Cyclist celebrates 80-year mark with 80-mile
By Jesse Phelps
People on their bicycles have
become a common sight around the Ojai Valley. Periodically, one
can even see road riders attempting to conquer the pass over
Highway 150 or the bike trail all the way to Ventura. But rarely,
if ever, does one see an octogenarian making such a ride.
Well, as his associates know, architect Marvin Beck is no ordinary
octogenarian. On his 80th birthday, Beck took the occasion to
gather his riding partners together for an 80-mile ride, all
the way to the end of the bike trail and beyond. The group, which
started bigger but ended with five dedicated riders crossing
the finish line, went from Beck's East End abode to Ventura,
then up the coast to Summerland, then back again to Ojai.
The riders left at 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning and were back by
2 p.m. to enjoy festivities organized by Beck's wife, Barbara.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Beck's passion for cycling
is that it didn't develop until he was 67 years old. "For
my 67th birthday, I bought myself a bike. That's when I started
to ride," said Beck, after crossing the finish line to applause
from the gathered throng. "And I find that after a ride,
I just feel so invigorated."
He said that the group varies but usually they meet at Starbucks
in Carpinteria and ride to Ojai from there. "I kind of fall
behind a little bit now. I never used to but now I fall behind,"
said a humble Beck.
His fellow riders, however, hardly notice. Rick Loy remembers
when he first met Beck. "We were at Starbucks and I saw
this old guy come up and say, 'Hey how you doing? Come join us
for a ride.' And so I thought, 'Oh well, we'll have to slow our
ride way down.' He just kept up, he was strong. He stayed right
on our wheel the whole time. Absolutely amazing. So I have a
For her part, Barbara is impressed with her husband's ability
to keep going strong, saying he provides a source of constant
Barbara said the couple lived for many years in Los Angeles before
moving to Ojai about three years ago. Her "very closest
friends - her husband was a practicing physician and she was
on every board in L.A." moved to Ojai first. "I really
thought that maybe they were certifiable," she said. But
every time she'd bring it up, Barbara says, Marvin would change
the subject." Until, that is, they visited those friends
in Ojai. "He sat down on their porch and ... said 'I just
want to sit in this chair for the rest of my life.'"
As it turns out, Beck is now equally at home on a bicycle chair.
On this day, he arrived home to a banquet and festive scene with
live music and a great variety of shady spots to enjoy the rest
of the day. Beck gave credit to his wife for the enthusiastic
welcome. "Barbara does a wonderful job," he said. "When
it comes to a party, nobody beats Barbara."
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
|Marvin Beck receives
a finish-line kiss from wife Barbara after his birthday ride
on Sunday afternoon.