LAKEWOOD — A 4,200-mile bicycle journey around each of the Great Lakes came to an end on May 31.
Mark Looney, a former Troy resident who now resides in Lakewood, started his first exploratory trip around Lake Erie in 2015, then adding a new Lake in each of the four years that followed.
A childhood curiosity of living on the shores of Lake Ontario to “see what was on the other side,” grew into a series of authentic adventures into adulthood, said Looney, who has lived on both Lakes Ontario and Erie.
“I continued to questioned that which I could not see and feel without the steady cadence and sensory inputs that cycling provides,” said Looney, a Trans-American cyclist who completed a California to Connecticut journey in 1983.”Cycling has brought many enjoyable miles through the lens of this student-athlete. I enjoy the outdoor nature of this sport while at the same time savoring the contemplative time in the saddle to appreciate the environment and beauty of our Great Lakes.
“Taking pen to paper on each trip I sought to document my personal discoveries of local history, food, cultures and encounters with other people living within view of the lake. In many ways we have lived in and out of harmony with this vast and limited resource, and it has been a privilege to have the opportunity to look objectively at our impact as humans on this diverse ecology.”
In 2014, Looney released his first book “A Path Through Ohio” chronicling a five-day journey across the state of Ohio. In a similar pattern he is documenting his travels around each of the Great Lakes and plans to release his next book in the near future.
Looney said pinning down a favorite area was difficult because each has its own personality that is characterized by the people, wildlife and the history that prospers in the region.
“I am particularly fond of the natural splendor of Lake Superior. A rugged terrain where practical peoples and descendants of ancient civilizations have dated back some ten thousand years, still prosper and happily embrace visitors to their culture,” said Looney, a board member for the Ohio to Erie Trail fund (OTET) and actively rides with Spin Bicycle Club in Lakewood.
“I have a personal connection with each that spans a many friendships and interests, that I would be remiss not to include them on my short list.”