Pedaling to New Friends

For six months I have been bike commuting to work, taking basically the same route and working to reduce my time and improve my average speed. Most days I see the same man out practicing his ride - usually on a Teschner Fixie but sometimes on a Pinarello Road bike. He has an easy stride and is fun to watch as he practices his starts on the fixie. 

After reading Peter Flax recent letter in Bicycling Magazine describe his thoughts of watching the older man riding in his neighborhood I resolved to stop and introduce myself to this mystery rider and take the time to get to know him. Boy, am I glad I did! This simple act of greeting a fellow rider introduced me to 70-year-old Earl Henry; member of the Florida Bicycling Hall of Fame, USA Cycling and a champion racer.

Now looking at the photo here I trust you also feel as I do that there is no way this guy is 70! But alas, I looked up his record in recent races and, according to USA Bicycling he competes in the 70 and over group.  Quite frankly, I am impressed.

Earl gave me advice on my riding, invited me to join group rides he does and provided needed encouragement for a new rider who is only six months into the commuting experience. He is a truly humble and inspirational man that I am honored to have met. I only hope our paths continue to cross as we practice our pedaling arts.

Thanks Peter Flax and Bicycling Magazine for providing me the impetus I needed to stop and introduce myself to a fellow rider. How about you? Met any interesting folks on the roads / trails lately? If not, make the time. The real story may be better than the one you imagine in your head!

Be safe!
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