It Takes Two

Bicycling has always played a role in the lives of Dave and Barbara Wagner, from cycling classes to 15-mile morning bike rides. But in the last 10 years they have taken their love of cycling out of the gym and off of local trails to their adventures overseas!

Tell us about your family.
We have been married for 47 years with three adult children (Scott, Allison and Mark) and two grandsons (Gus and Sam). We grew up in the Northern panhandle of West Virginia near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We married in July 1970 after graduating from college. We lived in 10 different places during Dave’s 20-year army career, including three years in Gainesville while Dave attended law school. Our favorite assignment was Berlin, Germany (1986–1988). We moved back to Gainesville in 1990 when Dave retired from the army. We are both long–term members of the Gainesville Cycling Club and the Gainesville Health and Fitness Center (GHFC). Our house is a 7-minute walk from the GHFC Main Center.

How do you live a 360life?
We are both addicted to exercise. We do not feel good if we do not get some exercise just about every day (a long walk or a bike ride at least six days a week). We also enjoy three weekly spin cycle classes led by instructors Karyn Austin and Robyn Gilbert at GHFC. Barbara began going to spin classes about 10 years before Dave retired. Dave’s job as County Attorney was sometimes stressful and always busy with long workdays and frequent evening meetings. In order to maintain his exercise schedule, Dave met the late Perry McGriff at 5:30 a.m. for 21 years to do a 15-mile bike ride about four days a week. Dave also frequently rode his bike to his job at the County Administration Building in downtown Gainesville.

What is your wellness mantra?
Take advantage your health while you have it. To us this means that we make time for exercise in our daily routines. We also have an active social life — we have a lot of friends from our cycling classes and other activities. We find that most of our friends lead an active lifestyle. We also take active vacation trips, usually with friends. Our favorite vacation activity is cycling.

How long have you been cycling?
We always had bicycles as a family. We have been going on bicycle-oriented trips together for over 10 years.

Tell us how you started?
David joined the Gainesville Cycling Club in 1990 and did weekend club rides with GCC members. Barbara started cycling after she participated in spin cycle classes for a few years at Gainesville Health and Fitness Center.

Please share your favorite cycling tour, in detail, and what it meant to you.
Since 2006 we have done 19 cycling vacations in nine European countries, Canada, Costa Rica and Vietnam. We have also done bike rides in over 30 states in the United States. Our favorite bike tour company is Vermont Bicycling Tours (Vbt.com). We enjoy cycling vacations for four main reasons.

1) We meet new friends and reconnect with old friends who enjoy cycling vacations.
2) The seat of a bicycle is a great way to see a foreign country.
3) We experience new cultures and unique food.
4) We are “somewhat” successful in burning the additional calories we consume.

Selecting a favorite tour is a difficult choice so we will select two trips. Our favorite cycling tour was in the Dordogne region of Southern France. We did this self-guided tour in 2012 with two other couples. Dordogne is a lightly populated, beautiful and very historic region (100 years war, prehistoric caves). The rural roads in this region are not congested and the French drivers respect cyclists. We also enjoyed excellent food and wine in France. Our second favorite trip was in 2011 to Vietnam because we cycled through areas where Dave served in the Army. This was a guided trip. Most of the cycling was through small hamlets and agricultural areas.

What keeps you motivated?
We do not feel good if we do not exercise. We enjoy being active because we like to eat!

Do you have tours that you would like to complete on your bucket list?
Scandinavia, especially Copenhagen.

What is your go-to diet?
We eat a balanced diet with a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.

How would you encourage others to start living a 360life?
Pick an activity you like and make exercise a priority in your daily routine. Find a few exercise friends — a commitment to exercise with others keeps you motivated to show up. Joining a fitness center is also a great idea. Some people also benefit from fitness trackers.

What is your daily workout routine?
Every morning we try to do a bike ride, a walk or attend a group exercise class (spin or stretching class). We lift weights (using weightlifting machines) at least three days each week. We spend at least three mornings a week at Gainesville Health & Fitness Center. We also frequently take an afternoon walk together.

What is the most important lesson being active has taught you?
You can do more than you think you can, even at our age. Aerobic exercise is important.

What is one thing you wouldn’t cycle without?
Two things: helmets and front and back lights on our bikes.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
We enjoy talking to people interested in taking cycling vacations and frequently provide helpful information to folks interested in cycling vacations both here and overseas. 

Favorite way to wind down from a busy week: Take a bike ride or do a spin class. We also like to go to the GHFC, where we enjoy the sauna, cold plunge and hydro-massage chairs. Then we have a nice dinner — either at home or at a local restaurant.

Favorite book: Barbara’s is “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown, and Dave’s is “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand.

Favorite ways to relax: Other than exercise (which reduces stress and relaxes us), Barbara likes reading and quilting, and Dave likes taking photos, reading and watching sports on TV.

Go-to restaurants in Gainesville: Ballyhoo Grill and Francesca’s Trattoria (both are within a 20 minute walk of our house).