Lan Yin Tsai, 90, has become an unofficial icon of the 160-mile Bike MS City to Shore ride held each fall in South Jersey, U.S.A . Here’s how her bike has helped her stay forever young.
It all started when Tsai began to work in a hospital many years ago. A native of Taiwan, she was trained in Japan in the art of shiatsu massage. So while working at the hospital, “I started to put my hands where they hurt,” she says. Tsai began regularly giving massages to cancer patients, until one day, about 32 years ago, she massaged a patient with MS. It was then and there that she first heard about the bike ride and decided to participate.
“In Taiwan, riding a bike is very common,” explains Tsai’s grandson, Alan Sim, who also participates in City to Shore. “So she grabbed her little one-speed bike and was doing the ride.”
“This October will be my 33rd ride. I’ve ridden the same bicycle every time.”, said Lan Yin Tsai.
“I started to ride bikes when I got to the United States from Taiwan in 1969. Everywhere I went—to church, to the post office—I would bike.
I take care of myself because I take care of people. I treat them with massage. You feel tired or sore, you come to me!
I was massaging a woman with MS. Her son, who was 13 years old, wanted to do this MS150 ride. I said, “If a 13-year-old can do it, why not me?”
The body stops moving because you decide to stop moving. Everybody’s system works better when they ride.
People come to me and say they’ve seen me riding for years. Now I’m the old one, I guess!
I sometimes have to take a break and they put me in the car. But near the end, I always tell them, “Drop me off! Drop me off!” so I can cross the finish line.
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Lan Yin Tsai