She had this New Year’s resolution for decades.
Not for 2017.
That’s because Crecencia Garibo-Soto, a licensed vocational nurse with the Health and Human Services Agency Central Region, learned to ride a bike at the age of…62.
Garibo-Soto’s desire to ride a bike started when she saw her brothers ride theirs while growing up in Acapulco, Mexico. But her parents could not afford to buy her one.
When she moved to the United States, Garibo-Soto finally got a bike, but she could not balance it. She stopped trying, thinking she would never be able to learn.
But her dream never went away. At the age of 40, her son, Mario, bought her a bike and she tried again. She fell–twice.
Worried she would injure herself, Garibo-Soto’s son convinced her to stop.
Her desire to learn never went away.
Last year, she was talking to her co-workers at the County’s Public Health Center in City Heights and expressed her desire to learn how to ride.
Her co-workers advised her to take classes. One of them went even further. In April of last year, Jorge Lopez surprised her with a bike he got at a Goodwill store. She learned that the San Diego Bike Coalition offers classes, so Garibo-Soto decided to enroll.
“After about five lessons, I was able to pedal the bike for a short distance,” said Garibo-Soto, adding that she can now cross riding a bike off her bucket list. “I got very emotional. It was a wonderful feeling. Since I learned, I feel stronger, lighter and happier.”
Garibo-Soto continued to practice and even went on her first group ride, but felt her riding was not at the same level as the other cyclists. She continued to improve her control and skills. Garibo-Soto carries her bike in her vehicle wherever she goes. At lunch she rides her bike, while her supervisor, Public Health Nurse Manager Jackie Kersey-Hardrick, walks beside her
“So far, my longest ride has been five miles,” Garibo-Soto said, who has lost 14 pounds since she started cycling and will be sending a photo to her son overseas.
Garibo-Soto still has trouble riding up and down hills so she stays on streets with little traffic. She is also getting better at letting go of the handlebars to use hand signals.
Today, Garibo-Soto rides with Walk+Bike Chula Vista. You can also find her riding around her neighborhood and on a bike path on J Street close to the Chula Vista Marina.
What are her resolutions for 2017? Buy a new bike and ride the 14 miles to and from work.
Will she accomplish them?
“Hopefully,” said Garibo-Soto, who also aspires to learn to kayak. “I will try my best.”