Covenant Living at the Samarkand residents join virtual adventure
As the Winter Olympics in Beijing draws near, Covenant Living communities are hosting a Bike-to-Beijing challenge for their residents.
Participants include Covenant Living at the Samarkand in Santa Barbara, where residents are going all the way to China … Virtually.
This is a virtual cyber cycle challenge where communities are joining together to bike the almost 6,922 miles from Washington, D.C., to Beijing in time for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. The challenge started Jan. 3 and will continue to Feb. 4, the day of the Olympics’ opening ceremony.
“We got together with the other communities within the Covenant community, trying to find an activity to bring people in the communities together,” Kelsey Roberts, the wellness coordinator at Samarkand, told the News-Press. “Covenant Living has a total of 16 communities across the country. Cybercycle is a great way to exercise but to be cognitively engaged. Bike-to-Beijing was born out of that desire.
“‘Bike to Beijing’ is a great way for these residents to kick off the new year by staying fit and taking part in a wellness program — not to mention throwing in a bit of competitiveness along the way,” Ms. Roberts said.
The Cyber Cycle is a stationary recumbent bike with a video screen showing virtual roads to ride on. Residents can add to their total by logging in each time they ride.
This is a combined effort with mileage from all communities added up. Top riders and teams will be recognized within the Covenant Living organization.
“They each have a member profile with information, login info, heart rate etc; and the bike records their information,” Ms. Roberts said. “It is an individual goal, but this one is done as a community, bringing camaraderie and connection to the community to motivate each other, but they do have individual goals. Participation is a group and team effort.”
There is no minimum mileage requirement for participants.
“Some people get intimidated by that, so this allows people to participate based on their comfortability,” Ms. Roberts said. “We even have a Samarkand Strong Squad, encouraging the dedicated ones to come on a regular basis. I gave each member a mask that says ‘Samarkand Strong Squad’ on it.
“Samarkand is the No. 1 facility in the community so far. It encourages friendly competition within the community,” said Ms. Roberts. (Samarkand literally means “The heart of one’s desire.”)
The Samarkand community has logged almost 3,000 miles with about 50 residents. “It’s about getting more residents involved,” said Ms. Roberts.
Ms. Roberts talked about some of the participants individually:
— Gigi Major-Brown will be 98 in March and rides every single day for an hour. She is involved in everything from dancing to playing Bocce ball.
“She has been a dedicated cyber cyclist since I have been here. She is a good recruiter as well,” Ms. Roberts said.
— Al Behmer, 77, has been giving it a go for the first time and does one two-mile trek twice a week.
— Evelyn Wolski, 89, has completed 87 miles and comes on a regular basis. She got into fitness in her 70s.
“I want to emphasize how great this competition has been as a community bringing connection, camaraderie and engagement, even more than the physical fitness aspect of it,” Ms. Roberts said. “With all the craziness going on, it’s a silver lining still being able to be involved.”