Sports

80 year-old cyclist pedalling strong

Josephine Drage decked out in her cycling gear. - Britt Santowski
Josephine Drage decked out in her cycling gear.
— image credit: Britt Santowski

On May 26, 2014, Josephine Drage — who her friends know as Josie — entered into her eighth decade of life. She celebrated this milestone with over a hundred friends in Esquimalt. And though she might be aging gracefully, she is certainly not slowing down.

Four times a week, 80-year-old Josie loads her bike on the back of her diesel vehicle and drives to Victoria to cycle. She’s on a very structured schedule. On Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she cycles; on Tuesdays she golfs; and on Thursdays (in the wet months) she curls. Saturdays are her putter-around-the-home days, and then she bakes, cleans, does the laundry and generally enjoys her home.

“I like to be on the move,” she said. And one gets the feeling that sedentary down-time is a very rare occurrence in Josephine’s busy life.

Looking back, she says she led a pretty active lifestyle. Except for when her four kids were younger. Then, most of her time was spent doing things for them.

Josie took up (and excelled in) walking, speed walking and running. And in 2001, at 67 years old, Josephine started cycling.

For her efforts, she received a number of medals spanning the mid 1980s all the way to the late 90s.

She has slowed down a little because of a heart condition (she had heart surgery in 2006), but she’s still going strong.

When asked if she’s going fast enough, with a laugh in her eye she answers with an honest “No.” Aging does have it’s limitations, she admits. Hills slow her down, and when she needs to, she gets off her bike and walks the rest of a climb.

But one thing Father Time cannot take away from Josephine is her stamina.

“You have to have the energy and the will to persevere,” she said about cycling.

Her sister forewarned her that if she was going to ride, she was also going to fall. She’s okay with that.

“I’m not going to stop,” she says, showing the scars of five stitches under her chin. Josie recently took a spill that saw her flying off her bike, damaging her chin and teeth.

“I haven’t broken a bone yet,” she laughed.

Yes, she does go to Victoria to ride.

“This is not a place to be riding,” she said, referencing Sooke. Victoria has a much better infrastructure for cycling.

Victoria also has the support.

Josie is a member of the Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society (CCCTS), a group “formed in 1982,” according to their website at cccts.org.” In 1983, 35 members cycled from Victoria to St. John’s.” And while Josie has not cycled from coast to coast, she does participate in their short two- to three-day jaunts, both here in B.C. as well as in Ontario.

CCCTS meets three times a week in Victoria, on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Josie estimates there are about 100  people who periodically participate, ranging in age from 50 and up. On Fridays, Josie rides with a smaller group, also in Victoria.

Anyone interested in this cycling group should visit their website for the local day rides, cccts.org. Their website indicates that “We are a non-profit organization for active adults of all ages. Our members are mainly retired people and others who enjoy recreational cycling.”

 

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