Rolling Along

By Bruce McLellan | Living 50 Plus

You might say Lewis White’s love of cycling started out of necessity.
“In college I worked at Walmart,” he said.

“I didn’t have a car, so I rode a bike to work. From
that point forward, I’ve been riding a bike nearly every day.”
Now 56 and principal at Priceville High School,
White rides a bicycle 80 to 100 miles a week and
credits it for keeping him healthy. He also won his
weight division in a regional series of bicycle races
last year.

However, fitness and racing aren’t the primary
motivation for cycling.
“It’s my love of riding the bike,” he said. “If I don’t
ride for two days, I miss it. I guess I have a weird
addiction to it.”

He does think cycling has benefited his health.
During the 18 years he worked at Austin High in
Decatur, he had one six-year stretch when he didn’t
miss a day of school. His good health has continued
since he began working at Priceville High, where he
was promoted to principal in March.

“I’ve been here five years, and I bet I haven’t
missed five days,” he said. “I guess that’s the big
benefit for me is the fitness. Educators are not the
healthiest group of people in the world. To be 56 and
still ride 20 miles a day, I’m the odd man out. But I
feel the benefits of it.”

He said he would recommend cycling to other
seniors because it isn’t as stressful on joints and
other parts of the body as activities such as running.
“It’s low-impact,” he said. “This is a great way
to stay fit. In the perfect world for me, there’s no
pavement and everybody rides a bike.”

CYCLING PATHS
White lives in Decatur with his wife, Nina, and he said
the area also has an abundance of safe places for cycling,
including the Bill Sims Trail that covers more than 17
miles, much of on dedicated biking/walking paths.
“That Bill Sims Trail, there’s almost nowhere in
Decatur you can’t get to it pretty easily.”

The trail is ideal for senior cyclists and walkers,
according to its namesake, Dr. Bill Sims.
“A lot of people when they get to be a senior, don’t
really want to get on a busy highway,” Sims said. “For
the most part, it’s safely off the street.”

Like White, Sims says cycling has advantages for
seniors.

“You can go at your own pace,” he said. “You don’t
have to be an Olympic rider. You can go more slowly.”

White said another plus of cycling, regardless of the
rider’s age, is that it doesn’t require a large investment, even
to get a higher quality bicycle that won’t require constant
maintenance.

“For a couple of hundred dollars … you can get a good used
bicycle,” he said. “You want the dependability of not working
on it every day.”

LOVE OF RACING
White has a competitive streak, having coached basketball,
football and soccer during his education career, and he has
raced since 1987. In 2020, he competed in a regional series
of USA Cycling-affiliated races for North Carolina, Georgia,
Alabama and Tennessee and won the Clydesdale Division, for
cyclists weighing 200 to 240 pounds.

The series was able to hold its scheduled races amid the
pandemic by switching from pack starts to a staggered time
trial starts for individual cyclists. White didn’t win any races
but consistently finished in the top five to accumulate enough
points to win the season-long title.

He said his goal is to ride at least 90 miles a week, and he
usually is 10 miles above or below that goal.

“I meet it most of the time,” he said. “(Priceville) basketball
games and weather are the two things that will stop me from
making it.

“Cycling. I couldn’t imagine not doing it.”

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