I am thrilled to report that today marks the 17th anniversary of my retirement. On October 2 of 2000, I bade the financial world adieu and started my life as a guy who didn’t have to get up for work. I got my first job at the age of 10 sweeping the floor of a dry cleaner and continued to work till I reached 60. Although my degree is in Finance, I went into the publishing world writing and editing. I liked markets, but always knew I would write. I wrote and practiced journalism for most of my career, spending 20 years working for Reuters covering markets and then teaching journalism at Medill for several years. Because I had written about markets for 30 years, my boss at a major philanthropy asked me if I would like to manage some money. So, I managed $900 million in bond investments for the final five years of my working life.
No mas. I thought I would celebrate with this biking post. When I was working I used to tell my friends at the office that when I retired I was going to ride my bike on the Chicago lakefront every day. They thought that was funny. I was never more serious.
You all know how I ride my bike nearly every day year ’round here in Chicago. I do it because I love it. Period. Everything else is gravy.
I am always excited to run across items like the ones below. They point to some of the fun I get cycling. If you aren’t doing it, or haven’t done it for a while, think about giving it a spin. You might find that flying across the pavement feels really nice. As you can see from the infographic below, there are some notable physical benefits, too.
First of all, I want to salute my little canine companion, Gabi. She is 11-1/2 years young and has brightened my life ever since I adopted her. For details on how that unlikely event occurred, check out my post Anatomy of an act of kindness.
Meanwhile, “National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and was founded in 2004 by Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Advocate, Colleen Paige, also the founder of National Puppy Day, National Mutt Day and National Cat Day and many more philanthropic days to bring attention to the plight of animals and encourage adoption. The date of August 26th is significant, as it’s the date that Colleen’s family adopted her first dog “Sheltie” when Colleen was 10 years old.
Here is my canine companion, Gabi, whom I adopted 11 years ago. She clocks about 4,000 miles a year in her basket on my bike.
“National Dog Day celebrates all dogs, mixed breed and pure. Our mission is to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day… for personal protection, for law enforcement, for the disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage, now they’re detecting cancer and seizures…things even humans cannot do. NDD was adopted into New York State Legislation in 2013. Read more about it here.“
There will be lots of celebrations of the bicycle in the coming four weeks because May is National Bicycle Month. As regular readers know, I ride around 7000 miles a year, an average of over 20 miles per day. So cycling is a labor of love for me.
I have tried to explain to myself first as well as others who asked, why I love to ride my bike. Until recently, the best I could come up with is that I feel like I am flying. Not soaring high, just flying along several feet above the bike path.
Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago
I know that when I ride, I am at once totally in the moment of propelling the bike forward and at the same time I experience a very enjoyable feeling of expansion – an almost out of body sensation.
This has been wonderfully explained by former University of Chicago professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow. Continue reading
Easter comes at a time when the weather is mellowing and more folks think about getting outside and enjoying the air. Maybe slimming down. The whole idea of Easter is rejuvenation, right? Spring; new life. Well, biking is the coolest way I know to get outside and feel reborn.
I hope you will enjoy these images and ideas as much as I do.
I just love that little poster. The Earth sends a lil extra luv to those on bicycles… It says so right there.
What’s not to like?
Most years I ride my bike farther than I drive my car. That’s something you might be able to do …
Isn’t it interesting that Minneapolis is one of the top cities for biking in the country?
It’s a good day for a ride …
Happy Easter, bunny!
One little safety note: besides a helmet, get those biking gloves.
If When you fall, you are going to put your hands out in front of you. The gloves will protect them from glass, dirt and anything else on the road.
I just ran across these in my web wanderings and wanted to share them. If you ride a bike you get it. If you don’t, maybe you should consider it.
Maybe this is actually a yoga picture, or gymnastic shot more than a bike one, but I loved it.
The temp in Chicago this morning ranged between 28 and 32F. I rode 15 miles (around an hour) in my first ride of the year. Below is a picture of a peloton of fellow riders (you may have to squint to see them) heading south along the Lakefront bike path. I hope you can see their colorful cycling outfits. The cars behind them are northbound on Lake Shore Drive. As you can see from the picture, it was a wonderful clear crisp day. Thankfully there was little wind in the Windy City this morning.
Below you can see from the brilliant colors how clear the light was. This is a view looking north from approximately 100 yards away from where I live.
For the year 2016, I managed around 5300 miles. This is slightly down from recent years, but not too shabby for a 76 year old. I seem to have been busier in 2016 for some reason. I did travel to Las Vegas four times and Reno once, so there was no bike riding in those 25 odd days.
I consider myself very fortunate to live near the Lakefront bike path. When I ride before sunrise I get some breathtaking views of the sun coming up over Lake Michigan. Below is a recent shot taken just before the sun came up. That’s world famous Navy Pier with its Ferris wheel. While sunrises can be magnificent, I think the electric lights in this picture look stunning. I am guessing the sun came up about 20 minutes after I shot this.
I also get some wonderful views of cloud formations. Below shows an impending storm coming in from the southwest. That’s the bike path in the foreground looking south.
