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Charlestown Resident Joseph Datsko Has Racked Up 120,000 Miles on His Bike -- and He is Still Going Strong

May 17, 2013

Charlestown retirement community resident Joseph Datsko has racked up more than 120,000 miles in the saddle of his bicycle during his lifetime  -- and he is still going strong. The nonagenarian rides nearly 100 miles each week, cycling at Patapsco State Park and doing multi laps daily around the 1.3 - mile loop road on the Charlestown campus in Catonsville, Maryland.
Datsko, a retired University of Michigan professor, began cycling in the 1970s and joined the Ann Arbor Bicycling Touring Society. His five children and late wife Doris were also avid bikers. Each year the whole family enjoyed an annual 210-mile trek along the Ohio River.
He took up long-distance cycling in 1992 at the age of 71, riding  cross-country from Bellingham, Washington, to Portland, Maine. "I was with a group of 35 people and we rode 6 days a week for 12 weeks -- about 75 miles a day," he said.
He cycled in five more long-distance rides ranging from 1,680 miles to 5,236 miles. He traveled down the East Coast from Portland, Maine, to Orlando, Florida, and he toured the southern half of the United States on a ride from Oceanside, California, to the seaside town of St. Simons Island, Georgia.
His last long-distance ride was six years ago along the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon city, Oregon. "By that time I was considered an old man" said Datsko, jokingly.  "One of the benefits, though, was I had nothing but time, so I could go on rides that lasted a few weeks or more."
Datsko said biking has kept him healthy and his weight down. In addition to cycling he is usually seen in Charlestown's Fitness Center working out on the resistance machines or pedaling away on the stationary spinning bikes.
"I try to get to the fitness center five to six days a week for about an hour to an hour-and-half," Datsko said. "But I prefer to be outdoors.
"There's nothing like riding outdoors in the fresh air," he said.