Last Friday was Bike To Work Day and eventually I did bike to work but before I went to the Bicycle Center, I spent about half the day at Timber Ridge at Talus. Timber Ridge is a picturesque senior living facility located on the eastern slope of Cougar Mountain here in Issaquah and they were having health and wellness fair for the staff and residents. I enjoy talking about biking, walking and other healthy ways of getting around so when the folks at Timber Ridge asked me to help out with their event, of course I said yes.
I loaded a hundred bike maps and some Bicycle Alliance brochures onto Christine's bike and rode up the mountain to Talus. I took Christine's bike on this mission because it has the nicest basket for map hauling and it is the most "normal" looking bike in my household. I wanted to talk about bikes in general and not spend all my time explaining how my little Dahon folds up or how the massive wheels on my 29er let me roll more easily over ruts and logs.
It was an interesting event. Talus feels like a mountain resort. Since it is a senior facility, many of the residents have some kind of health or mobility issues but the inspirational thing was seeing how interested these folks were in maintaining what mobility they have. And some of the residents seemed like they should be profiled in "Spry Codger" magazine. (And if that magazine doesn't exist, someone should publish it. Make the print large. You could build a subscriber base of folks who still read print, who have money and needs that advertisers want to reach. And if you want a cycling columnist, drop me a note. But I digress...)
I got a lot of wistful looks and comments from folks who can no longer ride a bicycle. Maybe their balance is gone, maybe their arthritis is too bad. Some need a cane or a walker or a wheelchair to get around at all. But these people, whose bodies no longer obey their every desire and whose memories might be similarly limited would tell me of the joy they'd felt while riding a bicycle. A silver-haired grandmother told me of her bike rides to school as she took a map for her granddaughter. A bald man with a cane told me of his bike ride across the country back in the 1970s. They all thanked me for being there.
I gave away a lot of maps by pointing out that the bike map is also a good walking map, as it shows where the hills are and shows the trails and quieter streets. And I gave away maps and talked about riding with the staff members of Talus and other people at the fair.
I don't know how many year's I'll be able to ride a bicycle. I think I have years more on the roads and trails but none of us know what the future holds. But these older folks inspired me and made this fifty-two year old feel like a kid. I'm glad I can ride.
If you can ride, get out there. It's a beautiful world.
Keep 'em rolling,
Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah, WA USA