Did You Know?
That was Barbara's response to my question, Besides tired, how do you feel? Barbara, who is in her 70s, and I were returning to Turtle Head parking lot today in the Palos Forest Preserve after a seven-mile tour of the Tinley Creek Trail and Orland's new-ish spur down the Com-Ed easement south of 135th Street. Having ridden her bike everywhere as a kid, Barbara was returning to cycling after decades.
I was leading a ride for Trinity Christian College's Senior Academy of Learning at Trinity (SALT) program, which offers a catalog of activities for seniors like Barbara. Five seniors had signed up for three cycling classes – one instructional, two riding – taught/led by me and fellow League of American Bicyclist (LAB) instructor Larry Mysz. Save for breaking the elbow of Trinity's librarian (who's also a friend of mine – it wasn't my fault!), the classes were just gobs of fun. At the first class, I gave students $5 coupons for new helmets from Richard's Cycles (119th Street and Harlem Avenue). Barbara and her friend Jean, also in the class, were both sporting sleek new Giro lids today, well-fitted by the Richard's staff.
Barbara drove to Palos from near Crown Point, Ind. to take the classes with Jean. She knew of no other opportunities for her to get back into biking. That's a clarion call: Her generation is the advance force of what will be divisions of seniors moving into or maintaining physically active lives over the next 20 years. The communities where trails, programs like Trinity's SALT, and experts like Active Trans & LAB intersect are where senior cycling will flourish. Looking at our region and that towering demographic wave, I can tell you we do not have enough of them.
But ask me how I feel about today.
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