Cycling for Seniors ~ Weekly Rides, from Early Spring to Late Autumn

Cycling for Seniors, along the road – Courtesy image (c) 2018 all rights reserved

By Jack Donohue

The Cycling for Seniors group on a recent ride – Courtesy image (c) 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

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.”

From a September ride – Courtesy image (c) 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

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.

Riding in the rain, as well as on sunny days – Courtesy image (c) 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

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

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