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Why stop now? The Elders of Monterey County’s Bike Community

Sexism, racism, lookism, ageism…. None of the -isms serve a community well. And that’s true when it comes to the bike community too!

The joys of biking are for people of all types and all ages—from tots to teens to centenarians, and every age in-between.

Out on the bikeways, notice the diversity in who’s biking. Wave or say howdy now and then—even when those people on bikes don’t look like you. As People for Bikes says, “No matter how we ride, we can ride as one.”

Below you’ll see many people who, as their hair turns grey, find that their energy and enthusiasm for bicycling is rekindled! For others, they’ve never stopped riding since childhood, and they don’t intend to let their age end their love for biking anytime soon.

The gentleman below, a local business owner, decided that getting back to bicycling for the first time in years would be a fun way to boost his physical health.


“Yeah, my daughter will be glad to see Dad is getting more outdoor exercise again.”


Elliott from Aptos at Farmers Mkt MRYAbove, Elliott of Aptos was at the Old Monterey Farmers Market in July 2015. His son, daughter-in-law, and grandson (that’s two more Elliotts!) own Bike Newport, a bike shop in Newport, Oregon.

Maybe you’ve heard of 102-year-old Frenchman Robert Marchand or 103-year-old Octavio Orduño of Long Beach [update: who died 1/16/15, at age 106]. Do you think they are the only elders who bike? Think again!

Ask this gent, spotted on his bike next to El Estero Lake, Monterey. Elder racer at City by El Estero - DSC00464

What’s a little grey hair?

For most people, it’s not an indicator it’s time to hang up the bike.

There are plenty of older riders in Monterey County wise to the benefits of biking!

This post’s photos show examples across several generations of  “elders”  in Monterey County.

Below, Jan Valencia, a TAMC Golden Helmet winner, and fellow rider and wife, Cath Tendler-Valencia.  Just try to keep up with these two. You may be a 20-something, but if you’re not in top form, serious cyclists Jan and Cath will likely be far ahead of you on the bikeways!

Hey, that’s San Franciso!  That’s right, well over a hundred miles from here.  Actually, weekend century rides are pretty standard fare for Jan and Cath. And weekdays? Both pack on the miles, including Jan’s regular Seaside-to-Salinas bike-to-work commute.

Photo courtesy of the Valencias.

Jan and Cath don’t discriminate when it comes to age. They’re happy to bike with teens and 20-somethings too, even when the young ones are slower than these seasoned riders.

Below, see Cath at a Salinas Bike Party. When the inaugural party took place in August 2012, Cath and Jan provided bicycle maintenance and rider support. What kept SBP’s launch night fun for a rider who broke down? Yup, Cath and Jan!

Cath-and-Crew cropped

Do you like mixing it up, as Cath and these youth do? Multigenerational rides are cool. For one such experience, come to the annual Intergenerational Ride for Bike Month. It’s free,  fun, and riders are accompanied by a complimentary mobile mechanic–just in case of a flat tire, tangled chain, or other minor maintenance need.

Below, in May 2011, is Jan with fixie rider extraordinaire Jesse Martines. Jess and Jan got acquainted when they both rode with Rich Deal, City of Monterey traffic engineer. Jan, Jess, and other riders were giving Rich input about needed infrastructure improvements.

Ride with Rich Deal May 15 023

Keep up with Jan on Twitter @jvalen, or email Jan, the Velo Club Monterey Answer Man, via Cath is occasionally on Twitter too, @eyebabe.

Uh, yeah. That’s why you can usually reach Jan on Twitter. He checks his phone regularly.

Jan V at PAL Bike Fair Seaside 15 May 2011 - 50

Below, this Prunedale couple doesn’t let lack of Class I bikeways near their home keep them from enjoying a relaxing ride.  They’re wise to bike-and-ride philosophy:  Any mile of biking beats a mile of driving!  So they toss their bikes in their vehicle and head for the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.

These folks agree: Bike-and-ride to the trail suits us just great!

Bike and ride pickup stand

Below: Bike advocate and ever-cheerful bicycling enthusiast Leo Kodl is pedaling all the time–as he was this January 2014 day, spotted at the Monterey Post Office.

Leo Kodl folding bike at Monterey post officeWhether he’s on his folding bike, a standard road bike, a recumbent, or some other people-powered wheels, Leo puts on many a mile. His cheery nature alone would be ample evidence of that!

Leo Kodl local avid cyclist and bike advocate rides many types including recumbent Like Leo, this gentleman also knows how to avoid potential parking problems at the Monterey Post Office: bike!

July 2012 006

Below, Geurt and Stien van Burken, visiting from the Netherlands, at a light on Munras in downtown Monterey. (tesy of their daughter Christine.)

Christine's parents visiting P1020111

Don Williams is a Vietnam veteran who is out cleaning up the City of Monterey streets regularly. Read about him in Tom Leyde’s story in the Monterey County Herald: “Monterey’s clean-up Lizzard.” Some look for “Lizard Man,” so note the spelling; by any name, this veteran continues to serve!

Lizard's Lick Cleanup MontereyBelow, City of Monterey Mayor Clyde Roberson was first biking mayor in 1983 and again in 2014. Learn more about Clyde; click here.

Monterey Mayor Clyde Roberson 26 July 2015

MacGregor Eddy of East Salinas, a longtime transit user and avid walker, launched her “We Could Car Less” column in the Salinas Californian in 2014. In 2015, she decided she’d take up biking again for the first time in 50 years.  An annual Intergenerational Ride? Yes! I’m coming!”

Photo courtesy of MacGregor Eddy.

ME with bike at Dunes Park

The gent below was biking up the Munras hill in Monterey, off to his saxaphone lesson–one of a multitude of trips he makes by bike.

