You Won’t Believe What This 80-Year-Old Did on Her Bike Friday



EDITOR’S NOTE: It has been nearly five years since Dolores McKeough sent us this email, reminding us that it’s never too late to chase your dreams!

Hi, I got home 24 hours ago.

What a fantastic, beautiful summer. The adventure, fun, stress, friends made, country seen, and on and on.

The trip started innocently enough with friend Cathy in Tampa on April 3. It ended yesterday after I biked from Malibu where I was camping with three companions, whom I met in Big Sur, to Santa Monica where I folded my Bike Friday into it’s suitcase (after I took the wheels off since it had been serving as my trailer).

So many good things happened on this extravaganza trip including the folding experience in Santa Monica. I didn’t want to disassemble the bike on the beach, although it was a beautiful day, there was too much sand.

So, I went to the REI store where Robbie, the bike repair manager, suggested I use part of his work space. What a generous offer. I took him up on it and had the trailer wheels and attachment off in no time. I then folded the bike (taking the accessories off is the most time consuming part of the process) and put it in the suitcase (the former trailer).

The suitcase with the bike weighed in at 52 pounds at the airport (even though it was two pounds over the allowance Suncountry let it go). My duffle bag with camping stuff, clothes etc weighed in at 28 pounds. And, I had two carry-ons.

So I figure the bike plus all my stuff was about 85 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to ride across the country and partly up and down two coasts. But, I did it and feel great.

I just added it up! I think I rode about 1,000+ miles from Mt. Dora, Florida, to Williamsburg, Virginia; then 4,500 TransAm miles from Richmond, Virginia, to Florence, Oregon; then 1,100 miles from Florence to Santa Monica California.

That’s 6,600 miles on my Bike Friday with 85 pounds, from April 3  til August 29. That impresses even me.

As you know it is not simply the miles that count but the terrain, the road surface, the elevation, the weather …

It was wonderful. The picture was taken North of San Francisco. Note the long sleeves; the weather did not warm up til Santa Barbara.


7 Responses

  1. Just wanted to add my congrats on a great summer of travel! I know someone locally who road a ways along the big sur area with you and he was impressed as am I. Thanks for sharing too. Wonder what your next ride will be?


  2. Hey Delores

    We did two rides together with Basil in Mexico. You were truly an inspiration. Looks from the pictures that you have a new Bike Friday or maybe my memory is not what it should be. Anyway you were a real inspiration for me and I often tell of the lady arriving on her BikeFriday, grey hair flying out from the helmet, all alone to a small town outside of Meridia. The group celebrated one of your milestone birthdays there.

    It was you and other riders on various tours in Mexico that convinced me that BikeFridays were real touring bikes and for me to become a happy BikeFriday owner.

    Obviously the years have gone on and you are still riding. Another great inspiration.

    May the rides continue.

    Graham Douglas

  3. It’s great to show people us octogenarians can still get around under our own steam, I only reached the magic 80 this summer but shortly I’m off from where I live in England (Penn) with my “New World Tourist” to the northern most part of the British Isles The Shetland Isles and Orkneys. With our train service it can sometimes be difficult to get your bike on a train, but if the worst happens it folds and becomes baggage. With that in mind my Bike Friday using rail has taken me to France and many times to Bonny Scotland. It’s not my only bike I have several normal cycles with 700c wheels and most weeks cover over 100 miles with my cycling club friends on one of them, so life doesn’t end at eighty, but maybe starts!!

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