On October 4, Spencer Halper spent his birthday a little differently than most people turning 85. He pedaled 85 miles with companions from his local bike club, the 600-member Princeton Free Wheelers, traveling one mile for every year of his life.
He began this annual tradition at age 80 and is still going strong.
“I took up biking at age 71 and I continue to enjoy it for the health benefits and the camaraderie,” Spencer explains. “It’s a little challenging at my age, but that’s part of what keeps me motivated.”
The birthday ride featured several breaks—including one with birthday cake—and took about seven hours to complete, with bikers averaging 14 mph. Spencer concluded the day with a celebratory dinner with family.
Spencer rides three to four times a week, and he stresses the importance of weight training on the off days to strengthen his bones to protect them from fractures and improve his stamina.
Like many residents at Applewood, CentraState’s senior living residence, Spencer also serves his community. He’s active in the Trenton Boys/Girls Club Bicycle Exchange, a volunteer-led organization that repairs donated bicycles and sells them at modest prices at a store in Ewing, NJ. Sal Milazzo, his friend and Applewood neighbor, helps repair bikes and ready them for resale. Since 2009, the Bicycle Exchange volunteers have repaired and sold 20,000 bicycles and raised $1 million to support the Boys/Girls Club.
The former sales and marketing executive also has brought his love for riding to his home community at Applewood. At his suggestion, the facility has added adult trikes and beach bikes for resident use.
“They take care of everything at Applewood—it’s like living in a luxury hotel,” he says. “And with the addition of the bikes, residents now have a wonderful new activity to enjoy.”