Ed "Foxy Grandpa" Delano
Foxy’s Fall Century is named after one of the Davis Bike Club’s early, influential leaders, Ed ‘’Foxy Grandpa’’ Delano. Most of the Foxy’s riders won’t be anywhere near as old as Foxy Grandpa was when he hung up his cleats, at the tender age of 88. Those who are anywhere near that age owe a significant debt of gratitude to one of the sport’s regional pioneers.
Ed began riding recreationally after he retired from Caltrans, then known as the California Highway Department, and moved to Davis with his wife, Rosemond. What started as a simple form of recreation quickly became a passion. While his cycling career blossomed late, it fully unfolded as he won four gold medals in Senior Olympics competitions, competed in the Veterans World Championships in Europe three different times, won numerous California and district time trial championships, and in 1988, broke the time trial record for his age group at the Veterans National Time Trial Championship.
Over these years, Ed completed four bike rides across the continental United States, perfecting his own system of ‘’plastic’’ touring and camping: relying on credit cards to provide sustenance and shelter during his long trips. He was 75 years old in 1980 when he made his last cross-country trip to his college reunion in Worcester, Mass.
Ed rode in the first-ever Davis Double Century in 1970, earning the respect of riders very much his junior and cementing his nickname as “Foxy Grandpa,” coined in the article about the event in the Cal Aggie Bike Club newsletter published the following autumn. He rode each of the first six DCs, becoming the oldest rider to finish in 1975, an honor he held until 1991 when Vedder ‘’Doc’’ Wright of Davis became the first octogenarian to finish.
Ed was an active leader of the Davis Bike Club from its inception in 1976. He helped organize the ‘’Over the Hill Gang’’ rides as regular activities on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and rode with the old guys – still the best ongoing men’s support group in the area – until he was well past 85.
Ed Delano was one of that small group of ‘’elderly’’ folks who began turning the whole concept of retirement upside down in the early 1960s, primarily through their involvement in participatory sports. He blazed a trail for a whole generation of increasingly older riders (and runners). These older athletes have found a new dimension to their lives, at a point when they might have been considered too tired or too worn out.
Foxy Grandpa died Jan. 13, 1997 at the age of 92. Shortly after his death, former Wheelworks owner Dave Petersen captured Foxy Grandpa’s spirit in a memoir. As Ed told Petersen in their last meeting, ‘’I guess I can’t ride a bike anymore. I’d hoped I could ride a bike ‘til I was a hundred.’’