Bicyclist of the Week: William Jones, 72

October 23, 2013–New York, NY–By Jen Benepe

William Jones, 72, was standing outside the 77th street radiology clinic this past Monday. That’s where he gets his annual check up for cancer.

William grew up in Kentucky, served in the U.S. army during the 1962 Berlin crisis. When he returned to the U.S. he came to New York City and has been living here ever since.

William started riding a bike in 1976 during the Mass Transit Authority strike, “And I haven’t stopped since,” he said. When he lived in Brooklyn, he used to rollerblade from Brooklyn to the Bronx all the time.

William rides everywhere with his trusty Dahon. “I ride everywhere I go, I use the bike as often as I can,” he said. And he even rides in the snow.

He lives in the Bronx now, and rides everywhere, to Manhattan, and Brooklyn mostly.

On the front of his bike he’s taped a small camera to record his rides, not in case he has an accident, but to use the video to make a CD compilation of his rides, something to look at when he’s riding indoors.  “So I don’t get bored.”

Indoors, William uses an elliptical treadmill and exercise bike, doing 100 repetitions on each one 5 to 6 times on each machine, every day which he said is about 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Are there any weather conditions that give him pause? “When there’s a lot of wind,” he said, because once when he was riding on a very windy day, the wind knocked him off his bike.

Three years ago William was diagnosed with bladder cancer. “You should have seen me in 2010, I looked like I was leaving this world,” he said.

After he finished cancer treatments, and underwent an operation to shore up his bladder using his own intestine for repairs, he asked his doctor what he could do to feel better, and his doctor told William to start riding his bike again.

William retired from the Jewish Home for the Aged on 106th St. on the west side not too long ago. He worked as a cook there.  But he still bikes, kick bikes and roller blades too.

Oh and what’s with the hard hat helmet? Jones says he picked it up somewhere, it wasn’t too expensive, and he wears it all the time. It’s fastened to his head with thick string.

Isn’t he worried that it might not work in a crash? “Not at all,” he says knocking on the side of the hard hat. But, does he think the side of his head is protected? The author is wondering maybe if he would accept a helmet as a gift.

No this one is fine he says, “it’s my good luck helmet,” he adds.

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