What does retirement look like?

I admire those that ride across countries, traverse continents and those that just keep rolling.  Exploring.  Travelling light. Camping mostly.  They are adventurous.  And, they do it at all ages.  Young.  And, old.

Years ago, I was working in Castlegar, a small town in BC’s interior.  A mill town.  One day I went to a cafe in town for lunch and sat outside in the sun enjoying a sandwich and a cup of coffee.  As I sat there enjoying the rays, an elderly man rolled up on a road bike.  A touring bike not unlike my Roberts.  I asked him to join me.  What a story.  He was 75 years old.  Originally from England.  That year he had lost his wife.  His children were grown and long out of the house.  He decided he needed something more to do.  And, what did he decide?  Cycle across Canada.  Alone.

I never heard from him again.  I don’t know if he made it but I see no reason why not.  He had already cycled the toughest section of the country. I have always remembered this fellow.  He has been an inspiration.  I am not yet 75 but I am considering retiring soon.  My kids are grown and off the payroll.  What’s next?

I wonder what retirement might look like?  I am not one to sit for long.  Golf?  Too expensive.  House projects?  Done that but enjoy building.  Volunteer?  I can do that.  I have useful skills and experience.  Grandchildren?  I have one and hope to have more.  Cycle?  I am happiest when on the bike.  Retirement includes cycling.  A lot of cycling.  Every day.  Training.  Challenging myself to longer, steeper climbs.  Longer tides.  Day trips.  Weekends.  A month on the road each year I am able, exploring sea coasts and windy, rolling country roads.  The Oregon coast.  The California cost.  Circumnavigate Ireland.  Traverse Scotland.  France.  Italy.  And, Greece.

I can imagine renting cottages in the sun for a few months a year.  A place where the kids can visit when they can.  And, where the cycling is good.  Little road traffic.  Rolling, quiet country roads.  And, seaside vistas.

That’s what retirement looks like.

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16 thoughts on “What does retirement look like?

  1. Sounds like my partner…a long-time cycling advocate. You might want to wander over to front of my blog. There’s a link to cycle touring BC. Yes, he’s responsible for steering that collective blog…

    • Thanks Jean. That’s an interesting blog. I’d like to complete several of the rides outlined there. I was given a copy of Paul Wood’s book “Cycling British Columbia” for my birthday last year. It describes rides throughout the province and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get out there on 2 wheels.

    • I am pleased to hear that. It’s hard to know when to pull the plug. I have been cutting back the past 2 years and it just feels like the right time. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  4. I sometimes think my oldbatonabike should be aka the retirement blog.

    I notice you mention Scotland in your retirement fantasy. . We are enjoying an exceptionally warm sunny summer heer in UK. On Friday I am heading up to Scotland (About 500 miles)with my daughter to climb Ben Nevis and then cycle to Scafell Pike (the highest hill in England) and then cycle to Snowdon – (highest hill in Wales.) People try to do this’3 peak’ challenge in under 24 hours with driving in between. We are going for the eco friendly slower version.

    • These days, I am working less and biking more. It seems I am happiest when I am on the bike challenging myself to a longer distance, steeper climb or simply exploring.

      Your trip to Scotland sounds interesting and, luck you to be able to share the ride with your daughter. Do let me know how the trip goes. What you liked and, perhaps, what was not so pleasant. And, share pictures.

      Good luck.

  5. I hope you get to make the cross-Canada trip. I couldn’t wait for retirement so just turned up last year from the UK and pedaled off from Toronto to Vancouver. It’s an amazing country with really warm, friendly people, loved every minute, even the Rockies! Happy journeys.

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