LifeSpire residents and staff bike the Virginia Capital Trail

By Ann Lovell

Dee Brooking, 76, has owned her green Schwinn bike for more than 30 years. To celebrate Active Aging Week, she rode 20 miles on the Virginia Capital Trail with her husband, Curtis, 80, and other LifeSpire of Virginia residents.

RICHMOND, Virginia—Dee Brooking, 76, has owned her green Schwinn bike for more than 30 years. To celebrate active aging week, Brooking rode her green Schwinn from the Charles City Courthouse to the Jamestown Visitor Center, a distance of 20 miles on the Virginia Capital Trail. She joined 13 other LifeSpire of Virginia residents, staff and trustees — most over the age of 60.

The purpose of the ride was to celebrate active aging week and highlight the purpose of LifeSpire’s VBH Foundation, said Patricia Morris, LifeSpire vice president and head of the VBH Foundation. The foundation raises funds to help LifeSpire seniors who outlive their financial resources remain in their homes.

“It’s not a race,” Morris said. “It’s to prove you’re forever young.”

Mark Deardorff, 70, a resident of The Glebe, checks in with Pat Morris, LifeSpire vice president and head of the VBH Foundation. Deardorff, an avid cyclist, finished the 40 mile trail in just under 2.5 hours.

The bikers had the option of starting the trail at one of three starting points: Four Mile Creek trailhead at mile marker 40, Herring Creek trailhead at mile marker 27 and the Charles City Courthouse at mile marker 20. The trail is mostly flat and shaded for much of the 40-mile ride, with the exception of the bridge crossing the Chickahominy River. The ride ended at mile marker 0 — the Jamestown visitor center where Virginia Capital Bike Shuttle was available to shuttle riders back to their vehicles.

The oldest group of riders, which included Brooking, her husband, Curtis, 80, and Bob Hill, 80, started at Charles City Courthouse. All three live at The Culpeper, a LifeSpire of Virginia community in Culpeper. Other residents and staff from The Glebe in Daleville and The Chesapeake in Newport News started at mile markers 40 and 27, respectively.

“I feel like I’ve been in the Tour de France,” Brooking, a native of France, said as she crossed the finish line.

Mark Deardorff, 70, and Rachel Burks, 25, finished the ride first. Deardorff, a resident of The Glebe, is an active cyclist. Burks is The Glebe’s wellness coordinator. Both started at the 40-mile mark and finished in just under 2.5 hours.

“We averaged 16.7 miles per hour,” Deardorff said, checking his fitness watch just after the ride.

Every rider finished, and based on the results, LifeSpire’s VBH Foundation plans to host a similar event next year, Morris said.

“Everyone seemed to have a good time, and it was a beautiful day for a bike ride,” Morris said. “Given the way this turned out, we hope to open it up for registration and sponsorships next year.”

More details on next year’s event will be available in early 2018.

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.