Phil Procida, age 82, has found a unique way to Age Well: by pursuing a long-time passion and applying it into helping others.
Phil and his wife Sandra were snowbirds for 10 years before moving into Splendido, a Life Plan Community for those 55 and better in Oro Valley. Phil brought with him his longtime love of road cycling and racing. A member of the Vistoso Cyclists, he estimates he rides 150 to 200+ miles a week depending on the season. Every year on his birthday, he rides his age—last August he covered 82 miles in Illinois; this year, he’s moving his 83-mile ride to a cooler time of year to avoid the heat of summer.
Using His Skills to Help Others
Like any hardcore road cyclist, Phil has become a seasoned bike mechanic, and he uses those skills for a good cause. “About 10 years ago, a member of Vistoso Cyclists named Dick Swain started a nonprofit called Wheels for Kids (azwfk.org) that takes in donated bicycles, refurbishes them, and gives them to local charities to distribute,” says Phil. Those charities include Ronald McDonald House, Youth On Their Own, and various organizations that help the homeless. “Bicycles can also give someone without transportation a way to go back to work,” he points out.
Roughly 25 members of Vistoso Cyclists participate in Wheels for Kids. In addition to fixing the bikes, they do fundraising. “We get the bikes for free, but we need to buy parts,” Phil explains. “We typically raise $20,000 to $25,000 a year—and in the 10 years, we’ve been around, we’ve donated more than 2,300 bicycles to children and adults in need.
A Home Base for His Hobby
The Procidas live in a Villa Home at Splendido, and Phil uses a second garage there for his road bikes, which doubles as a work area for the donated bikes he refurbishes.
In following his two passions, Phil is achieving several important dimensions of wellness: he’s got physical and social wellness covered by riding and training three times a week with the Vistoso Cyclists. By volunteering his well-honed skills, he’s also enjoying vocational wellness—which research shows can lead to greater life satisfaction, a sense of fulfillment, and even improved overall health. In other words, he is setting a new pace for Aging Well.