"Big Mac"

Shoreline Bicycling Tours:

One of the Best in the Midwest

by Art McCafferty
Mackinaw City- A perfect weekend greeted 500+ riders as they took on the annual fall "Big Mac" scenic bike tour. It was welcome weather for tour director Kevin Vachow and sponsor Brad Jones of the Mackinaw Area Tourist Bureau, the driving forces behind this event. They know that weather can be a dicey proposition where Lake Michigan and Michigan meet. Many riders recalled the brutal weather that they faced on the Mackinac Bridge segment in 1996.

"Big Mac" started with a Friday night spaghetti dinner for out of towners. The food was excellent, plentiful and the service first rate. The small army of volunteers made sure that the registration process was flawless. The event got off to a great start.

Century and 75 mile riders were the first to depart for their jouney at 7:30 on Saturday morning. They were followed an hour later by those doing either the 50 or 25 mile tour.

The courses could not have been set up any better. The 25 miler was basically flat and offered novice riders or veterans looking for a quick workout, a fast course. The 50 miler, which had its turn around point at Cross Villlage, was again primarily a flat and fast course.

75 milers and century riders had to negotiate some roads that had a little more roll to them. There were a couple of spots where the time spent developing into well trained athletes, paid off. These long distance riders were able to cool their thighs once arriving at Good Hart. The final 30-40 miles were relatively flat as riders took on the second portion of the "Tunnel of Trees", Shore Drive and then the final stops at Carp Lake and the Plain Farm rest area on M-108.

The rides went off practially without a hitch. One rider from Lapeer hit the dirt when a dog chased him. He wound up with some stitches on his knee which forced him out of the Mackinac Bridge ride Sunday morning.

Big Mac Bike Tour-"One of the best tours in the Midwest." Bill Easton- Bill ,a writer and attorney from Port Huron, Michigan, has participated in many century tours and is also an experienced marathoner.
Photo Gallery
Some century course riders found the course to be short by 7 or 8 miles. Kevin Vachow, indicated that a detour on the course caused it to be a little short. A number of riders headed out to bike the needed mileage to make sure that they got their 100 miles in.The event organization needs to take a closer look at developing true mileage of the various tour segments. With so many riders having cycle computers, distance travelled becomes a real issue.

The riders were treated to wonderful post tour dinner cruise on the Arnold Line. The Arnold Line, one of the sponsors, put on a great feed as it sailed off into a Mackinaw sunset . The ship's captain traded fog horn blasts with a number of Great Lakes freighters that were sharing the Straits. We were even treated to the "Big Truck Tour", as 20 or so "Big Trucks" drove across the Mackinac Bridge with their horns blaring and their rigs lit up like Christmas trees.

Early Sunday morning, everyone gathered at the high school to line up for the Mackinac Bridge ride. Riders had the choice of riding both ways on the bridge, or riding one way and then taking the Arnold Line to Mackinac Island to continue their riding holiday. Approximately half of the riders chose to go to the Island.

The "Big Mac" ShorelineSpring and Fall Scenic Tours are really well done. Riders continually referred to the Fall Tour as one of the best tours in the Midwest. This year they were treated to a Mackinaw City on the move. The new Courtyards project provided riders and their families with many new areas to visit and shop. In Mackinaw City, new motels are coming on board, streetscapes have been improved , a new golf course just opened, movies are available and a dinner theater awaits everyone who returns next year. It is plain to see that Mackinaw City is the place to be. And yes, the Spring tour is just around the corner. For updates, bookmark their web site at


Published by Great Lakes Sports Publications, Inc.