"" Writer's Wanderings: Mackinac Island -- The 8 Mile Bike Ride

Friday, November 06, 2020

Mackinac Island -- The 8 Mile Bike Ride

 Remember how your parents always said they walked 10 miles to school in the wind and snow and it was uphill both ways? I almost felt like I was living it the morning we decided to take the 8.2 mile bicycle trip around the island. The first two days of out stay on the island had been sunny even though a bit chilly but according to our Weatherbug things were about to change. It assured us though that the rain and wind wouldn't come until after noon. Like all good weather predictors, it was wrong.

After breakfast on the last full day on the island we headed to the bike shop across from our hotel. At the Mackinac Island Bike Shop, we rented two bikes for $11/ hour. We picked this shop because it prorated the rental fee after the first hour. It also offered a free helmet if desired and a basket on the front with a bottle of water. The seats were comfy and adjusted for our heights and with fear and trepidation, I started off.

Thankfully I didn't immediately take a spill and once I got going the pain in my bad knees eased up. I would find though that it was better to keep going than to stop and start up again. Because there wasn't a lot of bike traffic (in the summer, I think they want you to follow the arrows of the bike route) we chose to go clockwise which was actually backwards from the prescribed route. We were concerned with the wind picking up and wanted to get to what we thought would be the lee side before it did.

About a third of the way, we stopped to get some pictures of where it was the British landed July 16 of 1812 just at the start of the war. They took the high ground overlooking Fort Mackinac and frightened the commander, who didn't know the war had begun, into a surrender to save having an Indian massacre. Really. That's basically what the historic marker says.

The clouds were moving in and we began to feel the wind pick up as well as the waves that were pounding an already eroding shoreline. Soon enough we got a light rain, not too bad. I figured we could survive. We had all weather jackets on. I pulled up my hood and we peddled on. Before too long our gentle rain turned steady with the wind whipping it into our faces. 

When it seemed to relax a little, I couldn't resist stopping at a sign that said, "Resting Place of the Ancestors". We rested a moment, took a picture and then we took off again--for me painfully. I told Bob I wasn't stopping again. It turned out we didn't want to stop. 

Just before entering town again, we made a quick stop for a little different view of the Arch Rock. I couldn't decide if I liked the view better from the top or the bottom. Of course at this point when you looked up the rain was hitting you in the face. 

The rain didn't let up. Our "leisurely" bike ride took only an hour and a half. The ride around the island would be a lot more fun in nice weather and with good knees. We asked if there were electric bikes but the answer was that they were not allowed. Hmmm. The golfers got to have their golf carts on the courses. Not fair. But as I said, with good knees and nice weather the ride would be very pleasant and there are lots of places to stop and stay a while. A picnic lunch wouldn't be bad either. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon going in and out of the shops that were still open. Most of them were just your run of the mill souvenir places. One or two had some unusual items but all of the clothing was emblazoned with Mackinac Island. I would have enjoyed buying a nice sweater and just telling everyone I got it there. 

We rest3ed in our room, watched a little TV and then went out to dinner. The weather was definitely turning colder and I was glad we hadn't waited any longer to visit the Island. Next time maybe a little earlier in the Fall.

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