We hear a lot these days about the seemingly insurmountable health problems of retired folks. We might be inclined to think heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all we youngsters have to look forward to in our “golden years.” Oh, and don’t forget about arthritis! I guess we should all just get out the old rocking chairs and park ourselves on the porch for the duration.
Well, now… If this is all you think you have to look forward to in your golden years, let me introduce you to my hiking, biking friend John.
|John pauses on the Virgin River bike trail in St. George|
As the organizer of a small bicycling group, though, he finds that he is more comfortable these days going the distance on two wheels rather than two feet. Each week he puts together a ride of about 20 miles around the trails of St. George.
|Ready to ride with friends! John is on the left|
John retired in 1985 and moved to southern Utah in 1989. He is 91 years young. Recently I asked my dear friend about his life on two wheels.
N) How old were you when you got your first bicycle and what kind was it? I mean the VERY FIRST ONE!
J) I do not remember when I got my first bicycle or what kind it was. I was probably seven or eight years old. I still had a tricycle when I was six, and rode with a friend about a year older a mile to an old bridge for autos with wooden planks to carry the traffic across the Cedar River (Iowa) that was approximately 100 yards wide.
When I was 12 I carried newspapers by bicycle in our neighborhood. When I was 13 (I believe) I arranged with a friend to ride our bikes 45 miles to a state park to camp with a friend who had moved away from our neighborhood to a different town.
N) When and where did you go on your bicycling tours in Europe and who did you go with?
J) In 1939 when I was graduating from high school I went to Europe with my family and left them for five nights, I believe, to bicycle through the Loire River valley in France on the first derailleur type bicycle I ever saw which I bought in St. Nazarre, France, where our ship from the US landed.
Fifty–five years later I did the same part of France with a group organized by International Bicycle Tours, Inc., which was headed by a Dutchman who lived in Connecticut. I took nine more trips with International Bicycle Tours in Western Europe: England, Ireland, Holland, Denmark, Po River area of Italy and Austria, the Danube River in France, Germany and Austria, and the Bordeaux and Provence areas of France. Most were in the 1990's and the last was in 2002, I believe.
N) Why did you start the Sun River Bicycling Group?
J) I wanted to ride with others. In early 2007 I had seen a poster on the bulletin board in the community center proposing a bike group. As I recall there was no name of the author or date for a meeting. I signed the sheet and heard nothing for at least two weeks so I put up a notice of a meeting and, as I expected though was not seeking, I was selected as the head of the group.
|Enjoying a ride on St. George city trails|
I sincerely hope that when I’m 91 I will still be hiking and biking and living life to the fullest.
Cheers to you, John!
|John takes the lead up a long hill on River Road|