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Pedal power

By Jessie Bazan, communication senior

Ditch the planes, trains and automobiles. At 72 years young, Ken Schaefer, Eng '63, and his wife, Meg, are opting to burn calories not fuel by biking to Alumni Reunion Weekend this July. Impressed? Just wait. The Schaefers aren't coming from down the block or across the city.

Ken and Meg live 400 miles from campus.

The St. Paul, Minn., residents will begin their trek to Marquette about a week before Ken's 50th class reunion. The duo has made the ride to Milwaukee seven times before. How else would two biking fanatics get to weddings, retirement parties and reunions? Their route (illustrated above) includes motel stops in small Wisconsin towns, rides on the La Crosse and Elroy-Sparta bike trails, and even a trip across the Wisconsin River on the Merrimac Ferry outside Baraboo.

"That's the beauty of Wisconsin riding there are so many farm roads and very lightly motorized traffic. It's really good cycling," Ken says.

The 800-mile round-trip adventure may seem daunting, but it's just part of the Schaefers' lifestyle. "We don't play golf or go on cruises," Ken explains. "We ride our bikes a lot."

The couple bikes 6,0007,000 miles a year, with Ken riding a steel custom touring bike and Meg on a carbon Trek. When Minnesota's infamous snow blankets the roadway, the two book it to Fredericksburg, Texas, for four months of prime cycling in the sun. The thrill of a long ride, Ken says, never gets old.

"It's almost a feeling of euphoria. You feel so good, so you can have a little more to eat," says Ken. And in typical Milwaukeean style, he adds, "I can treat myself to a nice bottle of beer after the ride."

During reunion weekend, they are also treating themselves to a stay at the historic Pfister Hotel to celebrate 50 years of Ken's alumnus status and 50 years of marriage. The ritzy Pfister doesn't get many requests for bike racks, but Ken has already arranged to lock their two-wheeled transportation in the hotel's garage.

"They don't want those bikes on the fancy rugs!" Ken jokes. 


Comment by John Joyce at Jun 12 2013 03:36 pm
What a wonderful way to arrive at your reunion. Tour riding is one of the best ways to experience the country and its people. Keep on trekking. :) God Bless
Comment by Jack Neely at Jun 12 2013 04:49 pm
What a great couple! We have been Ken and Meg's neighbors for forty-some years. I recall them leaving on a 400 mile Wi. bike ride with their three children - in a thunder storm. Their youngest was in about 6th grade. Someone had a flat tire so they returned home for the repair. I thought they would wait out the storm. No way; off they went again in a downpour; camping all the way. When Shaefers say they re going to do something you better get out of the way! They are the original "Just do it! folks!
Jack Neely
Comment by Rose Curro Bagin, Arts '63 at Jun 13 2013 10:14 am
I am so proud of these two!
Meg got her start biking in the 50's when she, I and other classmates from St. Rita's, West Allis, class of '59, adventurously rode our balloon-tired, second-hand, 1-speeds to Greenfield Park,(where some took a dip in the nearby quarry), Whitnall Park and (good heavens!) Fox Point!
They probably don't need it because they'll be prepared for
any eventuality, but I wish them luck on their trek to MU.
Comment by ElliePeden at Jun 13 2013 11:57 am
Way to go, Meg and Ken. congratulations on 50 years. ellie and merle
Comment by Anne and Phil Zink at Jun 13 2013 07:14 pm
This couple is just plain can't keep up with them! They convinced us to bike in Fredericksburg TX and it is the greatest. If it weren't for Ken and Meg we wouldn't know where to go. Ken is a super guide, bike repair guy and Meg is the sensible one who keeps us all hapy and never lost or left behind. CONGRATS TO A SUPER COUPLE...keep on wheelin'. Be safe...
Comment by C arole Kenny at Jun 14 2013 02:25 pm
Congratulations on 50 years of marriage and thousands of miles biking. Hope your trip is rain-free. I know it will be scenic.
love, Carole
Comment by Kathy koch at Jun 16 2013 07:56 pm
The adventures of Meg and Ken always put a smile on my face and male me happy. Keep it up you two.
Happy trails, Kathleen
Comment by Peg & Cliff Knapp at Jul 05 2013 02:11 pm
Hi Meg & Ken,

Meg & I have been friends since we were kids at St Rita's grade school. She stood up for our wedding almost 52 years ago. And there's no one kinder or more fun than Meg. And Ken's always ready for a good time - but only after his bike ride. We're looking forward to them staying with us at our camper on the way to MU's 50th. Here at Nature's Villa - our friends have already asked if they're coming this summer. They all get such a kick out of their stories of adventure and good times.
Safe travels you two. We'll see you on the 23rd.
Love you,
Comment by Pam Meyer at Jul 17 2013 09:24 am
Ken and Meg are amazing! They are an example to all cyclist, "lovers of life" to keep on peddling, put your head down into the wind and GO for it! They are a treasure beyond words.
Safe Travels, Pam
Comment by Woody Croatt at Jul 24 2013 01:56 pm
I love all of my youthful friends.Have fun and safe travels......and may the wind continue to be your best friend!
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