We had our first full trail riding class of the fall season this Wednesday and some of the riders were more than ready. This week’s participants consisted of several seasoned Golden Roller veterans, who know the Rosewood Bike Trail like the back of their hands. To spice up the rides, we’ve started bringing a portable speaker and the music really gets us moving.
A beautiful day in the neighborhood.
That ride? No sweat. (OK, maybe a little sweat)
Gotta stay hydrated.
We’re looking forward to taking a longer ride on the road with some of these folks next month. Stay tuned!
cycling + gardening = a smile-inducing combination
For the last few weeks, a group of Golden Rollers from the Conley-Guerrero Senior Center has been teaming up with the Pan AM Recreation Center for Thursday Morning Garden Rides.
We depart from Conley-Guerrero around 8:30 am (before it gets too steamy) and ride a cool 1.3 miles down the Pedernales Cycle Track before arriving at the Senior Garden of Hope for a healthy dose of veggie cultivation.
The Pan AM Rec Center has been encouraging our attendance with assistance from a friendly garden-informed staff member (Hi Mia!) and morning refreshments of coffee and donuts to keep us energized. Don’t worry, we burn off any excess calories on the ride back.
Here are some highlights from the last two rides. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom:
Rolling down the separated cycle-track. “It’s like a special little road just for us!”
Arriving at the Oswaldo “A.B.” Cantu / Pan American Center on East 3rd Street, home of the little-known Senior Garden of Hope.
Many of the Rollers were surprised to discover that this senior-designated garden even existed. It is just one of the many different programs and services the Austin Parks and Rec Department offers for senior residents.
Our gardening tasks have included light weeding, watering, mulching, fertilizing, and the beloved harvesting of vegetables. Some like getting dirty more than others, so gloves are available. 🙂
Just a small preview of the summer crops coming in. Everybody left with a few handfuls!
All smiles as we prepare to ride back.
And here is a parting shot as we roll back to Conley-Guerrero, with bonus commentary from Pan AM Rec staff.
This film follow members of the Golden Rollers, Austin’s senior tricycle program which is a collaboration between the Ghisallo Cycling Initiative and the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center in East Austin. It provides an opportunity for adults aged 50 and older to engage in low-impact, bicycle-based recreation, exploration, and transportation. These are their stories as they explore the world on three wheels, proving you are never too old to roll.
Each month we highlight one of our Golden Rollers with a photo and short interview. Our conversations explore personal histories and address how staying active has benefitted their health and well-being as they grow older.. This month we meet Joy Gilcrease.
Name: Joy Gilcrease
Hometown: San Francisco, California (lived in 41 countries before 16-years-old)
Bike Experience: Learned how to ride when young but never owned a bike. Did some beach riding in Galveston years ago.
Golden Rollers: “Did you find Conely-Guerrero pretty early on after moving here?”
Joy Gilcrease: “No, I first heard about it when I saw the article, there was an ad in the paper about the trike program and I said, “I want to do that”.”
GR: “What’s your history with bikes?”
JG: “I never had a bike. I never had time when I was little for a bike… I never got a bike and I never got a dog.”
GR: “Well it’s not too late for either!”
GR: “So what attracted you to the Golden Rollers? Was the three-wheeled aspect appealing?”
JG: “Yes. So, I always liked bikes, but my cousin came to visit me, and she wanted to see everything and do everything. So I had the bright idea that we would rent one of the [B-cycle] bikes that they have and bike around the lake… So I got one for her and one for me and we set out. I got on the bike, and I fell down. And I got on the bike again, and I fell down. And after several times of this, I said “maybe there’s something wrong with this bike.” So we switched bikes, but I couldn’t ride her bike either… Every time I would turn the wheel, I would fall down. I never got up enough speed to even get my balance going. So I was really disgusted and we put the bikes back. But, I promised myself that I would see if I could get back on a bike somehow. And then I saw the article in the paper and thought, “this is it!””
GR: “Have you enjoyed riding with us?”
JG: “I enjoy it very very much. I’m still not sure I could ride a regular bike, but the trike makes it really easy…”
Each month we highlight one of our Golden Rollers with a photo and short interview. Our conversations explore personal histories and address how staying active has benefitted their health and well-being as they grow older.. This month we meet Federico Garcia.
Name: Federico Garcia (aka Don Freddy)
Hometown: Austin, TX
Bike Experience: “a little bit”
Federico Garcia: “I knew I had diabetes, I’ve had it since I was 38. Then, a couple of years back, I developed congestive heart failure. I had hypertension. That all came together and then, after I retired, they found some thickening in my lungs. I went to a specialist and then they found out I had pulmonary fibrosis. There’s no cure for that, unless you have a lung transplant and I’m too old for that. So what you have to do is keep these lungs active.”
Golden Rollers: “You have to keep moving to survive.”
