Bike ride anyone? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bike ride anyone?

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September 13, 2005

Moultrie - Trisha Smith is proudly watching her dad, Johnny Mercer, ride a bike, she's even videotaping the event. "Proud of him. More proud than you could even imagine," says Trisha. "He's an awesome person, he's the greatest dad anyone could have."

A dad that was probably in her position some years ago, watching her ride a bike for the first time, something she doesn't really do these days. She says, "I couldn't do it. I don't know anyone who could, except for my dad."

That's because this isn't a typical bike ride. On Tuesday, Johnny Mercer turned 70 years old, and as a birthday present to himself, he set a goal to ride his bike all 14 miles to work. The rest of his family is waiting for him there.

Grandson Dean Benton says, "I think it's pretty amazing, because 22 years ago he was messed up in his back and that's a miracle."

A miracle, because after Johnny fell off the roof of his house, doctors said he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. "They said he'd never walk again, but he's walking and he's riding and he's running, so we're thankful,"says daughter Dana Benton.

And they're not the only ones. As Johnny reaches the finish line, he's clearly proud of his accomplishment, though he may be a little sore. He says, "My legs are stiff."

But he's not going to stiffen up in his older years, he plans to enjoy them. He says, "Just enjoy life, because it's the only one you get. Stay in shape and be positive."

But after achieving such a huge goal, what will he do on his 80th birthday? Mercer says, "I'm going to come here and ride back. That's 28 miles, my goal for 80." Another big goal, but one he plans to attain.

Johnny Mercer just started riding a bike about six months ago.

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