Ex-Gov. Markell to bicycle across America for charity

 Then-Gov. Jack Markell (in blue) bikes along Rt. 9 near Port Penn in November with WHYY's Mark Eichmann.(File/WHYY)

Then-Gov. Jack Markell (in blue) bikes along Rt. 9 near Port Penn in November with WHYY's Mark Eichmann.(File/WHYY)

Former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who has remained largely out of the public eye since leaving office three months ago, will soon ride his bicycle across America to promote healthy living.

Markell, 56, is an avid cyclist who made concerted efforts to make Delaware a more bike-friendly state during his eight years in office.

As governor, Markell helped allocate millions of dollars in state money to bike trails and has been a regular rider of the annual Bike to the Bay fundraising event for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. As state treasurer he also led what he dubbed a Tour de Delaware ride, which he continued during his two gubernatorial terms. Last year he pedaled with a group advocating stricter gun controls in a ride from Connecticut to Washington, D.C.

His new venture involves partnerships with Christiana Care medical system and Motivate the First State, an organization that touts healthy lifestyles while raising money for local nonprofit groups.

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Markell has no official role with Motivate the First State Group, but by riding across the United States he is “simply offering his help” to get more people “engaging in healthy behavior” to assist charities, spokeswoman Lauren Golt said Thursday.

Markell’s 3,650-mile ride will begin June 18 in Astoria, Oregon. He expects to conclude the journey in early August when he arrives at the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, Golt said.

On April 26, Golt said Markell will reveal details about the cross-country trek and another venture, his Training with Jack Challenge.

Markell’s passion for cycling and his endeavors to make his state a better place for riders led the group Bike Delaware to call him “America’s most bicycle-friendly governor” and award him its highest honor — the Golden Bicycle Helmet.

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