LAMBERTON - A 71-year-old retired Red Rock Central High School science teacher finds health and satisfaction these days on his 27-inch, 21-speed, hybrid bicycle.
If the weather is nice, it isn't unusual for Ray Gorder to rise before the sun and ride his bicycle in and around town, logging each tenth of a mile with an odometer, then logging his mileage on a calendar with other things he does.
"I go to bed early, get up early, ride my bike, golf, take no medications, eat pretty much what I want, and feel good," Gorder said.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Retired Red Rock Central High School science teacher Ray Gorder stands next to his 21-speed, Schwinn bicycle he enjoys riding around Lamberton and in the Phoenix, Ariz. area during the winter months. He'll log 14,000 miles on the bike this year.
Admitting he weighed about 285 pounds a few years ago, Gorder began eating smaller portions of food and riding his bicycle whenever weather allowed. He now weighs about 210 pounds.
On a typical spring, summer or fall day, he'll ride his bike seven miles from Lamberton to the Sanborn golf course, golf nine holes, get back on his bike and ride home.
He takes his bicycle on camping trips. After New Year's he'll take it to Apache Junction (near Mesa), Ariz. where he'll spend January, February and March biking 50 to 60 miles a day, before returning to Lamberton.
"I ride the bike just about wherever I go if I can," Gorder said. "I enjoy seeing and hearing wildlife, most often birds, maybe a deer."
His bicycle has two battery-powered headlights, a flashing taillight and reflectors that enable him to ride in the darkness if he desires.
Gorder said he was bicycling in a wooded area while camping near Park Rapids a few years ago when he came upon a black bear in the road. He quickly turned the bike around and began peddling quickly the other way. The bear didn't chase him.
"I'd like to see more people riding bicycles. Most people don't know it's such a good thing," Gorder added. "It makes me feel refreshed."
His bicycle isn't ultra-light, but it is fairly light, with a thickly-padded seat. It is sort of a hybrid between a mountain and touring bike.
The only maintenance he regularly does is rotate tires. The rear tire wears about three times as fast as the front one, he said.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.