On August 28, 2006, at age 81, Sal Anselmo bicycled 81 miles from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to celebrate his birthday. It was the thick of summer with temperatures reaching into the 90s, and he had no support vehicle following him. It was just Sal, his bike, his camera and a healthy dose of determination. After all, this ride had been on Sal’s wish list since he got his first bicycle – a present on his 60th birthday.
After a decades-long career as owner of a popular local record store, Anselmo said to himself: “I am not going to sit in a rocking chair when I retire.” He doesn’t seem to want to sit at all. Besides bicycling, there’s bowling. And dancing. A social dancer since his was a kid, he was talked into competitive dancing at age 65. At age 75, he won first place in a high profile dance competition in New York City.
From when he was a boy during the Depression through his adult life, Sal Anselmo has faced lesson after lesson about the value of things. Toys can get stolen. Stores can get robbed. But passion can never be taken away, and Sal is passionate about cycling. This year alone, he’s pedaled over a 1,300 miles in rides ranging from 30 to 40 miles each. He says he feels so good when he’s riding, he has to remember to turn around and head home.
Sal approaches long-distance cycling with the curiosity of an explorer, leaving the straight and fast routes to see what’s down the side roads and in the small towns. It’s hard to say whether Sal’s passion for cycling drives his energy level or his energy level drives his passion. Either way, he’s driven to see what’s down that next road. And he’s proven that you don’t have to slow down just because you turn 65.
Sal Anselmo … Peoples Health Champion.
If you think about it, you probably know a Champion.
A Champion may even be you. Nominate yourself or someone you know—like a relative, co-worker or neighbor—as a Peoples Health Champion.