Growing up I always enjoyed biking riding. It was my main form of transportation until I turned 17, then forget the bike. I had a car! In the late 60’s, after I was married and had 2 children, my wife, Judith and I purchased single speed bikes with child seats on the back, and we started riding again. However, we only pedaled around the neighborhoods in Cherry Hill and Haddonfield, and I won’t even discuss the lack of helmets and little emphasis on safety back then.
Only about a year or two later the environmental movement began to gather strength and there was the 1st Earth Day. I felt it my duty to protect the environment. I bought a 10-speed road bike and started bike commuting to work, but only in nice weather. I wasn’t hard core and not overly dedicated, so it only lasted a couple of years. After that I was only an occasional rider.
In 1983 when I began working in New York City, the bike got put in a dark corner of the garage to be forgotten and gather dust.
After retiring in 2010, I had my life pretty much planned. It was to spend most of my time fishing which I did. However that changed in the Spring of the following year. My wife wanted a bike for her birthday so she could ride around the neighborhoods. Up to Wheelies we went. While she was selecting the bike she wanted, I started looking the road bikes. They weren’t the same as my old 70’s model. We ended up getting 2 bikes, a cruiser for her and a road bike for me.
Also, this was the first time I heard of Team Evesham. The salesman with Wheelies was Niles Commisso, a member of Team Evesham. He suggested that I ride them, and my reply was “When I can ride 15 miles without resting, I’ll consider it.” About a month later I happened to see him again, and he again invited me to ride with Team Evesham. This time I took him up on the offer.
I’ve been riding with Team Evesham for 5 years now, and being a member of the team, I’ve gained a lot and have had a few surprises. Not only am I in better physical shape now then I was when I retired 6 years ago, I’ve made new friends and accomplished some things I didn’t even contemplate 6 years ago. One of the most rewarding experiences was a century ride with Dennis Dahms, Rich Berstein, Ross Polinow and Lon Mietka. It was the first century ride for each of us and looking back on it, it was probably the most enjoyable ride I’ve ever had.
As for the surprises, the biggest surprise came a year after I joined Team Evesham. My family, with Sandy’s complicity, had a surprise party for my 70th birthday at the Gibson House in Marlton at the conclusion of a Sunday ride. Apparently some of the team members were aware of it, but I was totally surprised. I owe a lot of gratitude to my fellow team members who pitched in cooking burgers and dogs, setting up and cleaning up. I’ve been told that several people have asked if Team Evesham will have a party on their birthday.
Riding gives me two types of enjoyment. The first enjoyment is vicarious. When new riders show up on a Sunday morning for their first group ride, they are sometimes a little timid and overwhelmed. We take the time to ride with them and encourage them. After they finish that first ride with smiles on their faces and come back to ride with us each week, becoming experienced and accomplished cyclists, that’s rewarding. The second is just being on a bike, no matter the route, no matter the weather, on the road or in the basement on rollers the act of riding is joy. While often being tired and sore at the end of a ride, it is always well worth it.
By the way, I haven’t been fishing since I bought the bike.