CHICAGO — From her patterned spandex to that neon windbreaker, nothing about Carol Garsee reads “elderly.”
“What does a 77-year-old look like? What do they act like… I don’t know, this is the way I’ve been my entire life,” Garsee said.
At 64, she went nearly 2,000 miles to cross the northern tier of the United States, powered by nothing more than bike pedals and her own two feet.
Which is why at 77 she decided to follow the birds south for Carol’s Second Great Adventure: a 3,000-mile trek from St. Augustine, FL to San Diego, CA.
“It was just something I thought I could do, and I had to prove to myself that I could,” she said.
So she saddled up, pushing those 77-year-young legs along the lakefront every day. Early February, Carol dipped her front bike tire in the Atlantic Ocean along with a dozen other seniors, marking the start of a long journey. Across the coastline of Georgia, Alabama and Lousiana, she went anywhere from 50 to 90 miles a day.
“I was doing more praying than anything else… A couple of times I was actually cursing,” Garsee laughs.
But Carol says the view from her saddle made every ache and pain worth it.
“Oh, the beauty. The beauty that I saw…” she said.
A ride to prove she still could ended up opening her eyes to things she waited 77 years to take in. The last day ended with a final tire dip in the Pacific Ocean.
The day after she returned from San Francisco, she was back on her bike, peddling away on Chicago’s lakefront trail. Only this time with a head full of memories.
“It was an adventure. Remember, I’m 77 years young,” smiles garsee.