Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

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Zoo-De-Mackinac kicks up a notch

Kristi Kates - May 16th, 2011
Zoo-De-Mackinac Kicks Up a Notch: 3,500 cyclists ready to roll this weekend
By Kristi Kates
It was 22 years ago - 1989, to be precise - that Greg Drawbaugh got a new mountain bike and decided to celebrate that purchase with a little more than a ride ‘round the block.
“I’d ridden the road from Harbor Springs to Mackinaw City a couple of times,” Drawbaugh explains, “so with the new bike, I thought, ‘hey, let’s go bike this thing,’ but with some friends this time. We talked five friends into doing it and went over to the island afterwards.”
The following year, Drawbaugh wrote up “a little one-page flier,” and sent it out to more friends, calling them to meet at the hotel parking lot at Boyne Highlands.
“We had 80 people show up,” Drawbaugh chuckles.

SEVEN THOUSAND WHEELS
From 5 to 80, the experience just kept growing as the years passed. The people who wanted to participate in this wheeled trek from Harbor Springs to Mackinaw went up to 350 people… then 400. Last year 3,000 cyclists did what’s now called the Zoo-de-Mackinac, and owner/coordinator Drawbaugh (his day job is as an accountant) expects 3,500 this year for the 2011 edition of the event, on May 21.
Not bad at all for someone who just wanted to add a little camaraderie to his own bike trip, although Drawbaugh says he had no idea it would get to this extensive of an event.
“Well, we did it just for fun at first,” he says, “and then, after it started getting bigger, after a couple hundred people, I started worrying that someone would get hurt, so we charged an entry fee so we could get some insurance.”

FIFTY-ONE MILES
Now a full-blown business, the Zoo-de-Mackinac’s participation fees cover a wide range of costs for Drawbaugh and his team, including rental facilities, the Zoo-de-Mackinac website, the staff themselves (mostly friends and relatives), and support vehicles for the event.
“We have three or four vehicles out there during the day to help people with breakdowns and flat tires and such,” he says, “a support crew, basically.”
Some people even travel Up North with their friends just for the fun of it, even though they’re not biking the route themselves, but will instead drive along in their cars as a support structure of their own for family and friends who are pedaling their way through.
The Zoo-de-Mackinac course sticks close to its beginnings, still starting right at Boyne Highlands, crossing a little of the countryside, and then heading west out to M-119, past Sturgeon Bay and then inland and up to Mackinaw City.
And just how long does this 51 mile bike trip take? Well, that all depends on you.

SIX SPEEDY HOURS
“People are free to start when they want,” Drawbaugh says, “typically, we try to get everyone moving no later than 11 a.m. Most of the riders start between 9 and 10:30. We end up in Mackinaw City in the evening.”
Drawbaugh can’t, of course, give any medical advice to Zoo-de-Mackinac participants, but he does say that the trek is within reach for most people in good health.
“My comment is that anybody that’s in pretty decent physical condition should be able to do this,” he says, “my mom did it until she was 64 years old. I typically tell people to go and do a 20-mile ride before this, which most anybody can do. If you’re a little unsure, just start early, because you’ve got all day to do it, so you can take your time, stop, rest, and enjoy the day.”
Most people, Drawbaugh offers, ride about 8-10 miles per hour.
“So it’s probably 5 or 6 hours of actual biking,” he says, “if you start at 8 or 9 a.m. and mix up a bunch of stops, you can be done and in Mackinaw City easily by early afternoon.”

IT ALL ADDS UP TO FUN
And Mackinaw City is definitely the place to be after the Zoo-de-Mackinac. Another part of the event is the big post-ride party at Mackinaw Crossings.
“We’re in the second year of our big party,” Drawbaugh says, “so we’re turning everything up a notch there so that everybody has a good time.”
Included in the after-party will be live music, a big tent for the festivities, several sponsors featuring their products, and a pig roast - plus yet another trek, this one over water instead of over land.
“Everyone’s entry fee includes a round-trip ticket to Mackinac Island,” Drawbaugh explains, “so most everyone goes to the island, and we pretty much take it over for that one night,” he laughs, “so it’s really fun.”
In addition to the celebration and completion of the bike trek, Drawbaugh says he most appreciates helping his fellow cyclists.
“I would say a lot of our participants are not serious cyclists,” he explains, “they’re just your everyday average person. So it’s gratifying to see that many people doing something they haven’t done before, riding 51 miles through this beautiful area.”
“At the end of the day, they’re proud of themselves,” he continues, “and it’s great to see that many people out getting exercise, which they may not have done were we not there to give them guidance.”

For more info on the Zoo-de-Mackinac biking event or to sign up, visit www.zoo-de-mack.com, or telephone them at 313-821-8414. This year’s event takes place on May 21.
 
 
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