A stout group of seniors living in Green Valley is pounding pedals for health, good humor, and camaraderie. The Posada Pedelers take to the road most weeks around their homes, down to Tubac, and around Tucson including on the Chuck Huckelberry Loop.
Hank Deutsch and Tom Wilsted previously formed the Green Valley Recreation Cycling Club. But when they moved to La Posada of Green Valley, they agreed to try forming a new riding group, which became the Posada Pedalers.
People have been cycling on the La Posada campus for more than a dozen years. As the campus expanded, Tom said, adding that La Posada purchased trikes for use by La Posada residents for exercise as well as for traveling from one campus location to another.
As well, La Posada provides regular maintenance for the trikes and has a bike safety program including free helmets for residents.
"We are so very grateful for the strong support from the enthusiastic La Posada administration for the establishment and community programs of our unique group," Hank said. "We have developed a varied cycling program that focuses on our members' limitations due to age and health. Some ride regular bicycles while others ride tricycles and recumbent cycles."
The multi-faceted bicycling program at La Posada is a collaboration among management, staff, and the many active residents in the 130-acre senior community. There are many road cyclists among the 750 residents who live at La Posada.
The group organizes three rides each month – two shorter rides just on campus and a longer one off campus. The group has regular meetings with topics of interest to cyclists. “We have had a local bike shop owner talk about the purchase and maintenance of e-trikes and how to use the bike-repair station the La Posada staff purchased," Tom said, adding that the group has sponsored special rides including a reindeer ride led by Santa as well as a Halloween ride.
“Riders are encouraged to dress up as well as decorate their bikes,” he added, sharing a quote in their newsletter by H.G. Wells: "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”
La Posada was recognized earlier this year as a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Cyclists, joining more than 1,500 businesses across the country that contribute to the movement, working to build a more bicycle-friendly America. La Posada is the first and only adult community in the country to be recognized at this level.
The Pedalers actively maintain connections with cycling groups in the Green Valley, Sahuarita, and Tucson, often in support of community service projects. La Posada is building a new community in the Catalina Foothills near Pusch Ridge, and bicycles will most certainly be a part of it.
"Given our discussions thus far with future residents of our La Posada at Pusch Ridge community, there appears to be strong interest in cycling, hiking, and other outdoor activities… we can’t wait to see what develops!," said Paul Loomans, SVP – Strategy & Marketing at La Posada at Green Valley.
Some riders will ride their trikes to exercise classes at the La Posada Pavilion where they participate in cardio fitness, water aerobics, or other programs, and then ride their trikes home afterward, Tom said. Other riders have regular routines of riding daily or several times each week from 10-30 miles. Tom said Green Valley has good bike lanes for riding and riding within La Posada is a safe locale and one can easily ride 5-10 miles just on campus.
La Posada has residents who range from their late 60s into their 100s, according to Tom. "The Posada Pedalers are mostly in their 70s into their mid-80s. Members of the group ride both trikes and standard bikes. Sponsored rides range from 5 to 15 miles which individual riders may ride on their own or with other groups from 30 to 50 miles."
“Most of our riders enjoy the pleasure of the exercise and the fresh air. Individuals have ridden in the Local Ride of Silence honoring cyclists who have died or been injured while riding," Tom said, adding that they volunteered recently at a local aid station for the El Tour de Tucson event.
“We ride with and cooperate with other riding groups including the Green Valley Recreation Cycling Club and the Cyclists of Quail Creek. There are also local riding groups that our members sometimes join for rides to Tubac and other areas nearby,” Tom said.
"Riders are encouraged to dress up as well as decorate their bikes."