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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 07-08-09, 04:58 PM   #1
michaelincol
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Now Whats of life and the simple joys of biking

I remember being 16 and living on the street in Philly after a crazy childhood of abuse and etc. with my dreams of college, heck high school, dashed and nothing looking good. A horrible "Now What?" moment in my life. But with all that crap, all that negative, I remember I had my bike - an old Schwinn Varsity - that I rode everywhere with my simple tool kit and bag and ability to carry what I needed and fix what broke - 15 miles each way to my job washing pots in a kitchen, long weekend rides, etc. And most of all I remember the incredible joy I felt riding, and the simple "aha moments" of knowing nothing else might be working or making sense but man, I could ride my bike.

That was a long time ago and alot has passed. Army and overseas tours and budding high tech career, several failed marriages, and biking somewhere left by the wayside in all of that. Running replaced biking and kept me in shape but somehow never gave me those "aha moments".... Moved out to Colorado 10 years ago with a new high tech job and career zoomed as I traveled all over world speaking and training and doing the high tech sales world deal. My dreams of biking when I moved to CO put on hold as I was never home to ride that bike I was always gonna buy, and slowly as my career zoomed my physical shape blaahed from too many hotels and planes and 60 hour work weeks, and I barely maintained half ass shape.

About 3 years ago my company (StorageTek) got bought by Sun and rumors of my and many of my friend's jobs' demise loomed. I got me a few bikes while the money was good, paid off our house and all our debt, and hunkered down for what was to come. Still didn't ride as I traveled even more trying to keep a job that was slipping away with no regard for what I did or didn't do to deserve it. Perfect storm for me came as I got laid off 18 months ago right before economy tanked and suddenly all my connections I thought I could get a new job with were also unemployed. Like trying to date all over again at 53 with alot of awkward first dates that never got to third base let alone home.... Almost got a few jobs but over and over the doors were crashing as companies started layoffs, hiring freezes, etc. Tons of failed promises, unreturned calls, dashed hopes, friendships that really weren't, etc.

Not to whine, I am blessed and have it alot better than most - I grew up poor and always plan for the worst case. My wife of 7 years (a school teacher) and I lived on her salary for years, own everything, live modestly and while not thriving are ok financially, thank you God. But emotionally it has been tough. I worked for 35+ years the old fashioned way to get a good career and position in high tech and was good at what I did - and I came a long way from a street kid drop out at 16. And then it is gone, and reality sets in that it ain't coming back at 54... Recurring dreams of rejection, shame of being unemployed for the first time after a life time of hard work, etc. Another horrible "Now What?" moment in my life.

But with all that crap, all that negative, I remember once again just like long ago I have my bikes - quite the upgrades from that old Schwinn Varsity - and I am riding once again everywhere with my simple tool kit and bag and ability to carry what I need and fix what breaks - 20-30 miles road rides 3 or 4 times a week, errands, rides with my four year old in tow on the local trail with a stop at DQ, long weekend rides, plans for maybe even a century and maybe finding some new friends who like me for who I am and not what I do and the money I make. And most of all I re-remember the incredible joy I feel riding, and the simple "aha moments" of knowing nothing else might be working or making sense but man, I can ride my bike.

thanks for this forum and making me feel like I belong somewhere and giving me a bit of a sense of who I am yet again. I hope to participate here (lurking until now), maybe meet some locals and get info on upcoming rides and etc, and get out of this terrible "Now What?" cloud with no more career at 54.

Michael

Frederick, Colorado
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Old 07-08-09, 05:44 PM   #2
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Even though there are some major digressions, I can relate pretty closely to your saga. My bike was an unremembered frame with Campy components that I didn't appreciate in the 60's. I bought it for $25 from somebody's mother and gave it away when I went into Tricky Dickie's Royal Air Corps. It took me everywhere and bought me what I didn't have the money for.

Now I'm getting ready to retire after 33 years in a career and back to school to do something I hope to love a lot more than bureaucratic nonsense that has been my forte. My bride and I have bought decent Specialized hardtail dirt bikes and a Ruby Pro for her and a Rubaix S-Works for me. We are loving getting back into shape, but even more the joy of riding is re-invigorating our lives.

God has richly blessed us, especially with each other (34 years so far) and friends.

Keep looking up and keep the shiny side up!
Fran
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Old 07-08-09, 06:13 PM   #3
RoMad
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Welcome Michaelincol, It sounds like you have had a mostly good and definately interesting life and carreer. I think you will like it here on the forum. We have a lot of nice people from all over the country and beyond who share the joys of cycling and lifes experiences (now that we are wise enough to appreciate them). Now that you have made your first post we will be expecting to see some pics of those bikes.
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Old 07-08-09, 07:20 PM   #4
cyclinfool
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Welcome. Your story is not unfamiliar. You are lucky in that your youth experiences prepared you for adversity, many of those who have suffered the ups and downs of High Tech don't have that foundation. You are also learning the terrible lesson of engineering that after age 50 most of us are just disposable units in the machine. Get on the bike and forget about all that stuff and enjoy what you have.
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Old 07-08-09, 07:40 PM   #5
MyLilPony
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I enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for posting!
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Old 07-09-09, 06:20 AM   #6
prxmid
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Thes are hard times. Sound like your priorities are straight. You never know where your break will come from, so you keep pushing every angle.

"We can't change the wind but we can adjust the sails"
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Old 07-09-09, 05:12 PM   #7
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The Forums seem good for all riders but there seems a warm spot for old bikers by the fire; Michaelincol best to ya in these tough times/Kenneth
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Old 07-09-09, 08:22 PM   #8
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I can identify with your story.

If you think that you can hack the kids look into school bus driving. It's an honest job that needs to be done, you'll be off when your wife is off, and the job can't be outsourced offshore. They love people like us because we come to work.
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Old 07-09-09, 09:29 PM   #9
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An excellent and inspiring read! Power to you!
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