Bike riders save gas, curb pollution – and have a blast


Staff writer

Rossmoor residents are among those who have opted to ride a bicycle rather than drive a car to their favorite places.

They enjoy their rides for the pleasure they bring, the camaraderie and the exercise, among other things.

“I started (bike riding) when I was 50 and I’m 75,” said Raphael Danziger.

He looks trim and healthy. The previous weekend, he rode his bike up Mt. Diablo.

He rides for pleasure outside of Rossmoor, but interestingly trains for his rides on Rossmoor streets, and steep hills. A ride up Ptarmigan Drive helps prepare him for his rides up Mt. Diablo.

Bike riding is good exercise, he said. “It’s more fun than going to a gym.”

On this particular Tuesday morning, Danziger met up with four Rossmoor friends for an 18-mile ride to and from a favorite Danville coffee shop.

As cars whizzed by on Danville Boulevard, they took a break at the shady trailhead. It was the middle of a heat wave, but the five bicycling enthusiasts were looking forward to their ride on the Iron Horse Trail.

The four men and one woman weren’t oblivious to the 87-degree heat at 9:30. But the thought of riding with the wind on their faces while getting some exercise was uppermost on their minds.

It was a diverse bunch with riders ranging in age from 61 to 83. Most rode bikes as youngsters, but became serious riders in their middle age. The Rossmoor group rides on CYCLISTS: Took recent ride to Danville

Tuesdays to Danville and Fridays to Moraga.

Larry Fredricks, 61, said he’s been riding since he was a youngster. He joked that he has trouble keeping up with the older riders, pointing to Dick Powell, 83.

“I didn’t start riding until 1970. … By 1976, I owned a bike shop,” Powell said. He also had a bicycle tour company. This September, he’s leading a weeklong bike tour to Normandy.

Powell started the bike group in 2014.

“It started with a few people from the Fitness Center. I used to be on the Fitness Advisory Committee. We’ve added more people over the years. There are 20 to 30 people although they don’t all ride at once.”

Residents come along for the exercise and camaraderie, Powell said. He enjoys the wind on his face and being able to smell the flowers he passes.

These days, he rides a tandem bike with electric assist. “You still have to pedal,” he said. But, he added, you get a boost of energy.

Powell wasn’t sure he’d like riding a tandem bike, but soon realized that he does.

His usual bicycling partner is his friend, Jane Brown. “We’re Dick and Jane,” he said. “Between us, we’ve got 162 years.”

She rode when she was younger and took it back up when she moved to Rossmoor and met Powell.

“I love it,” she said of the rides and the bicycle built for two. “I don’t have to steer or do much of anything, just pedal.”

June 18, 2019