65“Some 75-year-olds like to ride rocking chairs, but Charlotte Hamlin prefers a bicycle. ‘A healthy lifestyle can set you free,’ she says. Following these simple principles literally keeps her conquering mountains, showing the world what one woman walking with God can do while riding a bike.” Article about Charlotte Hamlin, Bicyclist & Senior Citizen
In this colorful season, we emphasize riding in the golden years. Instead of becoming elderly, an active bicyclist flaunts endurance into “old” age. Our subculture embraces not just a sport but a way of life. We can pursue this way of life, Lord willin’ until our end of days.
One dream that I had to let-go-and-let-God was cycling greatness through competitiveness in the bigger tours. While participation was a reality, winning stages of these events was for me – fantasy cycling. By the numbers, I did not lack the talent or the strategic insight. I simply lacked time and resources. It took five years for me to get the legs and five more to know how to use them. I was in my early forties by then. While Longo was setting new hour records, I was floundering. I had a few good rides but was unable to gain a stable opportunity. At my age, teams were picking up superstars with experience and lots of palmarès. By comparison, I didn’t measure up.
I’m not a legendary bike racer. This conclusion was reached painfully, but its final realization didn’t devastate me. I have other contributions to make to the sport. Masters racing has categories as old as available participants, but it’s not even racing that is the appeal for a lifetime. I was enormously comforted by a moment of acceptance when I realized my passion for riding was meant to be pursued for as long as I have breath. What happened to me was an encounter with a pair of beautiful legs that passed me swiftly. Until I caught him, he was just another rider having some afternoon tempo. Turns out he was eighty years young; and while his face was a bit lined and his hair a bit silvery, his legs were like any other young cyclist’s – and so was the light in his eyes.
Prayer for Lifetime Cycling
“They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old. And they will say about you, ‘The LORD always does right! God is our mighty rock.’” 66Psalm 92:14-15
We admire greatness. We confess only a few leave a racing legacy but we all leave some legacy. We pray to ride for life for life to ride.
Ponder What is my very long-term view of cycling? Affirm I want to ride my whole life and be that geezer who makes a younger rider breathe a little harder. Watch my body age but still my legs and lungs live strong.
65“Charlotte Hamlin – 75 year-old long-distance cyclist – Aging Gracefully,” by Pam Mellskog published in Vibrant Life Nov-Dec-1994