By Jack Donohue
I’d been frequenting the Council on Aging (COA) for a while, working on my pool game. I’d usually go for a bike ride, followed by a session at the COA. I tried to blend in but the telltale signs of a biker were there, the funny shoes, the garish clothing, etc, so it was pretty clear I was what is referred to as a “serious cyclist.”
One day as I came in, Alison Cservenschi, the COA director, came up to me and asked whether I’d like to lead bike rides for the COA. I said sure, since I ride almost every day by myself and it would be nice to have company. So, I came up with a name “Cycling for Seniors” and a few routes starting at the COA.
I didn’t have any preconceived idea of length, but the three routes I came up with all ended up being 16 miles and visited different neighboring towns, Concord, Lexington, and Carlisle.
I had no idea going in who I was going to attract, so my blurb said as a minimum you must have a multi-speed bike in good condition and be able to maintain an average of 10 mph. In fact, the group I ended up with were all experienced cyclists and the prereqs presented no challenge for them.
I had inherited a group from some friends who led mostly off-road type rides, so a few of them helped seed this nascent group. Not that many Bedfordites were in the group at first, but the word spread and gradually I acquired quite a few from Bedford as well as neighboring towns. The ranks have grown to 130 riders who express interest, though not all of that group have ever done a ride with us. I’ve now got a core group that shows up for pretty much every ride, including some days when the weather is dubious.
For a typical ride, I’ll appoint a sweep, who rides at the back. I look for the sweep at every turn to make sure we have everyone. There is always a break mid-ride, usually with bathroom or portajohn. After a rest and the obligatory photo op, it’s back to the COA for coffee and snacks.
We started in July 2015, and over the years we developed into a group of friendly, active people who enjoy being outdoors. For more information, click https://coarides.blogspot.com/p/cycling-for-seniors-sponsored-by.html