A Fort Oglethorpe restaurant owner is reliving some old adventures with his cousin while improving his health and promoting another local business.
Jack Goodlet, 68, had ballooned to nearly 260 pounds at the beginning of 2017. Years of not being physically active were beginning to take their toll. The owner of Park Place Restaurant was aging, and he wanted to avoid major medical problems. He was ready to take control of his health and ensure that he lived a long, happy life. For that, he turned to his cousin, Chattanooga State professor Cliff Goodlet — and cycling.
"I'm just trying to encourage people in my previous condition to lose weight and get active again," Jack Goodlet said.
The cousins live on their family farm in Rock Spring, Ga., and began cycling in their younger years. They took a long cycling trip in the mid-1980s, traveling about 400 miles from their Rock Spring home to Hilton Head, S.C. The ride took nearly six days and was the first time Jack Goodlet had ridden more than 20 miles. He would take one more extended cycling trip, this time along the Outer Banks, but that would be it for over 30 years.
Over the coming decades, he continued to spend time working on his businesses but stopped focusing on his health while Cliff Goodlet continued to ride. Last year, Jack Goodlet knew he needed to take his health more seriously. To do that, he started riding again and reliving some of his old adventures.
"I've lost weight. I've cut my blood pressure and maybe will be able to cut it [medication] out completely," Jack Goodlet, who has lost about 45 pounds, said. "The bicycling gave me the motivation to lose weight."
Their first extended trip came last year and took the cousins down the entire state of Florida. They rode over 500 miles from the state line across the 7-mile bridge to Key West, Fla. After that was another extended trip in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area. They have no plans on stopping.
The duo has rides scheduled through the Outer Banks, across the Silver Comet Trail near Atlanta and at Virginia's Creeper National Recreation Trail.
"At our age, we're just planning as many as we can," Jack Goodlet said. "'Cuz you never know what's going to happen."
Jack Goodlet has been riding an electric bike, a bicycle with an electric motor that can be activated to assist riders. He said he wouldn't be able to take the trips if it weren't for that assist, and in turn, that decision led to a key partnership with the local bike shop, Battlefield Outdoors.
During the trips, which Cliff Gloodlet writes about on his blog, the duo has been touting the bikes and the local bike shop. That, in part, helped lead to a partnership. The shop is now a certified Petego retailer and is able to sell the electric bikes there.
"Jack, oh my goodness, he's been incredibly helpful," said Pat Bridges, who works at Battlefield Outdoors. "We wouldn't have Petego if it wasn't for him."