Biking the Bayou One Man’s Journey from Couch to Concrete

Toledo native Tom Scheib transplanted to a new home and has established roots in the “Big Easy.” Scheib, an Anthony Wayne High School graduate, has many fond memories of his northwestern Ohio childhood. He recently turned a childhood pleasure into a new life focus. “My most significant memory of riding a bike was when I was six years old. I had a red, single-speed Schwinn Flyer. I loved that bike,” recalls Scheib. “At the time, we had a cottage up at Wamplers Lake and I enjoyed riding there. That was my fondest memory of riding until I was 63. In the time span in between 6 and 63, I really didn’t ride that much. My father died of a coronary at age 59. I was motivated to ride again thanks to a wake-up call from my brutally honest physician. I was overweight, my cholesterol was high and I felt sluggish. It was suggested to me that I exercise. I started walking on a regular basis. During one of my walks, my neighbor across the street, Wiley Bird, came over and invited me to go biking. Wiley and his friend Cliff Crafton have always been up to something aerobic since they were young. I told Wiley I was trying to get my blood pressure and cholesterol under control—along with a myriad of other issues by walking. He asked if I was interested in bicycling. Even though it was slow and difficult to pedal, I pulled out my old Murray bike and I started to go riding with them. That was five years ago and, no pun intended, haven’t looked back.”

Tom Scheib and Wiley Bird spin their wheels toward good health.
Tom Scheib and Wiley Bird spin their wheels toward good health.

Got equipment?

Scheib quickly learned the importance of having good equipment. “It’s important to have a good bike when you make the decision to cycle,” states Scheib. “There are considerable differences in gears, tires, seats, etc. I made a commitment and bought my current specialized bike on sale at a local bike shop.” Scheib believes that the weight and comfort of the bike are extremely important. “If you’re uncomfortable you are not going to continue riding,” he says. “Some people go out and see these heavy bikes with shock absorbers and big seats and they think, ‘Wow, this is a bike made for comfort.’ You will be surprised if you invest in that kind of bike. This kind of bike forces you to ride upright and the big seats, that look comfortable, aren’t. Actually, a larger seat leads to more friction and frankly chaffing. Also, I’ve found those little shock absorbers don’t do the job. Now, with my upgraded equipment, when I pedal, I’m going somewhere!”

Biking, Brotherhood and Beer

One of the things that led Scheib to keep his longevity in the sport is the availability of bike trails and paths in this country. “Mix in friends and fun and it keeps you coming back for more,” he declares. “It was hard for me to keep my interest and stay motivated on a treadmill. I really enjoy the great outdoors.” Scheib still rides a stationary bike with his cycling buddies when there is inclement weather. The men have expanded their biking experience by driving to out-of-state trails and places where they can safely ride. “We found great trails in our area,” says Scheib. “One of them is by a brewery and they sponsor free tours and tastings. FREQUENTLY when we ride on the Trace trail, we will start at the brewery and finish at the brewery. Of course, we end up having a couple of beers. We talk about the ride and get to meet other people from all over our area and the country. They recognize we are riders by our apparel and we get to talk about cycling. This has led to learning about new places to visit and ride.”

Brotherhood and beer add to the fun of biking.
Brotherhood and beer add to the fun of biking.

The biking “brothers” have also participated in out-of state cycling adventure. “The longest event we have done is a week-long camping and biking trip,” recalls Scheib. “We drove to Nashville, Tennessee then biked to Natchez, Mississippi. We covered 442 miles in five days.” Scheib believes that with riding, you experience the best of both worlds. “You have an individual experience while on the ride followed by the companionship of others at the end of the day,” he explains.

A la Natural

Maybe our mothers were on to something. “Get outside and get some fresh air” can lead to greater physical and mental well-being. “A great thing about cycling is that it gets you outside and in nature, maintains Scheib. “I’ve seen deer, wild turkey and other assorted critters. We also rode by baby colts in the field that began trotting along side us. It was an amazing sight to see.”

Tom Scheib and his friends continue their journey forward to fitness, fun, greater happiness and a few beers along the way!
Tom Scheib and his friends continue their journey forward to fitness, fun, greater happiness and a few beers along the way!

Health to Happiness

Recently studies have identified keys to increasing life happiness and contentment that include social interaction, having a purpose, maintaining physical well-being and breaking up your daily routine. “Biking incorporates all these elements for me,” reports Scheib. “Cycling started out as a way to exercise and improve my health. It has since moved to a different dimension for me. I have learned to expand the experience through bonding with my biking buddies, exploring outward and interacting with local people. We continue to see new sights and are even talking about going to Maine. As my world has expanded through cycling, so has my happiness.”

L-R: Wiley Bird and Tom Scheib expand their horizons while diminishing their health risks.
L-R: Wiley Bird and Tom Scheib expand their horizons while diminishing their health risks.