For the love of the ride

Mike is getting fit with SilverSneakers and GetSetUp to take the ride of his life from Alaska to Florida on his Harley Davidson

As Ohioan Mike got closer to 65 he realized there were lots of things he needed to sort out from what to do next and how to navigate Social Security and Medicare, to more personal aspects of how he planned to accomplish his dreams. This would involve slowly delegating more work-related responsibilities to his wife, Kim, and daughter who plan to take over the family insurance business, Myers-Ziemke Insurance Agency.

“My business is family owned and run. I worry as I get older. I don't want to die and leave it unattended. So I have started putting my ducks in a row.”

Part of the process for organizing aging well was choosing Mike’s Medicare Advantage plan, which is a complicated process to navigate, he and his wife quickly learned. It’s so complex that his wife has even offered support and information sessions to the local community now that they have been through the process.

“The journey from 64 to 65 is the most dramatic aspect of aging. You are inundated with phone calls and have so many plans to decide from.”

Mike though, knew that he wanted to get his health under control. He chose a plan that offered him not only the benefits of SilverSneakers fitness membership but also GetSetUp at no additional cost.

“I chose to go with Devoted Health and an advantage plan that offered tons of stuff that I really enjoy like GetSetUp and SilverSneakers.”

Now he’s working to improve his overall health to keep riding his Harley Davidson and accomplishing some of his ride goals.

“I love to ride. I haven’t taken as many long distances trips, because I struggled to find time to do it.”

Mike and his buddy Jeff have done a couple of Iron Butt challenges. These saddle-sore rides require accomplishing feats like 1,000 miles in 24 hours. The duo accomplished this with a ride through Detroit, Niagra Falls, and back to Norwalk, Ohio in a single day. On another long weekend, they did 2,500 miles in 3 days through all the Great Lakes, staying out on the road for three nights and logging long riding days.

The duo has set their sites on an aggressive ride of a lifetime, the ultimate coast to coast challenge from Deadhorse, Alaska to Keywest, Florida (both the northern and southernmost points, accessible via roads, in the US). While Mike would like to do the trip leisurely, they may have to do it in two weeks to accommodate Jeff’s work schedule. If they do it in two weeks that’s about 300-400 miles of riding a day with each 100 miles taking about two hours.

Building health and wellness towards a dream

“Jeff is a bit younger than me. I told him we got to put this together because I'm not getting any younger.”

If all goes well, the duo is looking to accomplish this in 2023, so Mike is starting his training now.

“I’m done working so many hours. I want to start playing, but I also realized I wasn’t living the healthiest lifestyle - too many pizzas, bourbon, and vodka. I needed to get my health under control.’

To accomplish this goal, Mike’s set himself up with a life coach and personal trainer. The personal trainer is working with him to design a specific workout tailored to his body type and to ensure his former lower back issues are not only addressed but strengthened.

“I’m adamant about slowing down my work responsibilities now and building strength and balance for this trip. That’s the beginning of the journey.”

His personal trainer gave him the ok to do more exercises after his back injury, so now he’s integrating SilverSneakers fitness classes into his schedule.

He’s also learning great skills and insights on GetSetUp to help him prepare for his upcoming challenge.

“I recently took a travel app class about Hopper with Russ. I’d never heard of that app before and it seems useful. Looking through the class schedule, there are many more I’m interested in. I love to cook and I'm not good at it but some of the different recipes look doable.”

While Mike is planning to stay national for his travels, learning how to book cheaper flights helped him and his wife book their trip to Vegas later this year. He's looking forward to other national travel tips as well. Plus he’s interested in exploring more cooking to stay healthier in some of his new free time.

“The number one most appealing thing about GetSetUp classes is that you're talking to normal people, like me. You're not talking to someone about a job, but you talk with people who really love what they are doing.”

So while Mike is exploring nutrition and healthier meals, he’s also working on getting more fit to accomplish the ultimate coast-to-coast ride on his newly bought 1989 Harley Electric Glide, which he’s excited to customize for the journey in July 2023.

“If you take care of yourself, you can stay more active. I want to stay as young as I can for as long as I can.”

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