Thursday, October 06, 2005

Long Time Woman

From an article about the Harmon Hundred bike ride in eastern Wisconsin comes the story of one amazing lady:

Phyllis Harmon is not new to cycling. She wasn't new to cycling when she founded the Wheeling Wheelmen in 1970, either. And chances are, she wasn't new to cycling when most of us were born. Phyllis has been bicycling since 1928.

When Phyllis was 12 years old, she saved up $28 to buy her first bicycle, a red single-speed Ernie McKay Special bike with 28-inch wheels.

"I'd bike to my grandfather's house seven miles away," she said. "Then we moved to nine miles from his house and I'd bike there."

In 1933, Phyllis biked to a picnic lunch in Des Plaines, which was 18 miles from her house, making for a 36-mile trip. At that point, she realized that she could ride long distances. When she was 15, she rode alone and without any bicycle gear 80 miles from her house to Tichigan, a lake in Wisconsin.

Since then, her love of cycling has yet to cease. Savio said that Phyllis has been a member of the League of American Bicyclists (formerly the League of American Wheelmen) since 1937. She is also the past director, vice president of the league and editor of the national magazine. Currently, she's the Honorary Director of the league.

Phyllis started many area cycling clubs besides the Wheeling Wheelmen. "We kid her as being the mother of all bicycling clubs," Savio said.

At age 73, Phyllis cycled across America. She also has led seven tours of New Zealand. And today, at 85, she still tries to bike despite some minor setbacks.

"I've shrunk three and a half inches," she said. "As a result, it's harder to get on and off. Those are the frustrating things about getting older."

1 comment:

Nancy said...

That's really amazing!