Renting/Riding Bicycles on Mackinac Island
Unlike Disney, I did NOT research this trip very well, as it was sandwiched between Bristol and Colorado. We were coming to Michigan for the Paranormal Convention, and Mackinac Island was on the “to do” list. I knew we had to take a Ferry over, I knew there were no vehicles allowed on the Island, so most of the decisions would come down too, walking or biking. And since the perimeter of the entire Island circle is 8.2 miles, biking it was! We took Shepler’s Ferry over VERY early, first ride, so we could bike while it wasn’t busy yet. Which leads me to my first tip, GET THERE EARLY. We had the entire downtown area to ourselves, it was great!
Now, there are a few choices when it comes to bike rental shops on the Island. We chose the one that was located conveniently right off the ferry landing, Ryba’s Bicycle Rentals. What did this one have the others didn’t? I had to walk about 10 feet into town, and it was the first one there. I didn’t want to waste time shopping around for a bike to rent, wasting precious quiet minutes on the Island. We were the first ones there, so we walked up, they asked us what kind we were looking for, one with two wheels I thought (lol sorry I am no bike expert), and they handed us each a “7 plus speeds” bike, making sure we sat on it to adjust the seat and to check the air in the tires. They hold a deposit on your Credit Card and then charge you for the hour ($13 for our type of bike) or a full day, depending on how long you keep it. It was fast, simple, staff was super kind and helpful, although we were not offered a bike helmet, I don’t think they were required to do so.
We were off, biking down the empty Main Street, something I know Craig and I will never forget. The sun just rising, the warm weather, and the feeling that at any moment, Craig and I were going to faceplant into the cement! LOL I personally felt like a baby fawn trying to walk for the first time, I was laughing so hard; I am SURE others thought I was drunk. It was a fun balance of trying to take pictures while biking, and not dropping my phone at the same time. Thankfully the bikes had baskets, so I could toss my phone and bag in there while riding.
By the time we found our “bike legs” we were off and exploring, making sure to ride next to each other when we could. We were alone for most of our ride, the benefit of being there first and early. The roads aren’t tiny, but getting enough people on them and I could see how this experience could be stressful. You ride on the side of the road you would drive, even though there are no cars, you want to make sure to give plenty of room to the other cyclists coming from the other side. Which was the cool thing, you could go around the Island either way, not the whole way, or just a mile and turn around, really no rules but to mind your own bike and other’s space around you.
We committed to the 6.2 miles around the Island for the only reason being that we felt we had the place to ourselves. It is such a peaceful and warm feeling to have that room to breathe, enjoy nature, the beautiful scenery of Lake Huron, it was just magical. We stopped to take lots of breaks, chat about what we saw, and make sure we both were good to keep going. We only rode side by side when no one else was around, and when we felt confident, we weren’t going to crash into each other.
Now, this was August this past year, way up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, yes, Yooper country. The weather was nice, cool in the mornings but definitely hot in the afternoons. Another reason to bike in the morning, you know, avoid heat stroke later in the day. They gave us bike locks to also rent, and with how many little spots to stop and explore, you definitely want to have one. Do I feel Mackinac is safe? Yes, but I just didn’t want to be on the hook for a very expensive bike because someone stole it while I was looking at a really cool rock formation.
The entire route has so many fun little spots to stop at look at, a great view of the Mackinac Bridge, and it’s not too hilly to ride. A few VERY small hills, one we did walk our bikes up just because we were laughing so hard to get it up it that it just was never going to happen without us walking them, but that’s about it.
Now, you are right next to the water most of the time, which produced a lot of wind. In several pics you can see how windy it was and how I tried to wear my hood to keep my ears from getting cold. In town, the building really did block out the cold and wind, it was actually very hot, but out there on the open road, just sky, water, and lots of wind. So just be aware of that if you don’t like wind blowing on you for long periods of time.
We got back to town, one complete circle took us about 2 hours, with one major stop of climbing to Arch Rock, and little stops for breaks. By the time we rode in, there were hundreds of people everywhere, being around 10 a.m. We returned the bikes with no problem, paid $26 for each of us, headed for breakfast somewhere, and toasted to a bike ride well done! They have lots of merch with “8.2 Miles” on it so you can remember the Island bike ride accomplishment- we bought a car coaster and a sticker for my luggage. We were super proud of ourselves since we had never done a bike ride together, can you believe it? At least not in some 20 years. We enjoyed our high the rest of the day, it was a great memory we both cherish very much.
If you are interested in heading to Mackinac Island and want to know more about renting bikes, what kind, and to even reserve ahead, check them out HERE. To find more information about Mackinac Island and what there is to do, eat, and even stay there, check that out HERE. I would highly recommend this as a travel destination, as it was a beautiful way to see the Island, get some exercise, enjoy the quiet of a summer morning, PLUS bond with your significant other. Make sure to subscribe to the blog as I will be writing also about “Arch Rock,” “Shepler’s Ferry,” “Mackinac Island” as a whole and what we did, and the Motel and Restaurants we ate at as well. Stay tuned!
****Side note, thanks to EVERYONE who have donated to my hard work. This is what I do for a living, and it is a passion for me, so tossing me a couple bucks below helps me SO MUCH with everything needed. If you can’t, please consider subscribing to the blog, LIKING the blog post, and sharing any content you enjoy– it helps me out SOOOO much! I love being able to bring you all these amazing places so that YOU can do them as well. I work mostly on donations so thanks again.
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