CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rosanne Adams didn't cycle when she and her family lived in Charleston, where husband Pete and his father were longtime oral surgeons.
No, she waited until 1990 when they retired to the flat South Carolina costal resort of Hilton Head to climb back on a bike.
She still doesn't like to ride up hills, but she has done it. And if it's too steep, "I'm not to proud to walk up if I have to," she said in a recent phone interview.
Adams expects a few hills in her next bike trek -- 2,000 miles following the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Itasca Lake in northern Minnesota.
The May 3 trip is her 70th birthday present to herself.
At least that's how it's started. She has converted her bike vacation into a fundraising project to support Marine units overseas.
As with many charity events, Adams hopes to attract sponsors who support the challenge of a grandmother pedaling for five weeks at a stretch.
And she has. Singer Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish is her first sponsor.
Adams explained that Rucker and her son, Marine Lt. Col. Michael Samples Jr., were good friends at the University of South Carolina.
It was Michael who got his mother off the one-speed, pedal-brake cruiser bike. He left his mountain bike behind at her house after competing in a Marine triathlon. She tried it out and loved it.
Then about 10 years ago, she discovered Woman Tours, which offers cycling trips for women. She decided to go on one because "it's flat at the Outer Banks" in North Carolina.