Greybeard cyclist off to saxaphone cyclist

And his smiling eyes speak well for the joy that biking brings.

Greybeard saxaphonist with smiling eyes

Spotted these women on Lighthouse in New Monterey, by Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room, a HER Helmet Thursdays spot.

Women at Hula's

 Ed’s career expertise demands many working hours at the computer.  That makes those hours with his handcycle on the bikeways a very desirable way to keep life in balance.

Robert Kelly (below) frequently bikes from his home in Toro Park, Salinas to his son’s home in Pacific Grove.  Below he’s on Garden Road one early afternoon, already been there and heading back.


Bobbie Kamil (below) and her husband, John Ittelson, have a high priority on their packing lists when they pack for any trip:   folding bikes.  And the bikes perform well at home too, as on Bobbie’s ride from their Monterey home to Seaside for some shopping.

Chris and Alyce Broome of San Luis Obispo pack their folding bikes for trips, much preferring to see the sites by bike than car.  Besides, it keeps them trim and makes treat stops–like this one at Paris Bakery in downtown Monterey–no problem, just pleasure.

Jim Willoughby of Pacific Grove demonstrates how he keeps his health in check.

A little grey hair is not going to stop this doc’s mission.  He was biking  Salinas on the Okerblom  California Springtime Protest Pedal to stop distracted driving.

Jerry Gervase loves to shop by bike–saves him searching for a parking spot at Trader Joe’s!

Maybe riding is some of what inspires Jerry’s frequent laughter, and the wonderful humor that has made him such a popular columnist. As the lyrics of “Camera” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash proclaim: “Children…watch me on my bicycle
And laugh with me as I ride.”

For retired radio station manager John N. Dick, there’s no need for a mountain bike or any other special type of bicycle.  His trusty Schwinn is all he needs to enjoy the many pleasures and benefits of biking Salinas–including views like the beautiful fields across from Zeph’s One-Stop on South Main Street.

On this day, he learned another good reason to bike Salinas and elsewhere in Monterey County:  Zeph’s and many of Zeph’s neighbors–including Gino’s, Ellie’s, Lalla Lounge, and Portobello’s Rotisserie Café–are among the hundreds of businesses and organizations countywide who participate in the HER Helmet Thursdays project. That means they reward bicyclists, male and female, with discounts on Thursdays year-round just because they ride a bike!

And the pedaler below? He’ll be glad when the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail network is completed.  Biking Highway 1 through Moss Landing at present is not his favorite piece of the route between Monterey and Santa Cruz.

Jack Long of Seaside covers a lot of miles too, and he usually fills in those poor infrastructure gaps with high visibility apparel.  While nothing tops safer bikeways, being more visible can help compensate in some situations.

Below, Jack  is on the Class I trail in Monterey. And in the photo below that, see Jack biking General Jim Moore (Class II bike lanes) with his partner, Janet.

Janet Beal and Jack Long of Seaside stay conditioned for bike touring by not skipping local hills, such as General Jim Moore Boulevard (below). By the way, a HER Helmet Thursdays spot in that vicinity that has beautiful views is Bayonet Bar & Grill at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf. Be rewarded for biking that hill by getting a discount at the Bar & Grill on Thursdays.

Learn more about Jack and Janet in Dennis Taylor’s 10/9/14 story in the Monterey County Herald, “Seaside couple bikes 2,300 miles to 50th reunion.”

Seaside - 9 Feb 2011 Janet and Jack - GJMRd (2)

Who cares about greying? Between her companionship and the biking, I’m staying in my prime!

Yeah, the wife says she’s concerned about me losing my balance on two wheels. She’s just like the wife of that 103-year-old cyclist in Long Beach, Octavio Orduño!   But ya gotta keep the wife happy.   So I followed Octavio’s example and got a recumbent!

At age 92, Joe Datsko bikes 60 miles a week, as reported in a story picked up by the Monterey County Herald on 6/23/13.Click here.

Yeah, me too!

On arrival at the Portola Plaza on a sunny afternoon, this gent was feeling great.  Something about that long morning on the bike…

Grey? Jay Bartow, Pastor Emeritus of First Presbyterian Church of Monterey is working on the no-hair-at-all look now.  It goes well with retirement–as does more biking!  Jay retired in 2011 after 38 years at First Pres.  Let’s see what Pastor Mark Peake’s head looks like after 38 years!

One of the great things about biking to work is instead of needing to go to the gym for my cardio at the end of the day, I can putter in the garden–or watch the game!

Life’s too short to slow down before it’s time. I think I’ll try to beat the record of that 103-year-old guy in Long Beach.

Sure, I’ll pause for a picture.  Anything for bicycle advocacy!

Greying keeping Frank Henderson from biking?  You’ve gotta be kidding!  That would be fuelish.  Besides, there’s work to be done–Frank’s bike leadership is much in demand.  This 2010 Golden Helmet Winner and certified League of American Bicyclists instructor is a volunteer bike class teacher at the Monterey County Youth Center, among many other volunteer gigs. You’ll see Frank at the annual Intergenerational Ride for Bike Week too, being available to share safety tips in support of fellow riders.

Joseph Crabtree would echo Frank’s statement.   He’s happy in the saddle, and off the bike, there’s much bike work to be done as well, at his Forest Hill Bike Shop! Joseph was also a key volunteer helping to launch the Monterey County Youth Center bike class.

Oh! This greying cyclist is an avid cyclocross racer too.

Okay, bike’s all set.  Those safety checks and minor tuneups  for ten bucks remind me of 1950s prices!  Now off for my ride!

“What’s up with caring about a little grey?  I just cover mine up with a helmet anyway,” says this Nutcase Helmets staffer, in Monterey County for the annual Sea Otter Classic Expo.

Sea Otter Classic 2012 013

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