The breeze in my face, the throbbing pulse in my legs, and the experience of nature set the scene for when I feel most free and alive. For people like me, biking isn’t solely an activity but rather an adventure that constantly summons: it’s more a lifestyle than hobby. I need my bike to escape, to have fun, to explore, to feel joy. A simple ride evokes an array of emotions.
As a biking enthusiast, I’m always hungry for new landscapes to explore and routes to enjoy. City, country, mountain – the environment doesn’t matter as long as my bike is with me. However, every cyclist needs their trustworthy and reliable bike environments, paths, and routes; and for me, Mackinac Island serves as just that.
As an island without motor vehicles, it paves the way for bikes to reign. Between the lack of cars and miles and miles of paved and natural trails, Mackinac Island truly is a biker’s paradise. And you don’t even need to bring your own bike! There are numerous places to rent a bike (of all different kinds) from on the Island. It’s a place with seemingly endless possibilities of bike routes. There are all different types of rides in which bikers ranging from novice to devout can participate. Here are three of my favorites.
Around the Island
This is the classic ride that I implore all Island visitors to experience, no matter how much you enjoy biking. Peddling the eight-plus miles of the paved M-185 around Mackinac Island is a highlight of any visit. You ride next to the water and witness unique geological formations like Arch Rock and Devil’s Kitchen. Upon accomplishing the ride, not only can you say you biked around the Island, but also the only state highway in the country to ban cars! Whether it’s a leisurely ride or something brisker, this is the ride you absolutely must do on Mackinac.
There’s a lot to see on Mackinac Island, and personally I feel the best way to see it all is by bicycle. From attractions like views on the bluffs to structures like Fort Mackinac to natural attractions like Skull Cave, most of the popular sites to see are easily accessible from the trails. What’s fun about this route is it takes you into the Island’s interior without steering you too far from downtown. While this route can easily be accomplished in short time, it’s best to stretch it out and really take in the attractions. Don’t hesitate to hop off that bike to take photos and explore by foot. Consult the trail map below courtesy of Mackinac Island Bike Shop to see the route.
Typically, someone telling you to “get lost” is negative, but for me I’ll happily do just that when I’m on Mackinac Island with my bike. I can spend all day navigating the numerous interior, unpaved trails on the Island. There’s enough to explore without becoming actually lost. You’ll find plenty of trail markings to find your way back to M-185 or downtown. By exploring these trails you’ll likely stumble across sights that go mostly unseen to the average visitor. Just immersing myself into Mackinac’s natural beauty is one of my favorite ways to experience the Island.