I’ve often told friends who express an interest in bicycling that it’s a sport that can be enjoyed into old age. As I get older, I appreciate the wisdom of whoever said that first. I turned 67 on a ride across the United States in the autumn of 2009, and I feel like it could do it again.
But perhaps the best testimony for cycling as a sport for all ages is Octavio Orduño of Long Beach, Calif.
“Orduño lives half a block from the beach,” the Los Angeles Times reported March 14. “Nearly every day, he toddles from his third-floor condo to the garage where he keeps his red Torker tricycle. On it, he pedals around the neighborhood — to the park, the beach and the farmers market — in a ritual honed over nearly 40 years.”
Well, Orduño turned 103 on March 14.
His 81-year-old wife, Alicia, made him switch to a three-wheeler after he turned 100.
The bike coordinator for Long Beach, a Texan named Charles Gandy, has “befriended Orduño and shared his story online, posting two videos of him coasting down the bike lanes, propped up by his self-installed blue velvet backrest,” the LA Times said.
Gandy wants to make Orduño an ambassador for cycling. “He’s our poster boy for healthy, active living around here,” Gandy said.
“It keeps me going,” Orduño said of his three-wheeled excursions. “And it’s better than sitting in the den all day watching cars go by.”
If I ever make it to 100, I’d hope to be in some sunny clime like Orduño — the coolest old dude in town, riding down to the beach to take the sea air, play with the dogs and look at the pretty women.