Just 15 minutes with Peg and anyone will feel like they can be a superhero by simply pedaling their bike. Peg is now 83 years old and has pedaled over 1100 miles on trails, in the country and around her hometown, in the last 6 months …so far.
Peg shares with others how the methodic pedaling during a summer evening ride helps her feel very positive. Her bike has been a reliable companion, guiding her as she grieved the loss of a dear friend and empowering her through the isolation of COVID. With one short “easy does it” ride at a time, Peg inspires others to get outside, enjoy nature and improve their well-being on a bicycle.
The source of Peg’s enthusiasm is a simple odometer. She purchased it to go on the new step-through bike she bought 6 years ago, this little device has helped her realize what she is capable of. The stress-ridding rides are now a game in and of themselves, always ending on even 5 or 10 mile intervals. The small wins add up, her longest ride this year is 20 miles. With her kids and friends checking in for daily mileage reports from across town or across the country, Peg keeps setting new goals. This month she is confidently pedaling the RBG 87, we invite you to join her!
As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Peg if she had anything else she wanted me to know, she thought for a second and replied very clearly, “I love biking”
Who you are, your neighborhood, city and or town – My name is Peg Gallagher. I raised my family in Shawano, a population of approximately 9000 people, surrounded by scenic farmland and water, including Shawano Lake and the Wolf River.
Occupation and or major interests – For 31 years, I taught 1st and 2nd graders at the nearby Menominee Indian Reservation. I retired from teaching at 70; however, I like a challenge, like to keep busy and enjoy seeing people, so I continue to work in sales. At this time, I would prefer to be on the road, visiting my customers; however, I am fortunate I can do this from my desk at home, while looking out the window watching the cardinals and hummingbirds eat at my numerous bird feeders.
Why do you ride a bike – I developed a love for biking. Biking has served multiple purposes in my life. There is the obvious health benefit, and my children remind me of its benefit for maintaining good balance, which prevents falls. It has been an activity to focus on following loss of a loved one, and this summer, it has been an excellent activity to help cope during COVID-19.
Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, how has cycling impacted you and or your community – [Biking] has been an excellent activity to help cope during COVID-19. I am a socially active individual, and COVID-19 has restricted many of my daily activities, including working out at a local fitness center. Biking this summer has been an activity that I can safely partake in without risking my health. It has been a safe activity to engage in with friends and especially, with my daughter. As I enjoy my daily bike rides, I see other regular bike riders and always exchange greetings as we pass each other. Since I knew that I would have more time to myself because of COVID-19, I set the goal of riding my bike 1000 miles this year, and I am proud to say that I will achieve this goal.
Favorite memory on a bicycle – My most memorable ride was with my grand-daughter Andie when she was a youngster, possibly too young for the 11-mile ride on the trail from Shawano to Bonduel, because we had to call in recruits to give us a car ride back to Shawano.
If anything, what do you enjoy most about biking – Shawano is a bike-friendly community. It has the Mountain Bay Trail, which goes from Weston to Howard, with a paved portion that goes through Shawano. On some of my rides, I feel nostalgic and venture on the path out of town to the west, and ride into the country to the neighborhood on the river where I raised my son and two daughters. Other days, I am in the mood to ride the “Park to Park Loop” through Sturgeon Park to Kuckoo Park, then east of town on the path past the soccer complex, through the cemetery and then home. This summer, I have mostly enjoyed riding north and south on every street in my neighborhood.
Do you have any tips for new riders? – For my peers who want to begin bike riding as an ideal activity in the retirement years, I recommend going to a bike store for a proper fit. I love my easy step-through frame bike. I always wear a helmet and high visibility clothing. For safety reasons I also have a rear-view mirror attached to my handlebar.
What is your vision for safe bicycling in your community? – I hope that Shawano continues to add more bike lanes, and a path around Shawano Lake would be an awesome ride!