• Best of Bike Delaware 2013: What happened to a place in Michigan when it banned cars for 115 years?

    by  • December 31, 2013 • Most Popular • 0 Comments

    2013 Look Back: This article was originally published on February 26, 2013.  It was the  most viewed Bike Delaware article of 2013.

    by Jeff Potter

    Excerpted from Mackinac Island: “Watch the Bike!” published in Bicycle Times Magazine (Feb/Mar 2013)

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    Bike culture has recently been booming in the U.S.  But there’s a little place in the north that’s been in love with bikes for generations: Mackinac Island, Michigan, a historic tourist destination on the Straits of Mackinac, between Lakes Michigan and Huron. Because motor vehicles have been banned here since 1898 – more than 100 years – everyone has used bikes for everything a bike can be used for, and for more than you might imagine.  Along with multi-season commuting, it’s a place where everyone socializes on bikes, from teens to guys in sports coats.

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    [Bikes here] come in dozens of brands, spanning the eras…they’re built for comfort.  Nearly all have a big front basket, upright handlebars, full metal fenders, a kickstand, and a big seat.

     

    Headlight use isn’t comon, but it’s making slow inroads along with handlebar bells.  Islanders enjoy their night sky and navigating by treeline and moonlight…Hardly anyone wears a helmet…Islanders just seem to realize that the safe, human scale of bikes outweighs the need for such extra gear.  If helmets worked for them they’d be hanging from every handlebar.

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    “Copenhagen Bicycle Chic became popular a few years ago, yet generations of Islanders have known that bikes are a part of fashion, part of looking good.  Sport coats and dresses – check.”

     

    Photo credit: The Graphic

    The air is cleaner and injuries are fewer.  Island residents are healthier due to the exercise. There’s a cherished egalitarianism: everyone gets around the same way.  They also save a tremendous amount of money that would normally go to commuting by cars.

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     Photo Credit: Michelle Stenzel

     

    Photo credit: Glamorous Housewife 

    Excerpted from Mackinac Island: “Watch the Bike!”, by Jeff Potter. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

     

    RELATED:

    • Perfect bike/walk vacation found on Mackinac Island

    • Mackinac Island Bike Tour

    Destination: Mackinac Island, Michigan

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