rides throughout your keep and discover one thing completely different each time.

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On a single half-day journey, you possibly can journey by iconic Mackinac websites together with the Grand Lodge, Governor’s Residence, Cranium Cave, Arch Rock, Sugar Loaf, the island’s previous cemeteries, Fort Mackinac and extra. Alongside the best way you’ll come throughout many unimaginable vantage factors for beautiful photographs of the island and the water round it.

Since you possibly can’t drive to Mackinac, virtually all people will get right here by ferry. You possibly can deliver your individual bike on both of the 2 ferry firms that serve the island for an $11 round-trip price, along with the $26 per-adult ferry price. (You will get a $2 low cost on ferry tickets by shopping for them on-line at both Star Line or Shepler’s.)

Even in case you don’t deliver your individual bike, you possibly can nonetheless pedal round Mackinac by renting any of practically 1,500 commercially-licensed bicycles out there on the island. You will get a single-speed bike, a 10-speed bike or one thing in between, a mountain bike or a seaside cruiser, a fat-tire bike or a tandem. There are bikes out there for youths, too, in addition to Burley carts, tagalongs and baby carriers for little tykes.

There are a number of bike rental retailers on Mackinac, and each has its personal charges and guidelines. However you possibly can usually hire a motorbike for $6 to $12 an hour, with reductions for half-day or full-day leases.

Whether or not you’re bringing your individual bike or renting one on the island, right here are some things to remember:

Keep to the appropriate – Simply as in case you have been driving a automobile – which, after all, you possibly can’t on Mackinac – it’s best to pedal your bike on the appropriate facet of the street.

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Look ahead to horses – Don’t fear about automobiles. However be ready for busy downtown streets filled with bikers, pedestrians and horses. Horses don’t cease shortly, so be cautious!

Park in the appropriate place – Should you park your bike on the road, preserve it inside the white line. In any other case, search for designated off-street parking areas. Burleys, tandems or bikes with out kick stands should use off-street parking, and bikes ought to by no means be parked on a sidewalk or locked to a hard and fast object.

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