Father-daughter duo bikes around Lake Superior to honor educators

Father and daughter Charlie and Leah Grandy stand next to a sign in Ishpeming on their bicycling journey around Lake Superior in honor of educators and school safety. The duo started the 1,900-mile trek May 26 in Port Huron.

MARQUETTE–Two cyclists with roots in lower Michigan are on the move through the Upper Peninsula as they embark on the final leg of a 1,900-mile journey around Lake Superior.

Father and daughter duo Charlie and Leah Grandy started their trek on May 26 in Port Huron in honor of educators nationwide.

The pair spent nearly a week in Canada before returning through Minnesota, Wisconsin and into the Upper Peninsula — traveling an average of 90 miles each day on a tandem bicycle.

Charlie Grandy said although the trip has been a “fantastic opportunity” to spend time with his daughter, it has been slightly more difficult than expected given the weather and the unexpected amount of hills surrounding the big lake.

“We were on the north side of Lake Superior for a few days where the temperatures were around 40 degrees,” Charlie Grandy said. “There have been a lot of headwinds and a lot of hills.”

The pair has stayed overnight using a variety of accommodations, including campgrounds, cottages, hotels and even a church, Charlie Grandy said.

They plan to stay at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Monday night and by Tuesday evening will leave the U.P. behind, he said.

“We are supposed to ride 117 miles on our way, God willing, to Mackinaw City,” Charlie Grandy said.

The whole purpose of the ride, other than to celebrate Leah Grandy’s graduation from Ohio’s Miami University in mid-May, is to honor Leah’s paternal grandparents. Her grandmother worked as a teacher at St. Joseph High School for over 30 years and her grandfather worked as a school bus driver for 15 years after retiring from a successful career as a chiropractor.

“I would just say, the whole purpose of the ride and really trying to recognize the efforts of the teachers and our educators,” Charlie Grandy said. “We are dedicating it to my parents, Leah’s grandparents. The way to honor them is to encourage our teachers and educators to continue their great efforts as well as encourage more dialogue around gun violence in schools and how to prevent it.”

He said while guns are part of the discussion, politics is not.

“Without a political agenda, I think we can all agree that our students and our teachers shouldn’t have to worry about their own safety,” Charlie Grandy said.

He said the people they’ve encountered as well as the scenery have been very uplifting.

“The people have been very gracious,” he said. “They really relate to the purpose of the ride, from all locations and walks of life. It resonates with people. Plus, we have had the opportunity to experience unbelievable beauty as we travel.”

He said if all goes well the pair will arrive in St. Joseph by Saturday.

Those interested in following their progress can visit www.ashiftinperspective1.wordpress.com, or may donate to a fund dedicated to educators at www.stjosephpublicschoolsfoundation.org.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.