Septuagenarian Biker Having A Blast
At age 76, Raquel Asinas bought her first bike, a tricycle, last November — and it has changed her life.
“I’m more active, more alert and I feel stronger,” she explains. “And look at my arms. At my age, it’s supposed to be sagging, but it’s not.”
Asinas, who turns 77 June 6, stopped driving in 2007 after she was in a car accident that totaled her car and left her feeling nervous anytime she was behind the wheel. So, when she saw the trike on sale, she saw it as a way for her to get around, shop and get some exercise. She purchased it for about $300 and says she’s been using it every day.
“I can take it to go shopping because there’s a big basket, and it’s safer for me to ride instead of a regular bicycle,” explains Asinas, a retired City and County real property assessment tax clerk. “And then I also found that it’s fun, and you meet a lot of people. Everybody tells me, ‘You look good on your bicycle,’ even little kids. They always say, ‘Look, Mommy, look at her, she has a cool bicycle.’”
Before this tricycle, Asinas says the last time she rode a bike was probably in high school in the Philippines. At first, she admits it took some getting used to. She would ride around her apartment building, which is situated on a 6-acre property, to practice using the brakes and turning. After just a couple of weeks, she felt more comfortable and confident to venture outside of her neighborhood.
For safety, she added reflectors, a horn and a flag, and even got her tricycle blessed by the pastor at a nearby church. She also decorated her bike, including with a handmade fabric cover for the basket. She rides her tricycle every morning from her apartment in Pearl City to McDonald’s up the street on Waimano Home Road (yes, she has to pedal uphill), where she meets with some friends and gets her coffee.
“When I’m going uphill, it’s really a struggle and everything is working — your arms and legs,” she says. “I want to encourage other retirees to do this, too. I used to walk a lot, but the problem with walking is I have heel spurs, so it’s hard for me to go walking. Riding a bike, you’re active, you’re alert, so it’s good mentally and physically; and you’re outdoor meeting people, so emotionally too.
“My doctor asked me (during her annual checkup in March),’ how come you look younger from one year ago?’ I’ve lost some weight and my body looks toner. I have muscles now. And riding a bike makes you feel like a kid again.”