Bellevue man active in retirement

BELLEVUE For a Bellevue man, retirement has brought happiness. But in cycling, he has
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

BELLEVUE

For a Bellevue man, retirement has brought happiness.

But in cycling, he has found his true passion.

Bob Forney, 75, who retired from Visteon several years ago, stays fit by going to the gym seven days a week. He incorporates weights, machines and treadmill walks, along with his daily cycling.

His wife, Dorothy, jokes about saying grace every time her husband takes handfuls of vitamins he believes keep him young.

"If he hears about something being good for the liver, he'll get it," she explained. "If it's good for the kidneys, we buy it."

Weight was an issue for Forney in the early 90s and looking to get in shape and shed pounds, he began walking, jogging and running.

He took on 5 and 10K marathons and graduated to biathlons. With a cheap bike, he realized this could definitely be a new source of enjoyment for him.

"I realized, 'hey, I like this,'" he said.

He bought a better bike and joined area organizations like the Lions Club that sponsored weekend or yearly rides to promote awareness for different causes, sometimes riding 105 miles a day.

His most recent bike, a Trek 5900, has 30 gears, weighs 15 pounds and came complete with a computer that tracks daily and yearly mileage; he has biked 3,175 miles since spring.

The price tag? Close to $6,500 with two new wheels costing a whopping $1,100.

Gone April through the summer on destinations that take him three or even 400 miles around the country, his wife Dorothy is supportive, enjoying her own activities.

"I'm glad he's enjoying this. If he was around the house all the time he'd drive me crazy," she said, laughing.

At first she was a little intimidated by the long rides and dangerous impacts, but she is happy her husband is happy, even if he's traveling his record 10,281 miles a year.

"I'm a bike widow," she chuckled, "No matter where we go, a bike is involved, he even takes his bike with us to buy a car, if it doesn't fit, he doesn't buy."

Thanksgiving 2002 landed him in the hospital from an impact that threw him off his bike and straight onto his face. Nose, cheek and skull fractures, 28 sutures, torn rotator cuff, and a concussion didn't keep him from his passion.

"If it wasn't for a helmet, I would have died."

Even after a second accident left him with three compound fractures of the spine, he wasn't kept down.

"I'm a slow learner," he explained laughing. "I only got C's, D's and a few F's in school, this wasn't going to scare me out of riding."

Approaching his 76 birthday, Forney was the first to sign up for a ride to take off at Cedar Point and bike into Chicago for the July 4th parade.

Sponsored by the Lions Club program, SightFirst, the 300-mile trek would have taken riders through towns for donations that go toward vision correction around the world. The ride was canceled last week because the sponsor dropping out.

Although disappointed, Forney will ride on.

Preparing to attend a funeral of a fellow biker who was hit, Forney and his wife agreed that if fate were to take him, he'd at least be at his best.

"The family will always remember him as a biker," Dorothy said proudly pointing out her husband's bicycle tattoo their daughter and son-in-law gave as a gift in 1998. "If he were to go tomorrow, at least he'd being doing something he loved, and dressed in his gear."