COLEMAN, Mich. — To celebrate his upcoming 60th birthday, Dan Cassidy decided to do something a little different this year.
Granola bars and water bottles in tow, Cassidy, his two son-in-laws and several of his friends took to the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail Saturday, July 14 and rode a total of 60 miles, one for each of his years. The group started in Coleman, traveled to Midland and turned around and rode back towards Coleman until they hit the 60 mile mark.
Cassidy, a Coleman resident and owner of Coleman Auto and Bike, 113 East Railway Street, turned 60 Friday, July 20.
Cassidy said he was inspired to complete the trek by a friend of his, who rode his birthdays out in miles when he turned 68 last year.
“I figured if he could do that, I ought to be able to ride (60 miles) next year for my 60th birthday,” Cassidy said. “That’s what gave me inspiration.”
To prepare, Cassidy said he got up early most days in the weeks prior to the ride and biked 10-12 miles. He said he bikes frequently, so the 60-mile ride was hard, but not impossible.
“It was a lot of work — it’s probably something I’m not going to do again this week,” he said. “My son-in-law, on the other hand, jumped on the bike and rode the full 60 miles with us when he hasn’t biked in a long time.”
The total riding time for the trek was about five hours and 15 minutes, with the group aiming for a pace of 12 miles per hour. Cassidy said it took about seven hours total to complete counting breaks and a stop at a farmer’s market during the journey.
Since the Rail-Trail opened and his shop began carrying bikes, Cassidy said the allure of biking has stuck with with him and become a favorite hobby of his. The 60-mile ride was a fitting way to celebrate that hobby while celebrating his birthday, he said.
Cassidy isn’t ruling out the possibility of making similar treks for future birthdays, but he said some of the friends he rode with this year might appreciate a less strenuous celebration.
“Maybe we’ll go golfing next year, I don’t know,” he said with a laugh.