BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A donation from the family of Bob and Barb Kempker has given the Fort Madison YMCA a piece of equipment that sets it apart from other fitness centers in Southeast Iowa.
Bob Kempker,, who passed away in 2017, was a big advocate for the Fort Madison YMCA and spent many mornings there working out and enjoying coffee in the lobby. Barb said giving back to the YMCA would be something that her husband would be happy with.
“This is something that Bob would have really liked,” Barb said Wednesday. “He really enjoyed being here and in the fitness center so the family thought this would be a good way to remember him.”
Fort Madison YMCA executive director Ryan Wilson said the new Zwift Training Center is up and running in the fitness center and the Fort Madison YMCA is the only fitness center in southeast Iowa to offer the training system currently.
The bike is a bluetooth-enabled fitness system that incorporates a large monitor. Riders can enter their name and select courses to ride and actually compete or compare themselves to other actual riders around the world, who are animated on the screen and are also working out at the same time on the same selected course.
“We’ve very thankful to the Kempker family for approving this piece of equipment for the Y,” Wilson said. “Bob used to come in most mornings and work out in the fitness center. But when we put the coffee station in the lobby, I think he might’ve been cutting his workouts a bit short to sit and enjoy the coffee and the membership.”
The equipment was purchased from Nick’s Cycling in Burlington. He said the YMCA was actually looking at a “smart” spin bike, but the technology wasn’t available for about six to eight months in the United States so they went with the Zwift.
Bob Kempker, the patriarch of the Kempker’s True Value Rental family franchise died on June 7, 2017. He was 84 years old.