By Floyd Ingram
HOUSTON – Pedaling 80 miles on his 80th birthday is no big deal to Bob Chamblee.
Chamblee and his cycling buddies hopped on the Tanglefoot Trail this weekend and rode from Houston to New Albany – and back – to mark Chamblee’s special day.
“This is the first time I have done this much,” said Chamblee. “I rode from Houston to New Albany a couple of weeks ago and it wasn’t that bad.”
And this from a man who didn’t own a bicycle four months ago.
“I heard about the Trail and I’ve always tried to stay active,” said Chamblee. “I bought a bike and started riding.”
Chamblee has had surgery on both knees. He said he was told cycling was easier on joints than running or walking.
“I started doing a couple of miles a day and have worked my way up,” said Chamblee, who retired from the lumber business years ago. “I’ve made some friends with this bike, with people I’ve met along the trail. We ride from Houston to Houlka just about every afternoon.”
That is 10 miles – one way. He estimates he rides about 100 miles a week.
Chamblee said he enjoys the quiet, scenic ride on the Tanglefoot Trail.
He said he bought a cross between a racing bike and a mountain bike. He pointed out the Trail is hard-surfaced but he wanted to ride upright. He has outfitted his Schwinn hybrid with odometer/speedometer, a headlight, water bottle and a wider seat.
He said the afternoon crew rides a pretty fast clip and he goes a little slower on his weekend treks up and down the trail. Chamblee lives in Houston, about three blocks from the trail.
“My two daughters ride with me and I’ve talked a couple of guys into getting back on a bike and getting a little exercise and having a little fun,” said Chamblee. “I urge anyone thinking about doing this to ride a couple of bikes and find one they are comfortable with. Then start slow and small and work your way up.”
Chamblee said he loves the outdoors and has always lived a fast-paced life. He said cycling fit his nature.
Chamblee said he didn’t get started cycling to get in shape but he has seen a difference.
“I was weighing about 238 when I started and I’m about an even 200 now,” said Chamblee. “I can’t say I feel a whole lot better, but I have made a whole lot of new friends on this bike.”