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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bicycling and the art of aging actively

Image of 93-year-old bicyclist Lucia McClain
From the Sacramento Bee, 11.18.08:

The art of aging actively
Lucia McLain and daughter Lydia Simonette are examples of how growing older has changed

Let's tell Lucia McLain that she should wear a helmet when she hops on her bike for a spin to Mercy San Juan Medical Center, where she volunteers twice each month.

"I have one," says McLain, who's 93. Of course! And here it is, unused, stored in the bottom of the china cabinet in the living room of her small apartment at the Atrium, a Carmichael assisted- living center. "I use a cap with a shield to keep the sun out," says McLain.

A visor, she means, but that's hardly the point.

"She has done this for 60 years," her daughter, 71-year-old Lydia Simonette, says a bit wearily. Clearly, she's been down this conversational path with her mother a time or two before.

Lucia McLain's old age has been more settled, if still abundantly active. Until July, she lived in her own home, and she mowed the lawn herself. "She had a cherry tree in the yard, and she always climbed a ladder and picked cherries," says her daughter.

"I don't miss the work," McLain says. Even so, she continues biking 10 miles round trip to her Mercy San Juan volunteer duties, sewing Snoopy dolls for ailing youngsters. And she always spends Saturday mornings at Simonette's house, cleaning.

"We've done that every Saturday for 50 years," McLain says.

"And then we'll run errands or go grocery shopping," says Simonette.

Like mother, like daughter: They're too busy to slow down long enough for their age to catch up with them. (Read more.)
I took a two-week break from blogging to travel to the East Coast--including my first visit to the absolutely incredible city of Savannah, Georgia--and to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. But I didn't want to miss sharing this inspiring story, the most inspiring since the June article on nonagenarian bicyclist Fred Mathes. There are many physical and mental health benefits of bicycle commuting, including graceful aging. Staying socially engaged and physically active seems to be a winning formula for a long, healthy life. So keep bicycling.

Image: Sacramento Bee. Image of 93-year-old bicyclist Lucia McClain.
Visit: Bicycling is a Great Hobby for Senior Citizens, Today's Senior Hobbies
Visit: Bicycling To Better Health, Alive
Visit: Mental Health Alert: Biking Boosts Aging Brains, Cycling For Boomers...Plus
Visit: Nonagenarian rides 56-year-old bike, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

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