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NORTH KINGSTOWN ‚Äď Peter Leviten is a busy man: four days a week he commutes from Saunderstown to his job in Massachusetts as an advertising copywriter for the Bose corporation, and he divides his time between cities.
‚ÄúFor two days, it‚Äôs 72 miles each way; for another two days, it‚Äôs 85 miles each way,‚ÄĚ he explains.
Now, adding to his travels ‚Äď but in a pleasant way ‚Äď he has taken up long-distance cycling. On May 1, he will participate in Cycle the Seacoast, in Portsmouth, N.H., joining others in biking 100 miles to benefit the American Lung Association.
His is the oft-told tale of being a native Rhode Islander (the East Side of Providence), graduating from URI and moving away ‚Äď in this case to New York where he was a journalist ‚Äď only to return after 20 years. Leviten moved back nine years ago and, last spring, dusted off his biking skills.
‚ÄúI picked up cycling for the first time since I was a teen,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúI‚Äôd wanted to bike for the longest time. I couldn‚Äôt figure out how to go about doing it because things have changed so much since I was a kid.‚ÄĚ
He and his wife tried out a couple of bikes. Peter was leaning toward a cheaper model but, he says, ‚Äúshe talked me into a better bike.‚ÄĚ
He began with a 25-mile ride down Boston Neck Road through Narragansett to Point Judith. With the encouragement of Matt Bodziony, Pete Webster and Geoff Bouchard of NBX Narragansett Bikes, he began pushing himself more.
‚ÄúI picked their brains, started riding more and learned how to go about training and getting in better shape. I have a friend at work who‚Äôs a competitive bike rider and he shared tips.‚ÄĚ
Peter adds that, as a middle-aged man, he‚Äôs accustomed to working out in the gym but finds it tedious. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs wonderful to get exercise in the form of an activity‚ÄĚ that‚Äôs out in the fresh air and enjoyable.
Cycle the Seacoast is his first charitable bike event and it has forced him to speed up his personal schedule.
‚ÄúLast year, I wanted to set an ambitious goal for myself,‚ÄĚ he explains. ‚ÄúBy the end of the second year, I wanted to ride a century ‚Äď 100 miles in one day. I knew I‚Äôd do it but not this soon.‚ÄĚ
Peter‚Äôs enlistment in the long-distance event followed a clinic at NBX last month whose featured speaker was Paul Curley.
‚ÄúThe guy‚Äôs a legend. He started racing in Europe in the ‚Äė70s and now he puts together charitable events. He was talking about this Cycle the Seacoast race. I decided to shoot for it.‚ÄĚ
Now that the days are longer, Peter has been able to take bike rides after he returns from work, although he says weekends are best.
‚ÄúI started with a 35-mile ride. On one magical day, when it was 42 degrees, I rode 52 miles. It was terrific to know I could travel that kind of distance; down Ten Rod Road, through Richmond, Hopkinton, back on Rt. 138.
‚ÄúThere were these long rolling hills where you go up at seven miles an hour and down at 30. It‚Äôs the closest you can get to flying on land.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI‚Äôve never ridden with a group,‚ÄĚ he notes, adding his team for Cycle the Seacoast has 18 members. The race itself should be fine.‚ÄĚ
For more information, contact Peter Leviten at firstname.lastname@example.org
Martha Smith can be reached at email@example.com.