Octogenarian Woodacre man named Marin’s Bike Champion of the Year
When Marty Albion got a call not too long ago that he had won Marin’s Bike of the Year Championship, he thought it was a prank on the part of some of his friends. To his surprise, that was not the case.
The Woodacre resident of more than 30 years was nominated for recognition from the Marin County Bicycle Coalition for being someone who “inspires others to ride a bike.” An avid mountain biker and road cyclist for around 35 years, Albion, 85, a retired internal doctor, spends most of his days riding around Marin with the groups Dirtbags and Old Spokes, alongside people much younger than him .
Q How did you get into cycling?
A I rode a bike as a kid, but as an adult I started running in my late 30s or early 40s for exercise. I had started to neglect exercise. I was very busy with other things. I was overweight and decided to start running and it was my passion for many years. I ran for 30 years, did the Dipsea more than 10 times – now my wife, Linda, and I volunteer at the medical tent for the race – and I’ve done a few marathons. But then I met a friend who rode bikes and he got me interested, and I started doing that. I did both for a while, then decided cycling was easier on my body and started doing it full time. It keeps me young. I have a great group of people to ride with, and it’s a big part of my life.
Q I heard you helped start the Dirtbags ATV group a few years ago. How did it come about?
A I would meet people in different places and say, “Oh, do you like mountain biking? Come join the Dirtbags,” and it became a little family. They are like my children, almost all of these guys are 20 years younger than me. They keep me young and we get along so well.
Q What does driving look like to you?
A On a mountain bike, if you’re up there on Mount Tamalpais with the flowers and the beautiful redwoods, it’s like being in church, I imagine. It’s invigorating. I’m addicted.
Q How do you feel when people say you are inspiring?
A My friends are so good for my ego. They say, “Marty, you’re so old and you’re still riding and going.” When I turned 80, I got an e-bike, which I ride now.
Q What would you say to people curious about horseback riding?
A Just do it. But, I firmly believe that if you are going to do it, know the rules of etiquette. I am very courteous and respectful of others and I see a small percentage of cyclists who block the roads to motorists or pass people who are going very fast on mountain bikes. It annoys me and it gives cyclists a bad name. I am a member of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. They are very active and do all sorts of things for the benefit of the cycling community. They push for bike paths and routes, educate cyclists on safety and organize many events. They don’t get much credit. They shocked me when they gave me this price.
Q Where is your favorite place to ride?
A I love Bolinas Ridge. I think this is the most beautiful trail in Marin County and a lot of people don’t know about it which amazes me. It’s difficult to get to, and part of the attraction is its isolation.
Q What rides do you recommend?
A A good fire road is from Fairfax through Deer Park to Shaver Grade and around Lake Lagunitas. And the Marin Headlands has a lot of great trails there with amazing views. China Camp is great, but a bit more advanced with single track trails. Just get up there and do it. And visit the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax.
Q What are you waiting for?
A Linda and I are going on a mountain bike ride in northern Spain together in September.