Think you’re an avid cyclist? Meet MAC Member, Carol McKean, who is about to embark on a summmer cross-country bike trip with her husband, Bill.
MAC: Tell me a little bit about yourself?
CM: Well it took me a long time because I’m 71 years old. I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and I came out here after high school and I’ve been here ever since, except for a 6-year stint in North Carolina where we lived in Raleigh. I’ve always been sort of an outdoorsy person interested in sports and physical activity. Ever since our last bike trip about 4 years ago I’ve sort of became a slug and I was feeling very sluggish at the beginning of this year and then I got something in the mail about the opening of this facility and I knew we were going on this bike trip, so it thought maybe this would be a good thing to do. It was near our house, it was convenient, and I couldn’t use the excuse that it was too far away. So I came and took the tour, I liked it and decided I needed some structure so I signed up with Maryann and it was a great decision – both of them.
MAC: Tell me a little bit about training with Maryann? How does she push you?
CM: She made me work hard which was great. That’s exactly what I wanted. She gave me a lot of exercises to do, and so I worked out with her for four weeks in January and then went about 6 weeks on my own. I then decided to sign up with her again, going two times a week for two weeks, so I did that and then finished that about three weeks ago. I signed up with her once a week until we go (on the bike trip) because I decided I had to just stay with her until we left. I’ve been very motivated; I feel a whole lot better, lost 12 pounds. Things really have turned around, so I feel ready for the bike trip now.
MAC: You’re going on a bike trip with your husband soon; can you tell me a little about that?
CM: We’ve taken 6 long bike trips, two in Europe, and one on the Oregon coast. We took the mountain loop, went over the North Cascades Highway and back over Stevens Pass through Winthrop and Chelan. Actually, our first one was in 1996 when we went to Colorado for my husband’s 40th high school reunion. That was our first bike tour and we really like it. It’s a great way to go, you get a lot of great experiences; it’s an adventure, it’s great physical exercise and I think people think we’re nuts but this could be our last hurrah, I don’t know, we’ll see. For the first time I’m having a few doubts about coming all the way across the country but I hope we make it.
MAC: So it’s a cross-country trip… where will you be starting?
CM: We’re flying to Raleigh, NC and visiting some friends there for about a week. Then we’ll leave from there and go up through Virginia and along the C&O Canal Towpath, which is now a biking and walking path. In fact you can go all the way from Raleigh to almost Pittsburgh on a bike path, we don’t even have to go on a road so that’ll be great.
MAC: How long are you anticipating the trip taking you?
CM: At least two and a half months. I suspect we won’t be back until toward the end of July.
MAC: What has been your favorite (bike) trip so far?
CM: It’s hard to pick one because they’ve all been very different but the two in Europe probably were my favorite ones just because we were in such a different place. Our last one we went through, starting in Switzerland, went through Austria and the Czech Republic which was very interesting because it’s sort of a former third world country and some parts of it are still struggling to get back. But it was so interesting and we spent several days in Prague, which was a beautiful place, beautiful city, and we had a very interesting train trip from there to Munich, Germany. And all in all, I think for interesting experiences in a different environment it was probably my favorite one. And we were with a couple of friends for most of that trip.
MAC: What do you like best about the MAC?
CM: I like the atmosphere; the spaciousness and the newness of everything. The staff is very friendly and they just make you feel welcome and motivated to come back. I like it a lot. And it’s convenient to our house, I’ve walked down here several times or back or both.
Carol with her husband, Bill, in France on one of their many bike trips.