When it comes to winter cycling, I’m no trailblazer in my family. My grandfather, who’s 84 years old, cycles year-round come rain or snow. He lives in Romania (where I was born and lived when I was younger) and he has owned the same bike for as far back as I can remember.
Although he owns a car, he uses his bike for everyday errands like grocery shopping, going to the outdoor farmer’s market, paying bills in town, and riding over to visit friends. He drives when needing to go to other cities but prefers to bike when simply going around town. He prefers it to walking because it’s faster and – although he might not admit this – he prefers it to driving because it allows him to hop off and say hi to people every other block. My grandpa is what one would call a ‘social butterfly’ and you can’t walk or ride anywhere with him without stopping every few minutes to greet an acquaintance or talk to a friend.
In his former life, my grandfather was an accountant. Once he retired, he simply couldn’t sit still so he took up beekeeping. He’s been a successful beekeeper for the past twenty-some years and I can only vouch for it: he produces some of the best honey in town. Some of my happiest childhood memories involve being chased by bees and chewing on honey-soaked beeswax.
My grandfather has been married to my grandmother for over sixty years. He has a joie de vivre that I can only hope to have when I am their age. His has an energy that comes from having spent a life outdoors, pursuing the things that make him happy, and never letting life idly pass him by. He’s not deterred by numbers (his age, the temperature outside, the number of minutes it takes to bike rather than drive) when it comes to living in a way that feels good.
I want to one day be 84 years old, still married to my best friend, hopping on my bike to ride around town, and treating each day like a chance for a new adventure.