RICHMOND, Va. -- Art Luck knows the highs and lows of life.
“I was a helper. Drove a forklift at Baker Equipment at night time,” said Luck. “It was tough.”
The foreman built firetrucks for nearly 30 years. But 10 years ago, the welder got burned by a pink slip.
“It hit me hard. Hit anybody hard,” Luck recalled.
Jobless and out of shape, his luck ran out.
“There were openings. I tried to find other jobs but there were no jobs to be had,” said Luck.
To ease his pain, the Henrico man immerses himself in nostalgia hanging in his shed.
“It brings me close to the riding and memories,” said Luck.
Accolades and trophies remind him of his winning ways.
“This is a gold cup. Little dusty. Still brings back memories. I think this one is in Georgia,” said Luck.
But he isn’t letting the good old days pass him by.
“If you want to live longer. You got to be active. That is the way I look at it. Sitting on the couch doesn’t help none,” said Luck.
The 73-year-old wants to prove he still has a lot left in the tank. While many men his age lounge in Lazy Boys or ride golf carts, Art Luck grabs the handlebars of father time.
“Sometimes when I’m in the gate. I get this (feeling). When you’re at the gate the gate drops and then you’re gone,” said Luck.
He is a fixture at the Richmond BMX Track at Gillies Creek Park. A landmark he not only maintains, but he helped build in 1998.
“I come by here every day,” he said.
Luck is proof the track welcomes riders young and old and all skill levels. “The bumps here. I love them,” he said. “But at my age. I don’t want to get hurt. So I stay closer to the ground.”
Luck still races against riders a dozen years his junior.
Chris Heipel introduced his two sons to BMX racing this spring.
“Arthur Luck is a legend out here,” said Heipel. “When we’re here, kids are literally flocking around Luck.”
The first person to greet the newcomers is Luck.
“Everything he teaches the kids is what he does,” Heipel said. “The kids see that and emulate that.”
Luck’s knowledge helps beginners like Declan kick into high gear.
“Being able to ride a bike at 73 is amazing. Being able to ride a BMX track at 73 is just awesome,” said Declan. “Honestly, everyone loves him here. He is basically a fan favorite.”
He may be their grandfather’s age, but 8-year-old Donavan says his mentor can compete with anyone.
“He is good,” said Donavan. “For 73 he is super, super good.”
His age-defying hobby attracts attention. But the respect Luck gains away from the track means more than any trophy.
“It makes me feel good, and then the parents come to me and say we really appreciate what you’re doing You’re going to make me cry,” said Luck.
Luck said BMX riding serves a metaphor for his journey. “There are a lot of ups and downs."
He is a senior citizen with tread left on his tires.
“When I get a chance I go by the track and ride,” said Luck. “And I’m by myself. And I’m thinking this is doing me some good.”
Luck is a man in motion leaving a wake in the fountain of youth.
“It’s been a long road,” Luck said. “I did my best. That is the way I look at it. I’m not coming in first. Not coming in second. Even if I come in last I’m happy with it.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Richmond BMX, tap here.
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