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Nothing to do? Biking may be the cure for what ails you

Staff writer

Tampa resident Larry Steiner, 84, takes every chance he gets to ride his three-wheeled recumbent bike in Marion County and beyond.

“I ride quite a bit just out of Tampa to Hillsboro and around the reservoir,” Steiner said.

He prefers riding on paved roads. Because of balance issues, he changed from a recumbent bicycle to a recumbent tricycle.

Besides riding in Marion County, he’s ridden in Bike Across Kansas and on a 1,106 mile Santa Fe Trail ride that begins in New Mexico.

He’s ridden all over Texas, Florida, Iowa, and Ohio.

“We appreciate everything everybody does when we’re on a bike ride,” he said. “It’s a really different life.”

Bike Across Kansas didn’t take place this year, but 300 people will meet Labor Day weekend at Great Bend to ride in a Bike Across Kansas reunion.

A lifelong Marion County resident, Steiner took up bike riding after he retired from over-the-road truck driving in 1996.

Before retirement, his job prevented him from getting enough exercise. He gained weight.

“I was having a lot of health problems,” he said. “I was smoking at the time. I quit smoking. When I quit smoking I ate more and gained more.”

Biking helped him lose weight.

“I went from 270 pounds to 173 now,” he said. “I worked a lot of weight off my feet. When you’re 270 pounds, what carries your weight is your feet.”

Now he feels 30. The downside is he sometimes overdoes things, and his 84-year-old body lets him know the next day.

He’s also had numerous joint replacements over the years.

“I’m more metal than I am bones now,” he said. “All of that limited the pain.”

Steiner has an electric bike with pedal assist on order

“If you want to just pedal, you just pedal, and if you want to go up a hill, you can let it assist you,” he said.

Newton resident Tim Buller, 47, is a gravel biking enthusiast who loves riding in Marion County.

He rode in the 2019 Tour de Florence and plans to do it again if the ride takes place this year.

His career is in computing, and he sometimes works in Goessel and Hillsboro.

“Occasionally, I’ll bring my bike along and ride in that area,” he said. “If I’m in the Flint Hills, I’ll go to Florence, Marion County Park and Lake, Lincolnville, Burns, and Cottonwood Falls.”

When riding his bike in the county, he likes to focus on creeks, rivers, and waterways, trying to figure out what goes where.

“I’m interested in those kinds of things,” he said.

He prefers riding along gravel roads.

“Basically it’s a road bike with wider tires,” he said. “It’s basically halfway between a road bike and a mountain bike.”

Buller agrees with Steiner that riding is good exercise.

“It’s also a good way to see new places,” he said. “I’m just out exploring.”

He especially enjoys riding south and east of Florence.

“It’s really nice in the Flint Hills,” he said. “It’s kind of open range. I just tell people to be careful and be friendly with the people on bikes out there,” he said.

Last modified July 1, 2021

 

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