Remarkable Raymond

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

He went flying by on his bright blue bicycle without even a glance my way. All of his attention was focused on the road ahead. Who was that man on the beautiful blue bicycle? There was something strange or different about the bike; I couldn't quite put my finger on it at first. It came to me minutes later after he was well out of sight--could it have been a motorized bike?

I finished my snack, brushed the grass off the seat of my shorts and proceeded with my ride. Not too much longer, I spotted the bike and then the man sitting on a rock on the opposite side of the road. I gave him a wave and almost continued on, but I was curious about the bike and about him. He was not a young man by a long shot.

His name was Raymond and he was out for his daily two-hour ride on the mountain ridge with lots of rolling hills and a few really good climbers. He occasionally rode with his two friends--young guys, about my age (that made me smile)--but he rides every day whether his friends can ride or not. How old was he? (I asked much more politely than that.) He had just celebrated his 93rd birthday in June. I was sure that he was kidding me for asking such an impertinent question. He assured me he wasn't kidding. I would have guessed he was in his mid-70s; early 80s at best. He promised that if I kept exercising and taking care of myself I'd be riding a bike at 93 too. I sure hope so.

We talked for quite a while. His bike was motor-assisted, but he pedaled most of the time because it re-charged the batteries and he could ride longer. He has been pedaling for 83 years. When he was in the war, he bought a bike in Alexandria, Egypt, and kept it throughout the war. His family was originally from Italy, so when he was there during the war, he looked up relatives and rode to visit them. His fellow soldiers nicknamed him "Bicycle Man".

After a while, we said our good-byes, and I started the last long, gradual climb. A few minutes later he nimbly passed me by. And all I could think was, "I was just passed by a 93-old cyclist!" I hope our paths cross again.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow - Phenomenal story - Thank you! I love biking emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1990 days ago
    Ok, yes that does put age into a whole new perspective! WOW!!! I had tears in my eyes as I read it. Probably partly because my grandfather just passed away in May. He would have been 93 in October. He still got around until his last 6 months when he had to be helped more & more & eventually was in a wheelchair. Anyway, I DO want to be that lady who is 93 & still going strong! So, yes, I'm NOT TOO OLD by a long shot! emoticon

    Thanks for sharing! And how wonderful that you stopped & talked to him. By the way, my grandpa was always eager to share his age with others. Not a lot of people out there in their 90's! And, he served in WWII, too. (He's technically my husband's grandpa, but I totally claim him!)
    2050 days ago
    So wonderful to hear of these stories! We have a number of folks in our bike club up in the years, one of our most popular members just turned 80.

    I read a SUPER book about cyclists and aging:

    Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100 - http://www.amazon.com/Bike-Life-How
    -Ride-100/dp/1569244510 & https://www.goodreads.com/book/show

    The authors' own anecdotes are great romps to read, but the interviews with aging & renown cyclists are fascinating!

    2050 days ago
    What an emoticon story!!

    Thank you so much for sharing!!
    2050 days ago
    Wow...what a cool day! Thanks for sharing.
    2050 days ago
  • BOBBYD31
    how cool is that but i don't think at 93 i want to be riding
    2050 days ago
    How awesome is that! We have an elderly gentleman that jogs in our neighborhood every weekday morning. He's my hero. He's slow, but he's steady, and he could sure beat me in a footrace right now.
    2051 days ago
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