Bo Green’s ’80 at 80′ Bike Ride Benefits Meals on Wheels
HOW TO DONATE TO BO GREEN’S “80 AT 80” BIKE RIDE
The ride, scheduled for Saturday, June 25, benefits Meals on Wheels.
Click “Donate” at the top
Type 80 at 80 in space next to “Other”
Fill in amount
Donate by check:
Meals on Wheels Plus
717 N. 10th St.
Abilene, TX 79601
By LORETTA FULTON
A guy who defeated leukemia, underwent rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders, had both hips replaced, battled shingles, hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim, and scaled the highest peak in Colorado wasn’t about to let a broken leg keep him from an 80-mile bike ride to benefit Meals on Wheels–even if he was 80 years old.
Meet Bo Green–a mild-mannered retired ACU math professor to many people and a man of steel to others. Bo turned 80 on Sept. 6, 2021, and had pledged to ride 80 miles on his bike that day to benefit Meals on Wheels.
But last August, just before his birthday, Bo took a bad spill on his bike and broke the femur in his right leg, near the site of the right hip replacement. That turned out to be a good thing, with only a 45-minute surgery required to fix it. But that was followed by rehab for two to three months.
Bo was undeterred and vowed to go ahead with the “80 for 80” bike ride–just not on his 80th birthday. The fundraiser now is scheduled for Saturday, June 25.
“I’m still in my 80th year,” Bo said, which means he will fulfill his pledge to ride “80 at 80.”
Donations to Meals on Wheels in Bo’s honor can be made online or by mailed check. (See top of page for instructions). Bo also invites anyone interested to join him for all of the ride or for 20-mile segments. A cycling friend, Darren Wilson, will accompany Bo for the entire distance.
Because of the extreme heat, the ride will begin at 3 a.m. June 25 from the parking lot of the new Taylor Elementary School on E.N. 10th Street. The ride will cover a 20-mile loop four times. Each segment is scheduled to begin at 3, 4:30, 6 and 7:30 a.m. Riders can join at any of those times. A rest stop will be set up in the parking lot.
Bo is the picture of resiliency. He started training again indoors last November, just three months after the break and surgery. By December, he was riding outside, with a partner by his side. Everything was going well until March, when he was hit with a bad case of shingles.
“The whole month I was just out,” he said.
But in April, he was back on his bike and feels ready for the 80-mile challenge. After all, the man has faced many bigger challenges.
“I’m really not supposed to be alive,” he said.
Bo earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from ACU in 1964, followed by a masters and a doctorate in math from Purdue University. He was hired to teach math at ACU in 1972 and retired in 2009 after a 37-year career. That same year Bo retired, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Thanks to a brother who is 10 years older, Bo got a bone marrow and stem cell transplant that worked. Not only is he still alive, he has accomplished remarkable feats. In 2010, just a year after his diagnosis, Bo walked one mile in the Relay for Life event. The next year, he walked 10 and by the next year, he walked a marathon–26 miles.
Bo and Becky hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim in 2012 and climbed the highest mountain in Colorado, Mount Elbert, which reaches 14,400 feet into the sky. That feat came in August 2020, and it was a family affair. Bo was joined by his wife, their son and his wife, and two granddaughters. The round trip took 11 hours.
“It took nothing but grit,” Bo said.
“Grit” is a good word to describe Bo. He had been a runner before having both hips replaced. Walking wasn’t his thing. He tried golfing for exercise but suffered rotator cuff tears in both shoulders. Then, a neighbor down the street had a moving sale and Bo bought his bicycle. He discovered he enjoyed biking and adopted the sport as his new hobby.
When a friend, Grant Boone, played 100 holes of golf on a 108-degree day to benefit Meals on Wheels, Bo was inspired to come up with something similar to benefit the agency.
“I really do believe I could ride 80 miles,” he thought to himself as he approached his 80th birthday.
Bo’s involvement with Meals on Wheels dates back about 10 years. His wife, Becky, had been a volunteer since the agency first opened in the old University Baptist Church in the 1970s. She convinced Bo that Meals on Wheels was a “really, really good ministry,” and he joined her on her route. Of course, it’s not just any route. It’s Route 9, which stretches from Eula to Hamby–a 62-mile round trip every Wednesday.
“My wife said, ‘We can do that,’” Bo said, and he agreed.
Although Bo hasn’t been delivering Meals on Wheels nearly as long as Becky, he is deeply committed. He also is committed to people who started donating to the “80 at 80” ride before he fell and broke his leg. He was concerned that he might not be able to make good on his promise. He should have known better. Bo not only is a man of grit, he’s also a man of his word. And now he’s back in the saddle again.
“I felt a serious obligation to fulfill my commitment,” he said.
Loretta Fulton in editor of Spirit of Abilene