Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wistfulness at Timber Ridge

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

P.S. Thanks to those of you who have already contributed to Team Turtle and our efforts to help fight Arthritis. As of this writing, thanks to your generosity, we've raised $860. Christine, Michael and I sure appreciate your support.


Peter said...

Wouldn't an adult tricycle work for some of these folk?

Kent Peterson said...


Yes, you make a good point. Trikes, e-bikes & e-trikes have quite a good market with the senior set. I really should do a profile of my friend Lee Brown one of these days. He's been making power-assist trikes for a while now.

Peter said...

Please do! As an almost member of the "senior set" already using an electric assist on my diamond frame I'm certainly interested.

Anonymous said...


My dad just celebrated his 90th birthday, and lives in an assisted living senior complex in Minneapolis. He's got various hip, knee and back problems that make walking without a walker pretty difficult for him. The interesting thing is that he gets around quite well thank you on a Sun recumbant trike at 6 MPH or so. Especially since we put lower gearing on it for the hills. These trikes are just MADE for people who have balance and other mobility issues. For people who don't drive these trikes can become their ability to get around.

I met a guy out on the road once who had had a stroke, didn't drive any more, and he also loved his Sun recumbant trike. That guy was in his 60's, and from the looks of him you'd think he should be able to ride a normal 2 wheeled bike. He too was quite happy with his trike, with no plans for anything different. This things get around MUCH better than the typical 3 wheel shopping bike.



Dan said...

Nicely done Kent - It's never too late to start ridin!!

Captain Hairdo said...

I don't know about Spry Codger, but there is a magazine called "Geezer Jock."

Mike M said...

My dad's in his mid-70's, has had hip and shoulder replacement surgery, and still gets out on his bike. Recently, I mentioned in a phone call that I'd put a front porteur rack on my bike. I started explaining what that is. He laughed, and started talking about the bikes with front racks he'd used delivering papers as a boy in Ohio. Surprising how much detail he remembered about his and his brother's bikes. Lately, he's talking about going with a friend to look at recumbents at a shop in a nearby town.