Everyone knows what selfies are, right? Well, below is my version – a shadow selfie. These angles are possible just after the sun comes up. This is me in front of the stairs leading to Lake Shore Drive. You can’t see it, but Buckingham Fountain is across Lake Shore Drive just beyond these steps.
Below is a runner just before sunrise.
Finally, here is a picture taken on the same morning about 15 minutes later as the sun had risen further. Again, you can see the Navy Pier Ferris wheel in the background. You can see a silhouette of a runner. For some reason few of the runners I see in the morning dark bother to wear any lights or reflective items.
I consider myself most fortunate that I have a resource like the lakefront bike path right outside my door. I think you can see from these shots that my morning ride refreshes my soul as well as my body.
As an enthusiastic bicycle rider and supporter of the exercise, I was really pleased to see the results of the American Heart Association studies. Here is a summary:
• People who bike regularly, either recreationally or as a way to commute, appear to have a lower risk of cardiovascular illness, according to studies conducted in Denmark and Sweden.
• Middle-aged and older Danes who took up biking and stuck with it had a 26 percent lower risk of developing coronary artery disease, compared with non-bikers.
• In Sweden, those who regularly biked to work were less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and obesity — key risk factors for cardiovascular illness.
Here I am riding on Chicago’s Northerly Island in my retirement.
People who bike regularly, either for pleasure or as a way to commute, appear to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to two separate studies published simultaneously in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation and Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA/ASA’s Open Access Journal. Continue reading
I confess that only last year I was ignorant of the fact that sitting for a prolonged period was very hazardous to your health. Since then, I have erased much of my ignorance with a number of posts. You can check them out on my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting? So I was gratified to read the latest info on sitting from the Harvard Medical School.
“Can an hour of brisk walking counteract the downsides of sitting for most of the day? Maybe, according to a study published online July 27, 2016, by The Lancet.
Since biking is one the of the suggested exercises, I thought I would include this shot of Gabi and me riding in Chicago’s annual Bike the Drive on famed Lake Shore Drive.
This seems particularly timely as I wrote about my own cycling – Riding a bike on Chicago’s Lakefront on Chicago’s Lakefront yesterday.
The Harvard Health Publications has a nice positive blog post on starting cycling again presumably as a senior.
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, states that she loved riding as a kid, but now only rides occasionally.
“It’s fun, it’s socially oriented, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Plus, cycling is an aerobic activity, it’s easy on the joints, and it helps build muscle and bone. Continue reading
I have been writing in these pages for nearly seven years about riding my bike on Chicago’s Lakefront. But, I haven’t shared much with you in the way of photos. So, this post is my attempt to rectify that omission.
First of all, I have a You Tube video that I made back in 2010 when I was still new to my iPhone. You will see the Lakefront, Buckingham Fountain (with its rainbow!) 12th St. Beach, Northerly Island. The huge parking lot that I rode in was the Soldier Field parking lot where the Bears play. As you may guess, I am a big Willie Nelson fan, hence his music behind it.
The second video, just 20 seconds, is one I shot of a squirrel I was feeding. As you probably already know, I ride my bike with my dog in the front basket most of the time, when temps are over 4o F. So, I stop often and take her out of the basket to stretch her legs and have some treats. Although I live on Chicago’s Lakefront, I have a wonderful world of wildlife around me. You will have seen ducks in the first one. In this, I have a squirrel that I was feeding. Rabbits and geese also abound.
I usually ride early in the morning and often before the sun comes up. Here are some shots of the sun and clouds that I get over Lake Michigan.
This next is brand new, I shot it on the morning of September 27, 2016. It only lasts 29 seconds, but you get to see a rainbow in Chicago’s famed Buckingham Fountain.
This was sunrise on 13 September 2016.
Here is a shot looking south from the bike path just after sunrise. The buildings are illuminated by the risen sun.
This is looking directly east as the sun is rising. Aren’t the clouds cool?
If you have enjoyed the photos and would like to see more, I invite you to my Pinterest Page which has around 100 more pics.
I hope it is obvious that I get a lot more than just good cardio on my rides.
Thanks for your time.
I have just finished my 12th bicycling year. Sound weird? It isn’t. My bicycling year works the same as a fiscal year for corporations.
I retired on October 2, 2000. That was 12 years ago. When I retired I promised myself I would ride my bicycle at least 2000 miles a year. That’s Tony’s version of a bucket list.
So, I started counting the miles I rode on October 3, 2000 the first day of my retirement.
I love this piece of artwork. It is from a T shirt sold by onegear.com
As of yesterday, I had ridden 7447 miles in the 12 months ending October second. That is a new record! The previous year, I rode 6339 miles. I averaged just over 20 miles a day for the 365 days. Burning around 40 calories a mile, I averaged burning 800 calories a day on the bike alone.
I ride the bike because I love doing it. But, I ride the bike as close to daily as possible because it is my way of paying for my old age one bike ride at a time. I work my cardiovascular system to let my heart know I still care.
Our bodies need daily exercise. Also, having learned about the benefits of cardiovascular exercise on the brain, I am riding to protect myself from the dementia that has evidenced itself in my family.
I have written about the relationship between exercise and the brain a number of times for this blog. Check out Important Facts About Your Brain for a list. Or click on the brain link at the right.