Thursday, October 22, 2009

Three Wheels, Ninety-Two Years

This lovely picture and story was sent into our Flickr group by "Cold Iron", a bicycle mechanic at Cycle City in Alameda, Ca. He sends in lots of pictures of his customers with their bikes. I like the stories he puts with the pictures because they show us all that a cyclist is just a person with a bike. This story, however, was super special to me. I just recently ended 12 years of working with Senior Citizens and this generation is, by far, my favorite. With a daily dwindling number of WW2 vets left, to see one out on a trike... makes my month!

Mr. F was born in 1917.

He's lived through 17 U.S. Presidents.
He was 9 or 10 when Charles Lindbergh became the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
He was 22 when the Nazis invaded Poland.
He was 30 when the British left India.
He was 39 (my current age) when Elvis made his television debut on the Milton Berle Show.
He was 52 when Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon.
He was 64 when Iran freed the hostages from the American Embassy in Tehran.
He was 73 when the Berlin Wall came down.
He was 86 when the Centenial of Powered Flight was celebrated at Kitty Hawk.

I am fascinated with the history of the 20th Century, and it's a real treat for me to know such a man.

I think there is so much that can be learned from someone who's lived through so much change... and can keep a positive energy, and a fresh attitude... the way he has.

I plan on riding well into ride into my 90's. When I grow up, I want to be just like Mr. F.


  1. And until he was 12 he could have been told the story of the shoot out at the OK Corral by Wyatt Earp hisself. Even without the war thang his generation is special because although they grew up in the mechanizing world of the 20th century, they were raised by, essentially, 19th century people. They are the link.

    I'm a boomer, so I was raised by depression/WWII era people. Now most of them are gone and I miss them. I started thinking about this earlier this year when all of a sudden a for sale sign went up on a house about half a block from me where an old guy who used to talk to me about his days on a PT boat in the Pacific lived; and I realized that meant I would never see him again - and why. He was about 90.

    Humanity itself made it through the 20th century by the skin of its teeth. Let us hope we do a bit better in the 21st so that we may all live to cycle into a ripe, old age.

  2. This is a really cool post. Thanks for sharing the information with all!!
    Peace :)

  3. Cool! If you love this guy, you"ll love my first landlord, Mr. Crawley. He was 81 when I first rented from him and he used to ride a 26-mile route to Stone Mountain with a group almost every weekend. I had just started bike commuting with no basket, rack, or fenders on my Walmart Schwinn lugging a heavy bookbag on my back and arriving at Emory--three miles away--a sweaty mess. Needless to say, I wasn't a very committed cyclist at the time and I was totally in awe of Mr. Crawley.

  4. Thanks for the post! He reminds me of my dad whom
    I miss dearly and hope I'm like in some ways. People
    with history are special .
    Jon C.

  5. My landlord has a picture of him as a youngin' when the GGbridge was built. Me and him have a special bond, but I'll keep that to discuss over coffee ;)
    What an inspiring man, would love to thank him for being him, and his tricycle. Puts my lazy ass girlfriends (that dont ride because it's too 'scary') to shame

  6. I hope I'm still as svelte and dapper as Mr F is when I'm 92. Hell, I hope I even live long enough to be 92!

    What a dude, cycling his cool bike and shooting down every pre-conceived stereotype of cyclists, cycling and the 'otherness' of it all in general. Muchos respect.


    P.S I get a bit aspergers over colours, and that metallic blue colour of his bike is SOOOOO fabulous - love it!

  7. So exactly the way to grow old gracefully.

  8. I knew everyone would love this guy! How could you not? That blue is super spiffy and you know the basket is usually full of groceries tied down with an innertube. This is solid proof that we do not have to get infirm just because we age, a little adaptation and spunk go a long way.

  9. Ride on Mr. F, Ride on! I am sure it is one of the things that has kept him young. In the mid 70's I used to race, we had two brothers that were in their early 70's at the time. They were from Scotland, one rode a fixed gear track bike the other a Jack Taylor racing trike. We also had a retired pediatrician who was in her late 60's that completed a trans continental tour on an upright bike. I hope to still be riding for years to come.


  10. I am constantly amazed at the number of young people (under 70) that find it unusual that a geezer like me (over70) rides a bicycle with three baskets daily, usually loaded (the baskets not the geezer). I find it strange that they don't.
    When I grow up I want to be like Mr F. too.