By Ann Leach
The couple that rides bikes together stays together, right? Perry and Debbie Johnson, owners of Bicycle Specialists and avid bike riders for many years, are proving that to be true despite their differences when it comes to why they ride.
“Debbie rides her bike from home to work as often as possible,” Perry said. “There’s nothing better than a leisurely ride to work for her. But I use cycling as a social event and to get outside and take in all the surroundings and live large.”
But they both agree the bikes bring physical and mental tune-ups. Debbie said, “We cycle to promote and encourage others to participate in cycling for enjoyment, health and transportation.”
The couple also share their love of the sport by serving as coaches to an interscholastic mountain bike team of sixth to 12th graders who participate in races at five different venues each summer and fall. “We actively still mountain bike race,” Debbie said. “And we also support area non-profit events like triathlons and 5K races.”
Runners appreciate having the Johnsons’ bike shop available and often look to bike riding as an alternative to running. “It changes up the exercise and the mindset and gives them a different view of the outdoors,” said Perry. “Cycling helps with running, and running is a great cross training for cycling. And physicians, physical therapists and orthopedic doctors send their patients to us for help with the rehabilitation of a knee or hip replacement or repair.”
Debbie said, “A body in motion stays in motion, and breathing deep for oxygenation and sweating for cleansing is all a great way to manage stress and good health.”
The Johnsons cite balance, mental clarity, energy and healthy habits as some of the benefits they personally receive from cycling. “I’d add the making friends and memories that will live with us forever to that list,” said Debbie. Their time riding together allows them to focus their thoughts on peace, calmness and the beauty of nature around them.
“Plus, Debbie and I know that it keeps muscles strong, stress levels down and weight in check,” Perry said. “That way we can enjoy some of the sweets.”
The couple encourage people to participate in cycling for the enjoyment, pleasure and health of it. And not necessarily to win a race. “Just enjoy the ride,” said Perry. “And just do anything to keep active and healthy. Get a bike regardless of brand or cost, just make sure it fits properly for comfort and safety. We do perform a FIT service at the bike shop to make sure your ride is the best possible and to prevent injury. And Debbie always tells her customers to go out and ride just a few miles at first, even if it’s down the block and back. This way, you will not get discouraged and give up when there are hard days.”