‘No rocking chair retirement:’ John and Joan Laabs complete 5,000 miles on tandem recumbent bike
For the Tomahawk Leader
TOMAHAWK – After 54 years of marriage and more than 10 years of retirement, John and Joan Laabs are still going strong. They just completed 5000 miles this year as they have done for most of the past 10 years. John, age 74 and Joan, age 73, are seldom too far apart, especially when they rack up miles on their bright red tandem recumbent bike.
John is known as “The Captain” and Joan as “The Stoker,” which requires that they work as a goal-oriented team. Whether they’re going along life’s journey or riding their tandem up a steep hill, John and Joan learned a long time ago to compromise and cooperate. A typical week is 200 miles of biking spread over five or six days from early spring until late fall.
The couple resides in the Town of Nokomis, but are seen by many throughout the Tomahawk area and throughout Wisconsin. They originally hail from the Abbotsford and Colby and also lived near Waupaca for 30 years before moving to Tomahawk area in 2019. The couple was instrumental in establishing the Heartland Bike & Ski Club, and they served for 12 years as Co-Presidents of the Wisconsin Tandem Bike Club, better known as “COWs” or Couples on Wheels. The Laabs couple is also known for doing volunteer work for numerous organizations.
For them, being active is a way to stay healthy, happy and young!