Collier County woman spends her 101st birthday cycling

One Collier County woman is celebrating a milestone in an active way. Jeans Simmons is spending her 101st birthday cycling.

This is the first in-person event in her senior living community since the pandemic began. So, they’re finally getting the chance to socialize.

Jean and her friends are excited to enjoy activities together like they used to.

At The Carlisle in Naples, getting back to normal means cycling in a spare room. Yet, if participants use their imagination, they can envision a ride by the beach with some music to set the mood.

All together, laughing, joking and exercising.

This is The Carlisle’s first community-wide, in-person event since the pandemic started.

Mary Beth Baxter is the Assistant Executive director.  “And you got to see a smile! Because we’ve been covered up in masks for the past year. So to see their smile to see their pearly whites, that’s an exclamation point right there,” Baxter said.

Simmons had a lot to smile about during the 30-minute cycling class since she turned 101 on Tuesday.

“I wonder how I’m doing it because I can’t understand how you can get this old and still keep going!” said Simmons.

For Simmons, finally having the opportunity to exercise with friends again is the perfect birthday present.

“You have to make up your mind that you have to do it if you’re going to stay with it! Otherwise, you’re going to disappear without knowing it, so I’m happy about that,” said Simmons.

It’s a welcome change for Dory Hayden too. “To have people around with the same goal, and enjoying it no masks none of that, it’s just, it’s such a relaxing thing. It’s a relief,” Hayden.

A relief and a chance to be active, all while laughing and having fun with friends. “Because if I would sit I wouldn’t be able to walk!” Simmons said.

The residents will continue the cycling event for the next few days as part of the “tour De Zest” event. They’re competing with other communities nationwide trying to get the most miles.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Drew Hill
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