June 2nd, 2015

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In honor of Father’s Day we’d like to share with you a special story about an inspirational PUBLIC rider, Gary Clemens, who is pictured above. We learned about Gary from his son, Deven, who writes about his dad:

“My dad was the primary caregiver to his wife and his mother and during that time didn’t have much of a chance to care for himself. When they both passed, we asked him to move back to the Bay Area to be near his grandkids and his family. He did and we decided to get him a PUBLIC bike so he could be more active. It gave him a new zest for life.”

It had been 30 years since Gary had ridden a bike when he took his first spin last year. Now he rides nearly every day, to do errands, with his grandkids and along the plentiful bike trails in Mill Valley, California just to take in the views. We’re so inspired by Gary and touched that Deven shared this story about his inspirational dad.

We interview Gary below about what biking means to him and how you’re never too old to change your life.

PUBLIC: After 30 years of not riding, what prompted you to pick up riding again?
Gary: The family and I were up in Tahoe and they convinced me that I could ride the bike trail and along the Truckee river. It had been 30 years since I was on a bike.

PUBLIC: How did it feel to ride a bike after being away from riding for so long?
Gary: It all came back to me but I was not steady and I was quite hesitant.

PUBLIC: What do you like best about riding a bike again?
Gary: It gets me out and helps with balance and getting the muscles moving. I feel so much better now that I am riding.

PUBLIC: What tips can you offer those who haven’t ridden in awhile and are interested in getting back into it?
Gary: You have to give it a try. You must find areas that are compatible with bike riding. I prefer flat ground along with small hills. I do not ride fast but I have worked up to a steady speed. I would also suggest that if you are looking to start riding a bike again you get one that is a step-thru bike. If the bike that I use to starting riding again was not a step through I may have not continued.

PUBLIC: How do you benefit from biking?
Gary: I find that riding my bike clears my head, improves my balance and I find that I am not as stiff. When I am walking, I find going up a hill is not a problem. I attribute this to my bike riding.

PUBLIC: Biking is a universal activity, yet it sometimes gets pegged as a sport for the youth. How does biking fit into your lifestyle?
Gary: When I am on the bike trail I see all kinds of people that ride as a sport fast and hard. I also see riders enjoying the outdoors moving slower and taking in the view.

PUBLIC: How does biking offer you freedom?
Gary: When I was a kid I definitely saw my bike as a form of freedom. Now, however, I see my bike as a way to get my exercise in and taking all the back roads that would be missed if you were driving.

PUBLIC: We heard a rumor that you were interested selling your car and just biking everywhere. Tell us a little more about why you would want to do that?
Gary: There are times when I do not take the car out for a week. Then you starting thinking the cars are expensive and you could save a lot of money by just relying on the bike. However I do travel longer distances and the weather can be a big factor so I may still need a car.

PUBLIC: Sounds like you ride with your family often. What family members do you ride with and where do you all ride?
Gary: I have had some great bike rides with my daughter in law and my son. Occasionally I will ride with my grandkids and we will have 3 generations on the bike path in Mill Valley, all on PUBLIC bikes. The whole family takes into consideration that I am moving a little slower than they are so it is nice to have them all around me so we can talk.

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Gary Clemens, cruising along in Mill Valley, California.