“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
— Henry David Thoreau, American author and poet, 1817-1862
Despite the occasional whine about getting old, my feelings about age can be summed up by a couple of cliches: It’s only a number, and you’re only as old as you feel.
At age 66, going into my second full year of retirement, I feel pretty good.
That apparently is a prevalent feeling among those of us who plan to embark Sept. 18 on a self-contained bicycle ride across the United States: 3,160 miles from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla. We’ll be camping most of the way and carrying all our gear on our bikes.
I had worried about being the “old guy” in our group of 14 riders (including the guide/leader). But that obviously is a relative term. Among the 12 riders who have introduced themselves by e-mail, six of us are in our 60s and one is 70.
I would guess that they, like me, have been wanting to do a transcontinental ride for some time, but couldn’t do it until retirement because of the time required for such a trip.
Our journey, along the southern tier of the United States, will take 65 days. Adventure Cycling Association’s classic Trans-Am route — from Yorktown, Va., to Astoria, Ore. — requires 93 days.
A bit more information about our group: It will be comprised of five women and nine men. Six of the riders are from outside the United States: two from Germany, and one each from Australia, Britain, Canada and the Netherlands. Of those who live in the United States, three are from California, two from Ohio and one each from New York, Texas (me) and New Hampshire (the guide/leader).
It’s also a highly educated group, including a Ph.D. in mathematics, an electrical engineer, a lawyer, a project management consultant in the biomedical device/pharmaceutical industry, a retired chemical engineer, a retired biologist/pharmacologist and a retired town planner.
I’m glad that I no longer have to worry about being the only “old” guy. Now the challenge is not to be a dim bulb amid such brilliant company.