I didn't get off the couch until I was in my fifties. That's when I re-discovered bikes. And for the next ten years, you could expect to see me at sun-up riding ten miles around Town Lake in downtown Austin.
Riding a bicycle adds new dimensions for vacations. The view is much better, unobstructed by windows and roofs. And the smells. I'll never forget riding through a grove of olive trees in California. Or the glacier between Banff and Jasper. Or the Longhorns along Onion Creek outside of Dripping Springs.
One year, I logged over 2,000 miles. And I began to believe my own press: Geezer Hunk.
In Austin, there weren't many guys my age riding. Not so in California. Several times I have been privileged to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. There were so many older guys riding bikes over the bridge that I thought I was drifting into a Gray Panthers protest ride.
Upon arrival in Minnesota, one of my big surprises was the scope of the bicycle community . We like to think of Austin as bicycle friendly but Austin's efforts don't scratch when it comes to Minneapolis.
The Grand Rounds is a fifty-mile paved loop inside the city for bicycles and skaters only. You can actually ride from Point A to Point B without getting on city streets. This city planned ahead and the bike community responds by commuting to work. Studies show more than 4,700 adults sixteen-and-over bike to work up here. At 2.4 percent, that's above the 0.4 percent national average. Additionally, more than 10,000 ride their bikes for fun, for exercise, for errands. No. I don't know what they do in winters.
Although I still think of myself as a Geezer Hunk (until I pass a mirror), I can no longer make the 70-mile-per-day rides. In the last five years, I've had five operations and the recovery takes time. It's amazing how quickly we get out of shape.
But the Mystery Woman and I still ride bikes. Just not as far. We bought some of those new-fangled comfort bicycles which are much easier on back and bottom. I recommend 'em.
These days, we hear "on your left" more often than we say it. But we smile in both directions.