93-year-old Clarence Boesenberg is an inspirational, avid bicyclist who bikes thousands of miles each year. He has done every mile of RAGBRAI, doing his first one at the age of 86. His daily trips consist of anywhere from 20 miles – to up to a hundred miles each time.
Clarence got into riding when his wife had a stroke at 53 and was paralyzed on one side. He took care of her for 25 years up until she passed away. “I really got into biking about 20 years ago. My knees got bad and it bothered me to walk, but I could bike. That’s how I got started biking and, I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Boesenberg during a recent interview on the JustGoBike Podcast.
His son had always done RAGBBRAI and in 2012, Clarence did his first. “I thought that’d be a really a neat thing to do, but I didn’t know if I could do it or not. So I started training and, in 2012, I done my first RAGBRAI, I got along fine,” remarked Boesenberg.
What type of bike does Clarence choose? “I had an old 10 speed Schwinn and I rode that on the Ragbrai up until two years ago. Finally decided I needed a few more gears for the hills. So I got a new bike two years ago.” He said this one is aluminum.
The Cedar Rapids resident reached his goal to ride 9,000 miles before the end of the year in honor of his 90th birthday. He exceeded his goal and reached 9540 miles. “I got 9,540 miles before the weather got bad in December. I was going to try to make 10,000, but I didn’t. But I did set the goal for nine-century rides and I got in 10-century rides that year,” Boesenberg said about his accomplishment.
Clarence’s goal is to have his odometer on his bike reach 100,000 miles. He is currently at 90,000 miles and has been keeping track for 20 years. Clarence added, “I’ve always kind of set goals and I think maybe if you set a goal, it doesn’t have to be a big goal. Just set a goal and see if you can do it and work up from there.”
When Clarence is not biking, he enjoys his garden and yard. He grows flowers and vegetables. Clarence has said how much he loves the outdoors and enjoys being in the fresh air and sunshine. He also volunteer’s in his community with Meals on Wheels, sometimes up to 5 days a week. Clarence joked, “All of them I deliver to are younger than I am.”
When asked what is it about bicycling that keeps him coming back and wanting to do another ride?, Clarence remarked, “Well, I just enjoy doing it so much. And I am an outdoors person. I enjoy being out in the fresh air and sunshine. I just enjoy getting out and seeing the countryside. I grew up on a farm, so I watch the crops mature and there’s a lot of wildlife along, along the trails. I just enjoy seeing that.”