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Thread: Mackinaw bridge

  1. #1
    ohbeemer slip's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    southeast ohio
    I rode it up on the pegs all the way and as slow as I could go, just to enjoy the view as long as I could. It's a wonderful ride

  2. #2
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    SE Michigan
    It is a beautiful view from up there. I've done it both by bicycle and on motorcyle and have always enjoyed it thanks to the beautiful view, and the ships you can usually see down below. The bicycle crossings were with an organized tour the day before Labor Day. They put down plywood over the expansion joints, which are wide and long enough to swallow a 27" bicycle wheel up to the axle!

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Hurley, WI

    Options to Bridge

    Like a few of the riders have said..the only time the bridge can be "nerve racking" is high winds or when they close the outer lanes, then you need to handle 2 miles of grating.

    I see your from Buffalo option would be to go north to Barrie & Sault Ste Marie Ontario and cross over to "da U.P." at the Soo....the bridge is high but short.

    Then you can head across the U.P. to Wisconsin from there.

    Bob Alexander

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Sault Ste. Marie On,up in Canada

    The Gay Telese

    One of the guys that works at the tollbooths will ride your bike across for you,I met him once. Call ahead,if he's still there he'll ride your bike across for you.
    If I'm in the area I'll take it across,I'm sure you'll get someone,no problem....

  5. #5
    Stronger, Faster, Tougher iRene's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    the State Ptomaine
    Did it on a clear, still day on the K75S with a pair of friends on their K-bikes, it was grand!
    What a view and what an experience, I would recommend it.
    MOA Ambassador
    Sled Dog Touring Team | RSMaine | MOVermont
    '08 R1200GS | '60 R60

  6. #6
    Registered User Rapid_Roy's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Waukesha, WI
    I like driving on the grating. Good to hone skills. When we left Midland, MI to go home, the girl I was riding with said she didn't want to go over the bridge again. I said that was fine and to be careful riding through Chicago. She went over the bridge (again).
    19 BMWMOA Nationals under my belt, and I have no idea what I am doing.

  7. #7
    I rode the big bridge up and back last fall on the way to and from Duluth (a friend wanted to buy a 'Stich). I stayed on the concrete portion and it wasn't a big deal. I could have ridden on the grating, but was glad that I didn't have to as the wind was picking up on the way back.

    As a youngster I used to ride back and forth at least twice a day across the bridge spanning the Cape Fear River into Wilmington, NC. This bridge is much shorter than the big Mak bridge, but there was no option but to ride over the grating.

    I can recall a couple of times when it was raining and the wind was blowing. My bike (a Honda CB350) would be blown from the windward to the leeward lanes. It took some advance planning to ensure that a car or truck wasn't coming up fast in the leeward lane (I'd start in the windward lane).

    On a bike the rotating wheels provide a helpful gyroscopic effect which will keep the bike in a path resisting a change. Recall Newton's law of motion - bodies in motion will tend to remain so unless acted on by a force. So, don't make any sudden directional changes, slam on the brakes, etc. and the ride across the bridge will be ok.

  8. #8
    Registered User TracyRBIKE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003

    Thumbs up Crossing the Mackinac Bridge

    We cross the bridge several times each year. It's not really as bad as everyone envisions! One lane is paved and one is grated over the middle section of the bridge -- I've ridden both. Both lanes are paved on the approach on both sides.

    A couple of thing to watch out for:

    On the paved section in the middle, do keep toward the innermost part of the lane and travel single file (not 2 abeast in the lane). You WILL encounter some cross-winds in the middle, even if it doesn't seem windy as you approach the bridge.

    Also, if you're crossing in the rain, or early in the morning, take special care on the large metal expansion joints near each tower. These can be slippery when wet.

    Keep your eyes on the road 1/2 mile or so ahead of you if you're uncomfortable with heights -- otherwise enjoy the fantastic view! My hubby hates heights, but he makes it across just fine.

    If you have to ride on the grated section (sometimes necessary if bridge maintenance is in progress), keep a nice relaxed grip on the handle bars. The bike will wiggle around a little, but the tighter your grip, the more you'll feel it.

    If you have time, stop in Mackinaw City and check out the museum (just above the pizza joint on the main street). They have interesting bridge artifacts and a little video about the building of the bridge.

  9. #9
    Registered User Abosit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Thumbs up Last update on this bridge

    I rode the bridge in May 3,2007.
    The grated lanes where in construction and concrete lanes where in excelent condition. No problems for this summer.
    Have a great trip.

  10. #10
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Atlanta 'burbs
    The bridge is the subject of a Modern Marvels episode that just started.
    2012 R1200GS
    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  11. #11
    Midwest Command ptero's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    Utica, MI
    I have crossed the bridge many times on a motorcycle. A lot of what folks have said above is true. Really not so bad.

    The worst feeling is if you're trying to lock up and fight the weave the steel grating induces. It's a lot like rain grooves in pavement. Ease up and let it wiggle. It'll still track straight and you'll be fine.

    There was that time I did part of it one handed and took pix down through the grating. The camera managed to autofocus on the grating in a couple and on the water below in a couple. That bike was especially stable. With two hands anyone should be ok.
    Team Pterodactyl - Logistics and Tats
    Ride Hard or Stay Home - 93 K1100LT, 02 R1150GS

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Sparta, NJ
    One of my all time best motorcycling memories involves the Mackinaw Bridge. In 1982 four of us circumnavigated Lake Michigan. We parked the bikes and ferried over to Mackinaw Island to spend the night. The morning dawned clear, warm and sunny, and we decided a swim in the crystal clear, placid waters of Lake Michigan would be a great way to start the day. In and out was the best I could do in that chilly water. Toweling off I stopped to absorb the scene around me. The sun was still low. A boundary layer of fog rested on the glassy surface of the lake. Ducks muttered as they paddled by. The thumping of a big ship's propeller beat the air, the freighter hidden by the mist as it plied the Straits of Mackinaw. And poking above the fog, shining golden in the early morning light, were the twin towers of the Mackinaw Bridge. It was a peaceful, beautious moment that I relish still 25 years later. The long ride over the open grating kept us from truly enjoying the view from the bridge span.

  13. #13
    Registered User 37071's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Petrolia ON


    Going to the National in Escanaba I rode over the Big Mac on my 57 R26. I had a full load of campimg gear. The outer cement lane was out of service because there were air compressors on it. Any time it is warm enough to paint - the outer lane is out of service. Riding on the inner lane on the steel decking,on the skinney little rib tires; was no fun.
    With the latest Metzlers on my K75, the steel decking will be easy.

  14. #14
    Have her ride the bridge w her eyes closed. That should solve all your problems.

  15. #15
    Like the other's have said it's not too bad, it can be under certain conditions but slow down and you will be ok.

    Two words about the wife's crossing. Blindfold and rope. Put the blindfold over her eyes and tie her hands to the bike frame. If she freaks on the grating you could have a memorable ride.

    Footnote. I have been over the bridge many time because of family in the UP and everytime I have crossed on a bike the right lane has been closed for painting, or some type of construction. That puts you on the grating, now all the joints don't match up exactly so the front tire will wonder in the groove, don't fight it cause you can't beat it, just let it flow and relax. ENJOY THE RIDE

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