Popular Northwest outdoors writer Mike McQuaide of Bellingham has figured out how to bicycle in four countries in a single day. He's moving to tiny Luxembourg and isn't sure when he'll return, but he says he'll never lose his love for Bellingham.
The McQuaide family - Mike, wife Jennifer and their son, Baker - will be settled in by the second half of February. Mike and Baker will leave on Valentine's Day.
In the past dozen years, McQuaide, 51, has written six books about outdoor activities in Washington and will finish his seventh while in Luxembourg.
Question: Mike, why Luxembourg?
Answer: Jennifer is already there in her new position as senior project manager for an international health care company. She's always wanted to live and work in Europe and it seemed great to me.
I'm ready for something new; after all, I came to Bellingham sight unseen. Baker's really excited about Luxembourg, too. He'll turn 14 a couple of days after we get there.
Q: Are you excited about the bicycling prospects in Europe?
A: Hey, Luxembourg is less than half the size of Whatcom County, and the primary city, also named Luxembourg, is about the size of Bellingham. It's so perfectly located; it's bordered by France, Belgium and Germany. One of the first things I want to do is to bicycle through four countries in a day.
Q: Can you speak any of the local languages?
A: I got a C-plus in German nearly 40 years ago in seventh grade, so I figure I'm all set! Actually, I really want to learn French.
Q: What about "Biking Whatcom County," your newest book project?
A: I've got everything I need. I'll be writing about 50 great local trips for mountain bikes and road bikes, pretty much from Mount Baker to the water. Chuck Robinson at Village Books will publish the book under his Chuckanut Editions imprint. I'm hoping it will be published by summer.
Q: Have you finished all of your research?
A: I've been researching cycling in Whatcom County for 25 years. I like to say I spent my first 25 years in New Jersey, my next 25 almost all in Bellingham, and now I'm ready for my next 25.
Q: Any other writing plans?
A: I'm going to continue writing. There are so many countries so close for travel writing. I'm open to almost anything, not even necessarily writing. And I'll be putting lots of photos and articles on my blog.
Q: Have you been to Europe before?
A: We spent three weeks in Paris in 2010. We absolutely loved it. There's so much history everywhere you look. I would go for a run every morning and it was a great way to see Paris. And we saw a great, one-day classic professional cycling race.
Q: How did you and Jennifer meet?
A: We were both active in community theater back East. We were in "Godspell" - I was playing Jesus. In those days I had long hair and a beard.
Q: What drew you to the Northwest?
A: I also played the guitar. Everyone was heading for California or Colorado, but I thought it would be cool to check out where Jimi Hendrix had performed.
People can follow Mike McQuaide's European adventures on his blog, mcqview.blogspot.com.
Michelle Nolan is a Bellingham freelance writer.