While physical fitness is just one part of total wellbeing, it is likely the first component people consider when thinking about wellness. There are many opportunities to improve physical fitness at Lakeview Village, including group exercise classes, aquatic fitness and a well-equipped gym. Some days, however, nothing beats the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. In those situations, cycling is a great way to burn calories, build strength and enjoy the great outdoors.
Al Pope started riding as a youth, and really never stopped.
“My friends were, and I was and that was the thing,” Al said. “In the third grade, we could ride our bikes to school, so that was a big deal.”
Al continued to ride in adulthood because it was one of two exercises Dwight D. Eisenhower’s doctor said you can do all your life with little negative impact on your body (swimming is the other). He started tracking his miles in 1980, and has kept a running tally ever since. He recently reached a milestone, which he protests is, “no big deal.”
Larry Lust is a more recent convert to cycling, picking up the sport around 2010. He used to be a runner, but due to back issues, needed to find a substitute. He now rides around five days a week and gets in 30 to 35 miles.
“I enjoy the solitude and the end of the ride, “ Larry said.
Dick Weaver took up bicycling as an additional way to reenergize after a long day of meetings.
“Before we moved to Lakeview Village, we were in a more rural community, and I had an 11 mile route I would ride for speed,” Dick said.
Since moving to Lakeview, Dick has ridden with fellow cyclist and Lakeview resident Emerson Hartzler on the Johnson County Trail accessed via Prairie Star Parkway.
“The trails are fun, but the problem is there are several busy thoroughfares between here and there,” Dick said.
Emerson Hartzler has been cycling seriously since 1996, when his friend challenged him to complete the “Biking Across Kansas” ride. Emerson took up the challenge, along with his son Jeff. The two experienced the 8-day, 500-mile trek together.
“I learned one never makes up a 21-year difference in age, and I think Jeff enjoyed waiting for me at the top of some hills,” Emerson said.
Weather permitting, Emerson rides a couple of times a week, and usually gets in 25-30 miles a ride.
“A ride in the park, especially in the spring and fall, is very pretty and peaceful,” Emerson said.
Larry cautions that all cyclists should wear a helmet.
“I have been hit three times by automobiles and each time my helmet saved me from serious head injuries. When I was hit by a pickup doing 65 MPH, the helmet saved my life,” he said.
Emerson enjoys riding with other cyclists.
“It is always more fun to ride with other people, especially those you can leave in the dust if the spirit moves,” Emerson said. “John Young just bought an e-bike, and now I can’t keep up with him. Larry Lust is an avid cyclist, but you don’t want to try keeping up with him!”
Unlike Emerson, Larry and Al prefer to ride alone, albeit for different reasons. For Larry, the solitude of cycling alone is a major draw, while Al has slightly different reasons for going solo.
“I am literally the slowest rider on the planet. I cannot ride in groups, because I can’t keep up!” Al said.
Slow and steady may be is modis operandi, but Al has participated in the Bike Across Kansas and MS 150s, long rides benefitting Multiple Sclerosis research.
Dick and his best friend and fellow Lakeview resident John Young have ridden in some road races as well.
“John and I rode in the Oklahoma Freewheel. We rode for three days and averaged 70 miles a day,” Dick said. “Then we decided we’d had a great time and we’d had enough!”
Al sets a mileage goal every year and starts riding on April 1 – April Fool’s Day. Then he keeps riding until he meets, or betters, his target.
“I never ride more than a mile and a half from campus, but I average about 40 miles per week, “ he said.
Dick enjoys cycling because it allows him to stay in shape for tennis and snow skiing, two sports he is very passionate about.
“This was my 32nd straight year of skiing in Colorado with John Young,” Dick said. “But you don’t get to do that if you don’t stay fit. Your body couldn’t handle it.”
Physical fitness affords Dick to opportunity to continue to be active in sports, but it’s not just the physical that keeps him jogging, cycling and staying fit.
“To me wellness and physical fitness is directly connected to my emotional well-being. I don’t feel depressed and so on when I’m able to run and work out,” he said.