SPRING LAKE-If anybody told Stan Mischley that it was time to slow down as he neared 70, he ignored them, undoubtedly while blasting by them at top speed on his bicyle. This 69 year old Alpena resident recently rode his bike solo from Alpena to Spring Lake, a small town near Grand Haven. This journey took him four days of serious bike riding, from Monday to Thursday.
"I had a family reunion down there I had to get to, so I figured I'd just jump on my bike and head down," Mischley said.
Mischley, a former maintenance expert for DPI, has long been an avid cyclist. He estimates that he's been riding for around 45 years and was a running enthusiast long before he took up biking.
Alpena resident Stan Mischley upon his arrival in Spring Lake near Grand Haven, after nearly 300 miles of biking.
"I was never in sports at school, but I started running and biking to exercise and stay in shape. I always liked to run and bike, but a hip replacement forced me to focus on biking," he said.
This focus on staying in shape throughout his life paid off in a big way for Mischley's trip, as it required him to bike nearly 300 miles in his four day travel period.
His route started with a 65 mile trip to Mio on the first day. The second day he rode to Houghton Lake, a nearly 70 mile trip. Then, he travelled to Big Rapids, a 90 mile trip and 70 miles from Big Rapids to Spring Lake on the fourth day.
In his younger years, Mischley partcipated in the DALMAC, a five day cycling event from Lansing to Mackinaw City with a group of like-minded cycling enthusiasts. He participated in this event for six or seven years but, until now, had never cycled so far solo.
Mischley's journery coincided with an abrupt state-wide heat wave, but luckily he was well prepared to stay hydrated in these scorching conditions.
"I tell you what, I knew a couple of guys from Alpena who did the Trans-Atlantic ride, from coast to coast and they always said the same thing: drink, drink, drink, drink and drink some more! You just gotta stay hydrated or the heat will get to you," he said. Mischley estimated that he drank four bottles of water and six bottles of Gatoraide on his first day alone.
Riding a bike alone for such a long trip can be a hair raising experience for the uninitiated, especially with impatient drivers riding too close. Mischley was relatively lucky in this regard, and was able to make it to Spring Lake without any serious problems.
"I only had a couple of incidents (on my way down), but for the most part, everybody was really careful. Nothing serious happened, thankfully. I had those blinking red lights on my bike, that helped make sure people knew I was on the road," Mischley said.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.