July 11, 2012 - Five Clarkston residents participated in the 31st Annual Pedal Across Lower Michigan, June 23-29.
Riders Fred Irish, Tom Miller, Chris Peterson and Bob Walters made up the group Clarkston PALM Riders and covered 285 miles during the six days. They are affectionately called CPR since Irish, Miller and Walters are older than 70-years-old.
Margaret Miller, another Clarkston resident, did ride but not on a bicycle. She set up water stops along the tough treck each day.
It was the eighth ride for Irish and Walters for this year's PALM.
"It it weren't for him, I wouldn't be doing these rides," said Walters. "I am a social rider. Plus, I am also getting older so it is great to have someone to encourage you. I just turned 77, and he is just a tad younger."
Walters prepared by riding at Indian Springs Metro park with a friend.
"It's not far away, and it is a pleasant eight mile loop," he added. "It is one of the great treasures in our area."
His bicycle also prepared for the trip and he took it to Kinetic Systems in downtown Clarkston.
"It really paid off," Walters said. "They do a really good job."
Over 800 riders began the trip in St. Joseph by Lake Michigan and rode along the coast, which Walters shared the view was beautiful. The riders range in age from under one up to over 90.
Four of Irish's grandchildren have gone on the ride in the past.
"It was wonderful for him and them," Walters said.
The riders also went through small towns - this year Walters discovered Perry and Lawrence through his ride.
"It was good," said Walters. "The route changes every year. It started farther south this year than normal. We went through Ortonville for the first time. Brandon High School was a wonderful host. They really did a good job."
The bicycle ride is a scenic route using paved back roads with the distance 35-60 miles per day until they reached New Baltimore on the last day. At night they would sleep at local schools in tents where showers, breakfast and dinner were provided.
Walters first took part in PALM when his wife's Canadian cousin was visiting in 2003 and invited them to join them for the 2004 ride.
He admitted before he joined he hadn't done a long bicycle ride since college. He added he did have experience riding as he was a Western Union messenger in high school.
For more information, visit www.lmb.org/palm, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 734-669-0172.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.