Over the weekend I was out on a bike ride and couldn’t help but think about my dad. I would say I am a biker because of his influence. April 29th 2012 is my dad’s 92nd birthday, and he is still biking. I won’t be there to celebrate with him in person, but I figured the next best treat would be to share with the world something that I love about him and find truly inspiring. If this article inspires you, send it on – to celebrate Biking John Clarke.
Likely, I am either sitting in an airport or somewhere in the sky between Montana and Baltimore. I am hoping you are celebrating your 92nd birthday either biking to McDonald’s for breakfast or taking an afternoon ride to the ice cream parlor.
I am not quite certain when your love of biking began. I do remember hearing stories of you and Uncle Corny (your older brother) taking some interesting trips. A ride from Richmond to Virginia Beach before highway 95 opened or the two of you biking on the sandy beaches in fat tire bikes from Virginia beach down to Nags Head, NC. I don’t know all the details of those trips but they sounded like fun.
I believe I took my first bike ride to Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House with you around the age of five or six. It was the family Saturday morning breakfast ride. As a family we regularly rode to places for breakfast or ice cream – two of your favorite motivators.
Biking is a passion of yours, and I have no doubt, a big part of why you are still ticking and riding well into your senior years. There are many who ride faster and some who have covered more miles, but few who have been as passionate promoting the benefits of biking as you.
Back in Richmond, Virginia you started many standing club rides that are still going long after you moved to the west coast. Your bike got you on the cover of Bike Magazine, riding your three speed wearing your suit to work at Ginter Park, elementary school. I think this also gave you a good story on the Bill Crosby Show. I even remember you making it into the Seattle Times newspaper after the earthquake. As I recall, you were thrilled and a bit relieved, to learn from a crowd outside of the capital in Olympia, that there had been an earth quake instead of your fear that you had just had another stroke while out riding.
You have many fans on both coast who tell stories of riding with you. My stories are mostly positive. Of course, there were a few times when we got lost, or I thought you took the longest route possible; but honestly, I am incredibly proud and inspired by your passion and commitment to biking.
We are very different types of riders. I prefer getting from point A to B as fast as possible, and you, I think enjoy the scenery. I also believe biking is social for you since you have friends all over the country who will tell a story of riding some where, usually for food or drink with you. I tend to go solo.
As bring this post to a close, I find myself wishing I was there in Olympia with you riding to celebrate your life! Instead, I am sending this out to all the folks I know. Letting them know what an inspiration you are to me. I hope you are riding for many more years!! Happy Birthday Dad!!