My friend likes to tell a story of a 103 year-old man she traveled with aboard a riverboat on the Danube. She was helping the passengers pick out bicycles to ride along the river’s winding banks when the man, Mr. Graham, got up on two squeaky wheels and peddled along the water, leaving his fellow passengers in the European dust. With each turn of the wheels, Mr. Graham shattered everyone’s preconceived notions of what it meant to be elderly.
When he returned, the group asked Mr. Graham when he felt a person was “old.” At first, he didn’t have an answer. He scratched his head and stared at his dusty shoes, thinking. His fellow travelers probably expected a number like 80 or 90, or even 100 (100 is the new 90, by the way) but Mr. Graham thought otherwise. Eventually, he raised his head to the group.
“I guess when you can’t ride a bike anymore,” he said, with a boyish grin running from hearing aid to hearing aid.