ISHPEMING — It’s a ride around the Great Lakes State. In just under three weeks, a father–daughter tandem will travel almost 2,000 miles to promote more than just exercise.
At a little after 6 P.M. on Sunday, June 10th, Charlie and Leah Grandy stopped to celebrate another milestone in their journey. They’re riding around the entire state of Michigan – with a slight detour – to create a shift in perspective. The ride is dedicated to the Leah’s grandparents who lived in Michigan most of their lives. The grandmother was a teacher, a profession that faces more challenges now than ever.
“We want to shift our perspective away from the conversation of gun violence in schools not being about simply putting weight on the teachers, but taking the time to encourage our educators,” said Leah.
When they got into town, they had ridden about 1,300 miles, all of them on their old trusty tandem bike. The bike is more than just a way to travel lighter.
“We’ve been riding this tandem for over ten years, and it keeps us together. It asks us to work as a team, and I think that when we consider what we were doing and what we were asking of other people, we wanted to represent what it looked like to work as a team,” said Leah. “Riding in tandem is really hard. It required effort and patience; climbing hills are harder because of how heavy the tandem is. And so I think when we considered riding this ride together, the tandem was really the only option.”
With the bike, they can work together, as well as spend quality time together.
“Fantastic conversations have happened on bike, because when you’re on the bike, you’re together,” said Charlie. “So just to connect in that way has been really incredible for both of us.”
Averaging over 100 miles a day, the ride is built to challenge them physically. But it’s more than just breaking a sweat.
“That’s what’s most significant to me; I’m riding with purpose, and I’m pushing forward to something better, to something greater, to encourage someone, to love someone, to teach someone, and to honor someone. And I think that’s what stands out to me most,” said Leah.
Along the way, they’ve been stopped by local citizens, each curious about the purpose of the Grandy’s journey. The support they’ve received is overwhelming, and the memories and interactions shared with the small–towners and Yoopers will be carried with them.
“Just moments like that, where people engage, take interest, and encourage one another has been really incredible, along with the beautiful scenery, going around the great lakes has been breathtaking,” said Charlie.
“More hills than we expected though…more hills than we expected,” Leah added with a chuckle.
After a hearty dinner at Mamma Mia’s and a good night’s sleep, they’re ready to hit the road again.
By nightfall, they’ll be in the Munising area, and are hoping – if they haven’t already – to see the Pictured Rocks.
To follow the remainder of their journey, click here.