Super Senior: Peter Lakatos
RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Peter Lakatos is a self-described bike snob.
“I sort of go all out, no matter what I’m involved in,” Lakatos said.
Collecting custom-built bicycles can cost as much as a used car. “A few years ago I had 14 bikes. I guess I’m down to eight now,” Lakatos said.
It’s a far cry from when he was a kid growing up in Philadelphia bikeless. “I was one of the poorer kids on the block,” he said.
Lakatos worked hard and studied hard to become a dentist, but he joined the Army during the Vietnam War. “I signed a commission and ended up at Fort Riley Kansas and was a ‘toy captain’ for a few years,” he said. His job was mending soldiers with dental injuries fighting in the war.
Lakatos is just a few weeks shy of 80 and still has a dental practice in Rutland where he works one day a week. “Because it stimulates the gray matter, which is really key. Otherwise, if you don’t use it, what do they say...”
Exercising the mind and just a few miles away -- the body. He’s meeting up with his biking buddies, including Jim LaCoille, at Pine Hill Park.
Peter Lakatos: You want to do a wheely up there, Jim?
Jim LaCoille: No, this is all about you... Dude, you’re 80 and still riding bikes. It’s great.
Lakatos truly is the king of the hill. “I try to get out and ride five to six times a week,” he said.
“I think the first time he took me for a ride was when he was in his early 70s and I was in my early 40s. I think I almost had a heart attack that day,” LaCoille recalled.
“Yeah, I thought I was going to call 911,” added Lakatos.
But LaCoille survived and thrived. “Peter probably changed my whole life,” LaCoille said.
Lakatos has been peddling the benefits of pedaling to the masses for decades, including this reporter. For now, I’ll stick with the pavement. Lakatos is at home on the dirt. “I crash all the time. The last time I crashed was last week,” he said.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Viewers at home might say, ‘He shouldn’t be riding at his age.’
Peter Lakatos: Right. Should I be sitting here in the chair?
But with age comes reality. Lakatos no longer rides the mountain trails at Killington and avoids the jumps. “At this age, I like to keep my bike on the ground,” he admitted.
“He inspired me to not be a couch potato,” LaCoille said.
An inspiration not just to Jim but for many. “You meet wonderful people mountain biking,” Lakatos said.
A lifestyle he says he has no intention of hitting the brakes on.
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