BY RON CHASE – Seniors Not Acting Their Age
The Times Record – September 22, 2017
Cycling is one of my favorite activities and a primary source of aerobic exercise. The older I get the more I enjoy it. A runner for almost forty years, a knee replacement compelled me to quit. The knee guy said that if I kept running, I’d soon be back for another one. A certified sissy, I’m not suffering that very painful rehabilitation again if I can avoid it.
Harvard Medical School reports what I’ve long believed. Cycling is a great exercise and a wonderful form of recreation for almost everyone, especially us old people. An outstanding workout, it’s much easier on the joints than walking and running. Those clever folks at Harvard say that cycling is excellent for your heart, brain, blood vessels, muscles, balance and bone density. Just finished a bike ride and I’m already feeling smarter and tougher. Unbalanced since birth, doubt there’s any cure for that. If you’re a fellow geriatric, grab a bike and let’s get out on the trails.
I ride a lot. The actual mileage that I log in is confidential as I don’t want to be accused of being obsessive compulsive, a rumor without merit. Safety is my biggest cycling concern. There are simply too many people driving around sexting, texting and nipping. My preference is to get away from traffic and ride safer bike trails whenever possible.
The State of Maine promotes itself as a cycling friendly state. Unfortunately, that’s not really true, at least comparatively speaking. Many states, perhaps most, have a superior network of bike trails. Traveling to Utah and back earlier this summer, I rode 33 trails in ten different states, most just off major highways. In Florida, they have scores of paved bike trails filled with gray haired people that are spread all over the state. Here in Maine, we only have a handful of true bike trails that allow for a decent ride. Many cyclists consider a ten mile round-trip to be the minimum acceptable distance. The vast majority of our scenic country roads lack a safe shoulder for bike travel. The good news, things are improving.
A great trail ride in southern Maine is the Eastern Trail; the Scarborough to Saco section in particular. My wife Nancy recently joined me for a ride. She’s younger than I so you’ll have to consult with her on whether or not she qualifies as a senior.
Leaving the Black Point Road Trailhead in Scarborough, we rode southerly on the hard-packed dirt and gravel trail for about a mile where a toilet is strategically located. This is just far enough away from the parking area to avoid most of the trashing these necessary amenities receive when the people sexting, texting and nipping can easily drive to them. The toilet is remarkably clean, testament to the fine work the Eastern Trail Alliance does maintaining the trail and its facilities.
Just beyond, riders reach the very scenic Scarborough Marsh. This is such a captivating area that it’s almost impossible to avoid stopping to absorb the wonderful views. I’ve never ridden the trail when kayakers and canoeists weren’t simultaneously exploring the tidal waters. As usual, we exchanged the knowing waves of people mutually enjoying a special place.