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DALMAC Bike Tour | Lansing to Mackinac Bicycle Tour

What is DALMAC Bike Tour? It is the Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw Bicycle Tour. It is a camping tour, which means at the start of each day, participants wake up in a tent, break down camp and then ride all day to their next campsite.

DALMAC is staffed by volunteer members of the Tri-County Bicycle Association. Their objectives are “to develop an awareness of bicyclists and their needs among the citizens of Michigan, to promote bicycling as a healthy means of transportation and recreation, and to encourage wider use of bicycles.”

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Photo courtesy of DALMAC

About DALMAC Bike Tour

Little did then-state Rep. Dick Allen know that an upstart ride in 1971 from Michigan’s capitol to the Mackinac Bridge would evolve into one of the state’s longest-running multi-day bike tours.

2021 is the 50th Dick Allen Lansing to MACkinaw Bicycle Tour! The DALMAC is Michigan’s annual, fully supported, epic end-of-summer bicycle camping tour. Routes wind northward from Michigan State University on country roads and through quaint small towns, ending in historic and beautiful Mackinaw City.

DALMAC is one of the oldest, lowest cost, all-volunteer-run bicycling tours in the country, celebrating its 50th year in 2021. DALMAC is about the fun of bicycling and sharing the roads!

DALMAC originated in 1971 when former state Rep. Dick Allen challenged his friends, colleagues, and constituents to “ride all the way to the bridge” to prove that bikes and cars could share Michigan roads safely. DALMAC seeks to develop an awareness of bicyclists and their needs among the citizens of Michigan, to promote bicycling as a healthy means of transportation and recreation, and to encourage wider use of bicycles. DALMAC is organized and staffed by volunteers of the Lansing-based Tri-County Bicycle Association (TCBA).

DALMAC Bike Tour Route Options

The riders start their journey at the Michigan State University Pavilion in East Lansing. There are four-day routes (4-Day West & 4-Day East) and five-day routes (5-Day & 5-UP).

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Photo courtesy of DALMAC

All of the routes have been designed to feature a number of scenic locations throughout the northbound trip. Three of the routes stop at the Lake George Campground and all pass through the “Tunnel of Trees,” north of Petoskey. Three of the routes end in Mackinaw City, while the 5-UP route continues on to Sault Ste Marie.

On Sunday, all riders are given the opportunity to ride across the Mackinac Bridge. The riders in the tour are given special permission to cross from the Mackinac Bridge Authority.

The tour has end-of-day stops (mostly at schools) where the riders can shower and set up camp. There are baggage vehicles used to tote tents and bags to the overnight stops.

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Photo courtesy of DALMAC

DALMAC Bike Tour Information

So that riders can keep connected, DALMAC also provides cell phone charging stations along the routes. While DALMAC does not provide food to the riders, most eat dinner and breakfast at camp, stopping for food throughout the day at stores and restaurants they come across.

Heading out on a four- or five-day bike tour of this length can take its toll on riders who are not properly prepared. Most riders at DALMAC’s online forum recommend getting between 1,000 and 2,000 miles logged in the season prior to the tour. Riders should also be ready to travel between 75 and 100 miles per day.

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Photo courtesy of DALMAC

Tips for DALMAC Bike Tour Participants

One of the things most difficult to prepare for on a bike tour the scale of DALMAC is rain. With the rain comes many challenges for the riders. The most obvious challenge may be that they get soaked, but the rain also affects the speed of the bikes. Many riders also have electrical equipment and lights on their bikes. A standard supply on the tour is plastic bags to cover seats, electronics, and anything else susceptible to water damage. It is also vitally important for riders to pack extra socks, dry clothes, and towels to be sure they can stay warm.

Have you ever participated in the DALMAC bike tour? Where’s your favorite biking trail in Michigan?

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