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Cyclist, 75, plans to keep on pedaling

Jack Glaze turned 75 on April 5, but that’s not the number he’ll celebrate.

After his planned morning ride, Glaze will have biked 100,000 miles — a feat rolled over 23 countries in his 15 years on two wheels.

The milestone is just another in a life lived to extremes.

Glaze raced drag boats and stock cars and rode motorcycles and served 38 years as a United Airlines pilot.

It was during one of his final flights that a young co-pilot turned him on to the idea of bicycling.

“My first ride, I rode four miles, and I thought I’d gone around the world,” Glaze said.

The feeling of conquering international treks came soon enough.

Glaze’s first long bicycle tour was in May 1996, when he joined a group from Los Angeles to Delaware. He has trepidations about his first century ride, 100 miles in a trip, but persevered thanks to sage advice from his roommate on the tour.

“He said, ‘Think of it as a job — you get up and do something for eight hours and then rest,’ ” he said.

Today, century rides hold no fanfare for him.

“I know I can do them,” he said.
His first tour took 40 days, and Glaze still keeps in touch with some of his fellow riders.

Glaze moved upward and onward from his first cross-country tour and put many stamps in his passport with bike in tow.

He documented every leg of every trip, an attention to detail gained from his pilot days. His first international ride was in Mallorca, Spain.

“I didn’t even know where Mallorca was,” he said.

Glaze has returned three times.

He can pinpoint where he was for each 10,000-mile marker.

Glaze connected with the League of American Bicyclists early on in his riding career. He graduated from student to certified instructor in a few years’ time and has led a few European tours through the organization.

Bicycling also strengthened his relationship with his son Keith.

Keith Glaze accompanied his dad via a SAG, support and gear, car on a two-week ride and was hooked by the end.

“We talked bicycles the whole way home,” Keith Glaze said. “It gave us something to do to become close. It gave me a chance to spend time with my dad one-on-one.”

The pair now ride together every Saturday from their Centennial Hills homes.

“Some days, he beats me ; vice versa some days,” Glaze said of his 49-year-old son.

Bicycling is among the first things on Glaze’s mind each day, he said.

“I get up in the morning and look at the weather,” he said. “Then I say, ‘Great, it’s a great cycling day.’ ”

He relished the sights he has seen abroad.

Rolling though countryside, he has made connections with ever-friendly locals. He’s turned to their generosity when lost or thirsty. No matter where he has been, Glaze has never had a bike stolen in his racing career.

Border patrollers have been astounded by stamps from faraway destinations marked in the same day.

He’s seen breathtaking landscaping and landmarks soaked in history. Glaze teared up when he recalled walking a path believed to have been traveled by Jesus.

Glaze keeps a journal and logs all of his experiences, and his daughter hopes to compile them for a family keepsake.

The inevitable falls and collisions are in the records, but his scrapes never sidelined him long.

Glaze said being idle in retirement wasn’t an option for him. He stays limber with yoga and has competed twice in the National Senior Games with the Nevada bicycle race team.

“It’s kept me alive,” Glaze said. “I always tell people we are three bodies : physical, mental and spiritual. Bicycling feeds them all.”

To learn more about bicycling or Glaze’s efforts with the League of American Bicyclists, call 645-6700.

Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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