Michael Fahey started cycling years ago as a way to get himself back in shape. Today, he uses it to make people aware of breast cancer; the disease that killed his wife nearly 20 years ago.
He also has parlayed that into side jobs as an author, speaker and instructor, both here and in his previous home near Rochester, N.Y.
Fahey, who moved to North Fort Myers over the summer, has ridden his bike in some 30 countries in the name of breast cancer research. His conquests include the United States, England, Africa and China.
Photo by Chris Strine
North Fort Myers resident Michael Fahey has used cycling to help in the fight against cancer.
"I started raising money for cancer research after my wife died. For all my trips I've been trying to raise money for the American Cancer Society," Fahey said. "When I traveled across the United States, I figured why not the rest of the world?"
Fahey started cycling after his wife, a nurse practitioner, suggested he have a physical, which was where a doctor told him he was overweight, needed to exercise and lose weight.
Fahey started walking, got up to 10 miles a day, then switched to cycling because walking became too time consuming. He lost 50 pounds, but was about to lose something far more important.
Fahey lost his wife to breast cancer in 1995. By this time he had put almost 2,000 miles on his bike and was ready to put some more on by riding his bike across America to make people aware of the disease.
Fahey would take U.S. 20 from Newport, Ore. to Boston, 3,365 miles and didn't stop there.
Fahey did Ireland and England in 1999, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany to the Polish border three years later, Germany and Poland to the Russian border in 2004, Russia and the Ukraine the following summer, China the next.
"I've gone more than 30,000 miles on my trips. I've gone down the coast of Africa, which was 7,000, and my other individual trips were in the 1,000 to 1,800 mile range," Fahey said. "I've cycled across South America from San Paolo, Brazil to Santiago, Chile, and several trips through the United States."
He started instructing cyclists shortly after his first trip across America after he became frustrated over everyone, drivers and cyclists, not knowing the laws.
Once he had travelled the world, Fahey started to make public appearances speaking about his journeys, mostly to seniors, in libraries, and showed some of the photos from his trips.
He even spoke in North Fort Myers to seniors in March before moving here.
As for the book he published in May 2013, "Biking to Save My Soul: America, Ireland & England," Fahey discusses his wife's death, his tour across the states with his daughter and those to England. He said he has two others he wants to publish.
Fahey was supposed to ride through Canada, but sold his house near Rochester and moved to Southwest Florida instead, which he enjoys because it's so bike friendly.
"I just want to bicycle more. In Rochester you can do it three months a year if you're lucky," Fahey said. "Every day I ride 10 miles. My whole purpose is to bicycle all the time. I bike to the store, to church, everywhere."
After rainy season, Fahey said he would like to ride either to Tallahassee or the Keys. The Canada trip will wait until next summer.
"Biking to Save My Soul: America, Ireland & England," can be purchased on Amazon.