There’s Hope For Us All

For the last few days, I’ve been kinda down about cycling. Some minor equipment malfunctions, some nagging aches, and less time in the saddle because of the requirements of the job have combined to push cycling out of the foreground of my consciousness. But then I come across an article that convinces me to get out there and ride — and keep riding.

You’ve heard of Senior Olympics. It turns out those games have cycling events. It never occurred to me that that might be a possibility. All you have to do for inspiration is scan the results columns or find some pictures.

Link Lindquist

For example, I discovered Link Lindquist when I came across the results for the USA Cycling Road National Championships held early this month in Bend, Oregon. Link took third in the Individual Time Trial, over an 18-kilometer course. But he didn’t stop there. He was also the oldest competitor in the criterium portion of the championships, where he also placed third. Link is 84.

That’s pretty impressive. But he still has some catching up to do. Dave Ward of Massachusetts was still competing — and winning his age class — at the age of 91. Here he is (right) at that age in the 2007 Senior Olympics.

What? You’re not up for racing now, you say, and you’re certainly not going to be up for it when you’re in your 90s. I can relate. That’s pretty much my attitude right now. I like to go for longish relaxed rides, where I’m not worried about putting the miles behind me. If I can explore new areas while doing so, so much the better.

Well, there are a number of bicycle touring companies that offer tours for seniors. In the case of bikers, that means anyone over 50 years old. The tours are well supported, and in many cases offer posh accommodations. But plenty of people opt to head out on their own.

Bike clubs are certainly an option. I’m in a club with several 60-plus riders, and we all generally do pretty well. We’re not going to keep with with the A group — uh, come to think of it, several of those 60-plus riders are in the A group!

Tom Goodwin

In fact, you might find your club’s ride leader is in the senior-senior category. The Sacramento (Calif.) Wheelmen’s Tuesday and Thursday morning rides are led by Tom Goodwin. He’s 83. According to his fellow riders, he can still kick butt on younger riders in the hills.

I might not kick butt when I’m 83. I might not even go on group rides anymore. But you can bet I’ll still be riding a bike when I’m that age.

Heck, I think I just came out of my funk. I’ve gotta get out there this weekend and attack some hills. And ride far. And just ride.

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6 thoughts on “There’s Hope For Us All

  1. I hope so, I was in the middle of a 80 Mile Solo ride a couple of months ago and had a pickup come so close to me that his rear view mirror clipped my bars. This was not the first time in the last 15 years that this has happened but what comes next makes all the difference.
    I started thinking, if he had hit me how bad would I have been hurt. At 65 how long would it talk for me to recover? How much energy would I need? Did I have it?
    35 miles from home and no one had the slightest idea on were I was, including me (I had a good Idea but, could I direct help to me?) I never ride with out my phone but would I be able to call?
    I have not come up with any good answers to any of these questions. I do not what to be confined to some bike trail where I ride up and down the same road for 8 hours on Saturday.
    I have not been on the bike since, I miss it but I am scared.
    I don’t like that I am afraid.

    • Pearl, You were one of the earliest commenters on Bike Noob, and a prolific one, as I recall.I’m sorry to hear of your concern. My 61-year-old riding pal says what you think is fear is really the wisdom that comes with age. So you’re just being realistic to have those feelings.

    • Sorry to hear about your close call. This is one of the reasons I’ve been riding group rides only when I want to go out onto the country roads or areas I’m not too familiar with. Even just a riding partner helps this situation. On a related note to this article, the group that I’ve been riding with is lead by the older riders. I continue to be impressed by their abilities and have learned a lot from them.

  2. In other cycling news, did you see that several NHL veterans recently completed a 550 mile ride from Toronto to NYC in 48 hours? Their ride was in support of a couple of charities.

  3. I should draw your attention to BC Randonneur Dave Gillanders who last year, at 79, completed his first 1200km brevet (VanIsle 1200).

    He has ridden many brevet series (200, 300, 400, 600k) over the last few years. Unfortunately, he DNFd at Paris-Brest-Paris this year, but Dave is one tough senior cyclist.

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