AURORA — It was in honor of a mom and grandmother that Sue and Jim DeMay pumped their pedals for five days in early August.
The mother and son duo road 326 miles from Cleveland to Cincinnati, raising $3,800 in pledges from about 75 people to benefit the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, said Sue DeMay.
The trip was dedicated to DeMay’s mother, Eileen Moon.
"She lived with us for 15 years here in Aurora and died three years ago from Alzheimers," said Sue. "She was 88 when she died."
DeMay and her husband Mike, who is retired after teaching in the Aurora schools for 35 years, have lived in Aurora for 26 years. Jim, a 2000 Aurora High School graduate, is an attorney in North Carolina.
DeMay and her son have been going on bike trips for the last decade or so, including in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wyoming, but never before anything quite this ambitious.
"My son and I usually do a bicycle trip every year, but I think the farthest we’ve gone before this was maybe 65, 75 miles, just on long day trips," said DeMay.
They were already planning a trip for this summer, when they decided to do some extra good with it.
"My son’s just adventuresome and we’re both into fitness," said DeMay. "We were actually going to do this ride anyway and I said as long as we’re riding, we should do this for a cause, try and raise some money, and then we decided we’ll do it for Alzheimer’s. That’s what my mom and his grandma suffered from."
They started out from Edgewater Park in Cleveland on Aug. 5, riding along the Ohio to Erie Canal Towpath Trail, stopping in Massillon on that first day. This was more or less a straight line, but after that there was some zig zagging that added some miles to the trip, said DeMay.
"It connected to different trail systems throughout the state, but then you get to different areas where you have to ride on the road, mostly country roads, down in through like Millersburg," she said. "In Amish country, we were on a lot of the side roads and through Columbus, we had to ride on some roads, but it was mostly trails."
For the most part, the weather cooperated, but there was that one when it was briefly nasty.
"We encountered a bad wind, rain storm," said DeMay. "I think that was our third day. It was just 15 minutes of lightning, thunder, wind and rain on the trail. We rode throught that, there was really no where to go, but otherwise, it was pretty hot and sunny."
They actually rode a little past Cincinnati, riding across the Ohio River to Covington, Ky., where they completed a kind of symbolic ceremony that they had begun in Edgewater Park.
"We put our feet in Lake Erie when we started and then we put our feet in the Ohio River when we finished," said DeMay.
DeMay said she and Jim are pleased with their accomplishment.
"We’re proud of ourselves for doing that, raising some money for a good cause, and we had a lot of fun along the way and saw a lot of real Ohio that we didn’t know was there," she said.
Go to https://alzfdn.org for more information about the Alzheimers Foundation of America.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, email@example.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.