One More Hero

Terry TaylorI found a new hero a few days ago. I had never heard of Terry Taylor, and I still don’t know very much about him. But I’ve learned enough about him to make him one of my heroes.

Heroes are people we admire (think highly of) for what they have done or the kind of people they are, often both. Sometimes heroes become like teachers to us. As we get to know them, we often find ourselves becoming like them in important ways without consciously (thinking about) trying.

I’ve had a number of heroes – and still do. My grandfather was one. He was a farmer and not well-educated, but he was a student all his life and never stopped learning. When he was 98 years old, he told me about something that he had learned recently, then laughed and said, “You’d think that by my age I would have learned that already!” I’m sure that a lot of my love for learning comes from him.

William Zinsser is another. He was a journalist (news writer, reporter) first, then a much-loved teacher of writing and author of many books and articles. Almost 30 years ago, I read his first book, about writing. Soon after that I read Willie and Dwike, his book about two African American jazz musicians who traveled across the U.S. and around the world, introducing jazz to people who didn’t know about it.

I’ve read almost everything Zinsser has written – about writing, about learning, about the people and places that have helped make America what it is. I admire the way he writes – clearly, concisely (without unnecessary words), and personally. As a result, I’m sure there’s a little of William Zinsser in everything I write.

My newest hero is Terry Taylor. I admire the fact that Terry, who was a mechanic (car repairman), has been riding a bike (bicycle) for more than 70 years. “I ride to live, and I live to ride,” he says. “If I don’t ride, I get real grumpy (disagreeable).” Forty years ago, Terry was one of a group of riders that rode across the U.S. – 4200 miles (6759 km) – to celebrate America’s 200th birthday. Next year, when he’s 78 years old, he hopes to do it again.

I also admire how Terry thinks about growing older. He says that his bike riding has helped him stay healthy and live a long life. “Bicycling helps you grow old gracefully (in a pleasant way). You’re not going to get out of (avoid) growing old, but maybe you can grow old gracefully. I look around at other people my age, and I’m amazed at how old they look. I hope I don’t look that old. I want to be the best I can at whatever age I’m at, physically and mentally.”

Like Terry, I enjoy bike riding. And I admire the way he thinks about getting older and how bike riding helps him do that gracefully. That’s why he’s my newest hero.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English web site.

Terry Taylor’s story comes from Bicycling Magazine.
Photo of Terry Taylor from Life on Two Wheels by Peter Taylor.

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16 Responses to One More Hero

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Warren,

    Thank you for sharing that.
    Just recently I was thinking on how one thing leads to another and how my commitment to learning a second language lead me to be interested
    in Humanism, Secularism, Atheism, Facts.
    And I have found some very interesting people in the field that have very interesting things to say.
    I do not know whether or not they are my heroes, but I admire them very much.
    I am talking of people like Sam Herris, Lawernce Krauss the late Christopher Hitchens, Steven Segal and others less known young people I follow on You tube.
    Just these days I was watching a lecture Sam Harris gave on Free Will. Very interesting.BTW he’s from L.A.

    I’ll definitely check out the one you are writing about. I love stories of real people.
    And as I said in the past, I am curious at what drives people doing what they do and why they do it.

    Thanks Warren

  2. Felipe says:

    the is nice to people dream in the life, and look up a good people, make good things to the society
    And my hero is my father he is a good man and he taught your sons to be a good people and a honest with other people.

  3. Dan says:

    Hey Warren,

    Me again cause I wanna throw something out there, starting with a question:

    Can I be the hero of myself? because you know what? that’s the case.

    I do not wanna be seen as arrogant, I said more than once that I am ignorant and recognize I have a lot to learn from others.

    I am going to say that I am my hero. That is for different reasons.

    Then, of course there are others, and even animals belonging to other species.


  4. Dan says:

    Me again, sorry.

    I do not usually point out my own mistakes, but this time I HAVE to.

    With all those names I mixed up Steven Segal with Carl Sagan. Sorry about that.

    I do not even like the movies of Steven Seagal and I do not know how on earth that name came out.


  5. emiliano says:

    Warren, when I was four years old a gift was given to me, it was a bike and having it of my own I was really happy.
    Living in Madrid, a little street out of down town it was easy to ride as there were no cars round the streets I was
    After some months I could ride, being one of the few boys who had a bike nearby home.

    I was really happy with my bike, but after some few year I grew up and the bike was very small to me. There was
    not any money to buy a new one so many years pass away when I coud ride a bike again.
    It is said that if you learn how to bike, the same as swim, you´ll never forget how to and it is right, just because
    once I was a father and have my three daughters I bought a bike for each of them, another for me and yes I could
    ride again and taught my daugters how to ride.
    My parents have a house in the country close near to the Madrid´s mountains and it was really easy for us to
    go all the family and once in the chalet take out the bike and goes to ride with them.
    Happy, very happy time for me, it seems never will be end that time, but it ends sooner than later. Mya parents
    pass away, the house in the mountains was sold and my daughters are not more little girls any more.

    Laura my second girl went to Demmark some years ago. In Copenhaguen nearly every body rides, boys, girls, youngs,
    adults and old people.
    First thing Laura did was to buy a bike and be another Copenhaguen´s rider since the first week.She was happy with
    the posibility of going to the University where she works riding.

