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Octogenarian advice to a 25 year old

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Octogenarian advice to a 25 year old

Old 11-25-19, 11:43 PM
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Octogenarian advice to a 25 year old

In 1985 I was a newly married student moonlighting at the college town bicycle shop. Our customers were from all parts of the spectrum—tourists, criterium racers, BMX, and my specialty, the ATB. An encounter with an elderly gentleman one quiet weekday in the spring opened a whole new horizon to me. I’ve long since forgotten his name but I’ll never forget our conversation. He wheeled in this ancient Raleigh for a tuneup as he did every year in the spring. The store owner, who was usually very quick in this circumstance to recommend a new replacement bike from the excellent selection of Treks, Cannondale and Schwinn’s was suddenly very reserved and solicitous of the gentleman. He introduced me and said, “Mike’s going to take care of your bike. Should be ready by Thursday.”

The original paint was a grayish brown but worn down in many places, so at first glance it was just an old bike. But it had been meticulously equipped years ago. Campy drive train, brakes, large flange Record hubs, 700c rims with tubular tires, Regina Oro 5speed freewheel, Brooks saddle, well oiled and broken in, cork bar tape, and a rack on the back. I went through each step of the job, amazed at how true the wheels were, (compared to what I usually saw on a bike that age), how smoothly the hubs and bottom bracket spun. This is how a bike should be built!

As promised the bike’s owner came back on Thursday. I was the only one in the store at the time and as I brought his prize out of the shop area he said to me “Mike, this bike saved my life!” I looked at him for a moment and he went on. “Five years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After my surgery I wasn’t doing well. But as soon as I could stand it, I started taking the bike out—first a couple miles, then five, then on up. Now, every morning I have a bowl of oatmeal and then I ride 20 miles along these southern Illinois cornfields. I’m eighty years old and folks think I’m only sixty-five”...He was right.


Last edited by reconnaissance; 11-26-19 at 01:10 PM. Reason: Fatfinger
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Old 11-26-19, 03:20 PM
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Great story!!
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Old 11-26-19, 10:05 PM
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I'm about to turn 58, and I know my cycling has saved my life!
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Old 11-26-19, 11:08 PM
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I'm a 74 y.o. graybeard. There's a difficult event ride I do every year. I sometimes get a question at a rest stop: "How do you do it?" My answer: "Never quit."
Results matter
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Old 11-26-19, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I'm a 74 y.o. graybeard. There's a difficult event ride I do every year. I sometimes get a question at a rest stop: "How do you do it?" My answer: "Never quit."
Great story posted by the OP.

I'm 68 years young. My grand dad was over 100 when he passed on. He said you're only as old as you think you are. At 100+ he was still saving for his old age.

People ask me how far did you ride today. When I reply about 100 kilometers they'll ask me how I did it. I tell them one pedal stroke at a time. Then they often ask me what was the hardest part of the ride. I tell them it was taking the first pedal stroke.

I'm lucky in that within 15 minutes riding in any of three directions I'm out in the country. After about five or ten minutes out in the country I can feel the stress just dropping off.

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Old 11-27-19, 07:08 AM
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I was talking to someone the other day at the muffler shop. We got to talking about stay active as we get older. He was mid 40's and said he was doing a bit of walking. I to him that for my 60 th. birthday I ride my bike 6000 Mike's across America! His jaw just dropped!
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Old 11-27-19, 03:57 PM
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I will be 81 in less than a month. I have a LWB bent and a trike. I ride one or the other about 25 miles every other day. A couple of doctors have told me I an in the 98th percentile for my age. I can quite easily pass for a 65 year old. I have obviously been blessed with great health, but the fact remains I stay active. Simply put----------if you set you rust. Keep doing what you can do for as long as you can.
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Old 11-27-19, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I'm about to turn 58, and I know my cycling has saved my life!
Iím 58 and am certain that cycling, and quitting drinking, both saved my life.

The group I ride with has members with ages from late 30s to early 70s. Some of the older gentlemen started biking in their 60s and appear much healthier then non-active people their age.

I saw a guy on nearby paved trail last year on an adult tricycle and he had an ear to ear smile, I would guess he was well into his 80s. I was happy for him and hope that will be me someday.
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Old 11-27-19, 07:36 PM
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Advice from my 70+ y/o friend is in my sig line. Changed my life, for sure.
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Old 11-27-19, 10:22 PM
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Some of you have read my story before. I was a nerdy, pudgy, klutzy kid. I discovered bicycling, the only sport I have ever deeply loved, at age 12, and I got serious about it as a UCLA undergrad. When I was a grad student and working part-time at a bike shop, the father of one of my childhood friends stopped by. A mutual friend re-introduced us, but it took him awhile to make the connection, until he finally blurted out, "Oh -- you were that little round kid!" By that time I had recently completed a 12 hr. 18 min. double century. Bicycling has certainly improved my life, and probably will extend it.
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
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Old 12-06-19, 06:11 PM
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Bikes take some beating. A gym teacher said no matter what your injury is (some of those stretches are lethal) you can usually still manage the bike"
Seems to be true for me. The hardest part is getting on it when you feel a tad ropey . . . .you always feel better after it, even if all you do is cycle to the shops and back. . . . .
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Old 12-06-19, 08:29 PM
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I think a main point of the original post was that the older man who owned the Raleigh didn't want to part with that particular old bike because it was such an integral part of his life-changing story. I returned to cycling in 1996 after walking away from an exciting musical career, knowing that I would need another passion to replace my music. Cycling filled that gap and "saved my life" as others have mentioned, and because I associate so many good feelings with that first GT Outpost mountain bike, I still use it as my main ride. It'll be 25 years old next season, and as long as I can keep it running well enough to carry me over state lines and suspension bridges, I have no plans to replace it with any younger, prettier model out there.
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Old 12-07-19, 06:42 AM
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Great story...…...and to think.....that I've been thinking.....at age 68....of selling my 92 Paramount. Not!
"You can vote your way into Socialism but you have to shoot your way out."
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Old 12-07-19, 08:01 AM
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can't let the youngsters have all the fun.
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Old 12-08-19, 08:19 PM
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Just turned 80 last month. Anyone out there needing advice- I give it for free. Still riding a 1999 Lemond BA and a Spec Mtn Bike. Cheers!
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Old 12-09-19, 10:27 AM
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What a great, inspirational story. Thanks for sharing.

I started riding again at 48 years old when my knees told me running wasn't a long term option after playing 35 years of soccer. I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic about the same time that caused me to rethink my life. While I certainly don't do 20 miles a day like the gentleman in the original story, it has done wonders for my attitude, my bloodwork, and my general attitude towards life. At 52 years old and still working, solo riding is one of the few times I have to myself and my thoughts.

Cheers all.
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Old 12-10-19, 09:30 AM
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As others have said, cycling is a lifetime, life-altering and even life-saving activity. Due to a lifetime of injuries and just plain old wear and tear, I've given up softball, tennis, racquetball and volleyball but my bikes still keep me fit and feeling good.
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Old 12-19-19, 10:11 AM
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Great post OP and inspiring. I'm 70, never smoked or drank and will do my best to continue to ride. However, what I CAN'T do....is stand the taste of oatmeal. I want to, I know it's healthy and lots of racers eat it....but I can't even stand the smell of it. What's the secret?

PS: Sure do love oatmeal cookies though.
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