OurLife: Apple Valley Seniors group includes bikers, fisherman

Larry Narveson of Apple Valley has been biking all his life. (Submitted photo)


Contributing Writer

The Apple Valley Senior Center has a variety of members who enjoy the great outdoors during the summer. Biking and fishing are just two of the many activities they pursue.

Larry Narveson, bicyclist

Larry Narveson has been biking all his life. Now, as a senior citizen, he does a lot of biking with Fun Folks on Spokes, a club at the Apple Valley Senior Center.

“I’m very active, and this senior group is ideal for me,” said Narveson, a native of Minneapolis who moved to Burnsville 22 years ago. He retired from his job as a warehouse forklift operator nine years ago.

The bike club meets in January to plan its whole season of rides, scheduled for each Wednesday and Friday beginning the second week in April and continuing through the end of October. The schedule of 56 rides, each averaging about 20 miles, then is posted at the Apple Valley Senior Center.

“We have two rules,” Narveson said. “You have to have a bike, and you have to have a helmet.” The group wears highly-visible yellow or green shirts with its logo on the back.

When he first joined the group, Narveson took a class on bike service and repair so he would “know when to get my bike into a service center and when I could work on it myself,” he said.

The 60-member roster includes at least seven people over the age of 80, Narveson said. An Apple Valley Park and Recreation employee with a cell phone accompanies the group on their bike rides.

Narveson hastens to add that the group bikes only in fair weather. They cancel their scheduled treks if the temperature is below 45 degrees or over 90 degrees, he said. “This year we lost the month of April because it was cold, and two-thirds of the month of May because of the rain,” he said.

“We leave the senior center at 9 a.m., ride for two hours, eat, and then bike back,” Narveson said. “We’re done by 2 p.m.”

The Fun Folks on Spokes schedules 56 rides a year through the Apple Valley Senior Center. (Submitted photo)

The group never leaves anyone behind, he said. If someone needs to stop riding for some reason, at least one other member stops with them, Narveson said.

The bike club offers three overnight trips a year, usually attracting up to a dozen people. This year, the first overnight in June was a trip to Walker and Park Rapids. The second trip will be a trip to Lake Wobegon Trail near Sauk Centre. The third trip, in September, will be the bluff country, including a stay at the Cedar Valley Resort east of Lanesboro.

Narveson owns several bikes, including a Gary Fisher road bike. He noted that new bikes range in price from $300 to $8,000, depending on the features a cyclist is seeking. He recommends that people purchase their bikes from a cycling shop because “they back their products better.”

A friend of Narveson’s who spoke at one of the bike club meetings said that bike shops typically offer two years of free service checks, or a minimum of one. “He said if you don’t get that guarantee, you should run out the door,” Narveson said.

“I got my first bike when I was 15 or 16 years old,” Narveson said. “Until then, I stole my sister’s bike. When I was 4 or 5, my dad parked my sister’s bike outside the garage while he worked on the screens, and by the time he was done, I was riding the bike.”

Narveson’s longest bike trip came early in June, when he took part in the MS 150 trip, a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis. The two-day, 150-mile trip involved 3,000 cyclists who traveled from Duluth to the Twin Cities.

Once the Apple Valley bike club’s season is over, Narveson said, “We’re still a social group. We have a year-end party.”

After the outdoor biking season is over, the group meets for lunch monthly from the first week of November until the first week of April at the Fireside Restaurant in Rosemount.

“We’re as much a social group as anything,” Narveson said. “We have fun, and we’ve gotten to know each other. We’ve become good friends.”

Narveson also has been a member of the 200-member Hiawatha Bicycling Club for the last 10 years, and now is a ride leader with that group. The club offers 60 rides for slow, medium and fast riders, ranging from 15 to 100 miles.

Charlie Maus, fisherman

Charlie Maus, also active at the Apple Valley Senior Center, says he’s been fishing for 30 years “at a different place every weekend.” He is a member of Minnesota Valley In-Fishermen Club, a non-profit fishing club that meets monthly at the Apple Valley American Legion.

“I fish every weekend in the summer and winter,” Maus said. “I love ice fishing more than fishing in the summer. I love fishing for walleyes and crappies. I believe in observing the rules of fishing: catch a lot and return a lot [catch and release]. I’m dedicated. I believe in fishing.”

A native of St. Louis, Maus said he was in the grocery business all his life, first part-time during college at the A&P Tea Co. in St. Louis, and later at Allied Foods in Detroit and Purex in St. Louis.

Maus, a resident of Apple Valley since 1971, has four children, and three grandchildren. He has been active in scouts and the Burnsville Athletic Association and was on the Apple Valley Park Commission for 22 years.