Meet an extraordinary Bike New York Member who recently rode the TD Five Boro Bike Tour… at age 87.
Bike New York Member Paul Kempner started cycling when he was 61 years old, and he hasn’t looked back. Now 87 years old, Paul rides his age in miles every year, and has recently been riding a grand total of 5,000 miles per year. This year, he finished the 87-mile ride in 6 hours and 25 minutes of pedaling, with 45 minutes of breaks. “After that 87 miles, I felt great,” he recalls. “I took a shower, we went out to dinner. It doesn’t get to me. I can go long distances. I can’t go fast anymore, but I can go forever without getting tired.”
In his 26 years of cycling, Paul has ridden in a variety of locations across the country and the world, including Iowa, Napa, and Tuscany—each one distinctly memorable in its own way. Concerning his cycling trips, Paul notes, “It’s a physical and mental trip. It feels good after you do it, physically and mentally.” The multifaceted benefits of cycling are one of Paul’s primary motivations to keep on pedaling. He explains that it’s the best activity he’s done for his health — “better than diet, better than anything.”
“I can’t go fast anymore, but I can go forever without getting tired.”
Paul just completed the TD Five Boro Bike Tour for the eighth time. Originally a New Yorker, his favorite part about the Tour is that it’s a real “New York scene”—it allows him and thousands of others to travel through the heart of New York without worrying about cars or pedestrians. He has ridden the Tour through all kinds of weather, including some persistent rain, and the unique journey through the car-free streets keeps him coming back.
Paul now spends his time in Florida and Connecticut, where he cycles six days per week, riding 35 miles each weekday and 40 or 45 miles on Saturdays. When in Florida, he has the advantage of riding with a group of peers, all of whom are in their 70s and 80s. Florida also has flat paths, which provide a significant benefit, as Paul is one of the many cyclists who view big hills as the hardest part of cycling. When he’s off his bike, Paul can be found spending time with his family, or playing the trombone recreationally in a number of jazz bands.
“It’s a physical and mental trip. It feels good after you do it, physically and mentally.”
When giving advice to aspiring or beginner cyclists, Paul recommends starting out strong. He elaborates, “If you do it three times a week for 35 to 40 minutes, you’ll be doing 20 miles in a month.”
Congratulations to Paul and everyone else who participated in the 2017 TD Five Boro Bike Tour! If you’re looking to start a cycling routine, try taking a page out of Paul’s book, and maybe we’ll see you next year. (Want to know more about our new Membership Program? Click here for details.)