FG: “Not because I want to. Not because I want to look skinny. I just don’t have a choice.”
GR: “Had you done any regular cycling recently?”
FG: “When I was 61 or 62, I bought a regular bike, a Schwinn. Regular standard bike, bike wheels, big seat. I didn’t have my diabetes under control and I would fall and scrape my knees, and it would take me 2-3 months to get well. So I sold the bike.”
GR: “Do you ever feel worried about falling on the trikes?”
FG: “At first I didn’t know how to work it really well, and I was afraid. It took me a little while to figure it out, but then I figured it out. I did it slowly, I didn’t go real fast. I wasn’t in a race, I was just enjoying it. I think people that want to do this, it’s good to do it in a group so they get some support because not everybody’s going to be the same. And you all are encouraging, you all are there, and it just gives us the motivation to do it. Why stay home and watch TV and be a couch potato?”
Each month we highlight one of our Golden Rollers with a photo and short interview. Our conversations explore personal histories and address how staying active has benefitted their health and well-being as they grow older.. This month we meet Alice Chang.
Name: Alice Chang
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Bike Experience: Never rode bikes when younger. The Golden Rollers trikes are her first serious encounter with cycling.
Golden Rollers: “Did you have a bike while growing up?
Alice Chang: “No, no, I don’t know how to ride… I tried, but I was so afraid, I never… “
GR: “Why did you move to Austin?”
AC: “My son went to UT-Austin. And we like Austin because they have lots of things we can do. A lot of activities, events, or whatever. I love it.”
GR: “Were you kind of nervous to ride the tricycles, because you never rode before?”
AC: “But this is different! This is 3 wheels!”
GR: “A little more stable?”
AC: “Yes! I love it. And I hope we continue another season.”
After hearing about all the medals that Robert Walker has won in Senior Olympics events over the years, we decided to look for other inspiring older adults who continue to compete in athletics well into their golden years.
It turns out there are numerous senior athletic competitions across the US, and tens of thousands of participants every year. Texas has their own annual Senior Games in San Antonio and the National Senior Games takes place every two years at a rotating locale. (The next one will be held in June 2017, so start training folks!) Participants in the National Senior Games must be 50 years or older, and the events are divided into age groups with five-year intervals. Past games have included 20 different events, including Archery, Badminton, Bowling, Cycling, Golf, Horseshoes, Pickleball, Race Walk, Racquetball, Road Race, Shuffleboard, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Track and Field, Triathlon, Basketball, Softball, and Volleyball.
You don’t have to participate in Senior Olympics to stay active as you age. Check out this video of 100-year-old Ida Keeling:
Each month we highlight one of our Golden Rollers with a photo and short interview. Our conversations explore personal histories and address how staying active has benefitted their health and well-being as they grow older. This month we meet Robert Walker.
If you walk past the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center in East Austin on any given weekday morning, there’s a good chance you’ll see 82-year-old Robert Walker playing basketball in the courtyard. For nearly an hour you could watch him line up 10 feet out from the baseline and sink shot after shot, nothing but net. What you would not see are the 100-plus medals Robert has hanging in his home from winning Senior Olympics events.
Name: Robert Walker
Hometown: Austin, TX
Bike Experience: Biked while growing up in east Austin. Doesn’t ride much now.
Golden Rollers: “You’re 82-years-old?”
Robert Walker: “Mhm. The Lord blessed me. I just love exercising.”
GR: “You’re a sharpshooter. I’ve seen you [playing basketball]. How long do you shoot for?”
RW: “I’ll shoot for an hour. I’ll shoot 20 straight. I’ll shoot 30-something straight. I can’t shoot as far out as I used to though. I turned down a scholarship in college. I was buying a new car, and at 26-years-old, I was buying a house. And I worked 8 hours [a day] and was taking 17 hours [of classes] a semester. It was impossible. I had to turn down the scholarship to play basketball… I didn’t have the time.”
GR: “You’ve stayed active.”
RW: “All my life. For over 50 years I cut the yard for the church, didn’t charge them anything, just exercise.”
GR: “When did you start doing the Senior Games?”
RW: “I came down [to Conley-Guerrero] in 1994. A few months later in ‘95, they took me down to San Antone to enter, that’s when I got into the Senior Olympics. I was 62 when I went in. I stayed in it 14 years and won a whole lot of medals in 5 different sports. I won over 100 medals. They give you medals for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. I won 50-something 1st place in 5 different sports.”
GR: “Do you have all the medals?”
RW: “Yeah, the medals are home hanging on the wall.”
We had an extra special morning today. Our friend and filmmaker Lucy Kreutz joined the ride to shoot footage for a potential short documentary. It was very exciting for our featured rollers, one of whom exclaimed that she had “always wanted to be a movie star!”
We got creative with the equipment on hand:
Stay tuned to see what happens with the documentary project!