    Last week when I have been in Amsterdam I have seen that everybody in this incredible beautiful city rides. Old men,
    old women, young, boys and girls or even mother and father with a basket ahead of the bike and the children in the
    basket. Some time I have seen two children in the basket and their mother or father riding.
    Amsterdam is heaven to all the bike, even there is a big parking for bikes where could be more than four thousand
    bikes inside the parking.
    Nearly all the briges through the chanels have their own dozen of bikes fixing to them and of course you need to be
    alert whe you are walking not to stay in the way of bikes because the have preference over the pedastrian.
    People from other countries like mine have are not acustomed to this way of bikes, despite in Madrid it is begining
    this custom making roads for them, and protest continuously.
    Tourist guides always said, be alert with bikes, don´t be on its way but despite so many advises people are some
    how disappointed with so many riders, in fact thousands of them that pass continuouslys, it is just incredible.

    Thank you Warren, nice to write again in the blog, I hope it would be for long….but I don´t know.
    My life changes so fast that some time I have not time to do so many things…….the last I am learning how to play
    the piano and solfeo and I like it very much. It was one of the things I have been missing for long, just to know
    how to play some music, but yes it is difficult.



    Hi Warren,

    This text make me feel very pleasant because I remembered my father who already died. He was a fantastic man that always had strong wish to learn. He read everything and this made his culture large and empowered. He was a great man and I learned a lot with him.


  7. peter says:

    I m both self-absorb and self -center which means I don’t have any Heros per say. I don’t do bickkng but I walk like everyday.
    And I chase tails for sport


  8. emiliano says:

    I would like to have so many heros as you have Warren, but as much as I think I don´t find any in my mind.
    Of course I consider my mother and father as heros who educated their children in the right way working very
    hard in bad time for the Spanish people.

    Another hero for me it is my dear Cuca, my wife, first educating my daughters taking care of them of her
    husband, me, but now she is even more hero supporting her bad disease of multiple sclerosis day after day
    without a complain trying not to give me and our friends more sorrows of the necessary.

    Out of the mentioned I don´t find an hero in person and I would like, just to have some one to admire and to
    copy some of his/her virtues.

    In the news or papers we read or listen something about heros who have made a great honor action, but
    to me the real heros are the anonymuous people who take care of their families, goes to work every day,
    year after year, and support a grey life to the rest of persons who sourrunded them, we don´t perceive
    these persons but there are millions all over the world making life better for the rest.
    That are my heros, without name, without heroic publicity to their actios but living their life in silence, with
    ethic and honor, just transmiting to their friends, sons or daughter just what is valid in life.

    That´s the reason I have mentioned Cuca or my parents, these are my type of heros than also could be you,
    Jeff, me or which ever other Blog´s friend who is reading just now this emiliano´s ideas.

    But taken the first idea you transmited us, I don´t really know an hero of the kind you mentioned and I would
    like to have one to admire.

    My best dear Warren. emiliano

  9. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Hi people. Hi Warren. Great job this is when you get to heroes. They are indeed very important especially those related with relatives like fathers and grandfathers. In general, fathers are the people who try to teach good things for their children. Even important is when children listen to their parents and learn good things they have to teach. In my case, I owe my father that honesty, hard work, respect to older people, keeping the time you set to meet someone, not to lie, eating fruit and vegetables, doing exercises, loving the others. Beyond my father, I had heroes from cinema like Zorro, Captain America, Superman and others. How it is good to be young and have heroes you can look up to.

  10. leila says:

    getting older is not a terrible thing.actually,refusing the fact that everyone will be old is the worst thing.

  11. Dan says:

    Hi there.

    I would say that at the moment my heroes are those who created the internet and with it the spread of knowledge at global scale.

    Looking around, sometimes it feels like we are still living in the dark age.

    Hopefully, thanks to internet we are going to spread and make available to everyone knowledge and get rid of those who want to keep people ignorant and control them with lies.

    This is like the invention of the printed book, but on steroids.

    Of course there is the other face of the coin as with everything we do. But I am optimistic.


  12. Dan says:

    Hi guys.

    I was looking for Mr. Taylor and the results was a retired wrestler.
    Then I found our Mr. Taylor and watched his video.
    The video btw is made by his nephew who is good at it.
    He said that he rather die on the pavement instead of a bed. That’s how strong his passion is for riding.

    Then, I saw a video of Zinsser.

    He’s been interviewed and he’s talking about writing your own book for yourself and family. Your autobiography.
    He’s holding his own and the book is thin and about that he says ” I am a tight writer” that’s why the book is so thin/light

    I was wondering if Warren is willing to die on his bike and writing his own autobiography?

  13. Daniela says:

    Hi Dan,

    Where did you find the video?
    I really want to watch!


  14. Dan says:

    Hi Daniela,

    I am going to tell you, and you are welcome.

    I saw the video on a website for bike riders called Bicycling. Just google Terry Taylor+bike. It’s the first result.

    One other option is the web site Vimeo where Mr. Taylor’s nephew Peter has uploaded the video A life on two wheels and other interesting videos.


  15. HILARIO says:

    …. …and face is also a reflex of soul.

    Have a sane mind in healthy body forever used to say ancient greeks.

    Muslim fortune greeting wish you to have a well with water and a chicken coop, meaning that way you will be well fed and enough occupied as to grow old gracefully and healthy. You can drink water and plant edible food and chicken feed, sell eggs to neighbours and exercise running after the free wandering chickens throughout the yard, and then complete your sporting session by cleaning out chicken manure to be used as composite for growing plants.

    Rigorous and vigorous lives of others are reflex no doubt and somehow touching and teaching us, but own head in lesson learnt applies more.

    Taylor´s attitude is great, and it is welcome to stay in mind of every individual on earth. Zinser writes about learnt lessons through himself.

  16. peter says:

    Nice turn out this time

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