“Blue Hour” for Bike Month: Connecting with Our Nation’s Great Lakes Freshwater Coast

Danielle Korpalski 2011.

In honor of May bike month Danielle Korpalski and I tuned up our bikes to partake in a “blue hour” of epic proportions.

We participated in the Zoo-de-Mackinac bike ride, a ride that starts near Petoskey Michigan and follows Lakes Michigan and Huron to Mackinac City. Over 3,000 people did the same.

For us this ride serves as a 51- mile reminder of the serene yet threatened Great Lakes ecosystems we seek to protect.

This ride covers only a small piece of a very large and important coastline ecosystem, however. The Great Lakes coastline habitat spans about 10,000 miles. At the rate Danielle and I traveled, 51 miles a day, it would take us about 6 and a half months to bike its entirety!

Danielle Korpalski 2011.

Our route followed one of the most scenic roads in the United States. One could also travel this route by car but at the expense of missing sounds of bird chirps, wildlife scattering in the grass and wind howling, smells of fresh pine and budding flowers and visual images of true greens and intense blues of nature. …not to mention the expense of increasing carbon emissions.

This ride inspired many to venture out-of-car-doors including Ronald whom I met on the tour:

I started biking last August and am continuing to bike as much as possible. The experience is so much more complete on a bike than in a car. – Ronald K., Kalamazoo, Michigan

Danielle Korpalski 2011.

To connect with nature you don’t have to ride 51 miles on a bike. There are many ways to enjoy your green or “blue” hour that include walking, fishing, gardening or reading underneath a tree. May is also Garden for Wildlife month.

See National Wildlife Federation’s Get Outside page for more information and share your nature stories with friends.

Also take an opportunity to support the wildlife of the Great Lakes coasts. Perhaps you may someday experience a “blue hour” yourself!