Some people celebrate birthdays by blowing out candles and opening gifts, but Waxahachie resident Jim Goss celebrates his by riding his bicycle one mile for each year he’s been alive.

This year’s trip was 81 miles.

Goss was accompanied part of the way by Jim Dockins, a mere 70-year-old who celebrated his birthday in the same manner June 24.

“I started up in my subdivision this morning at 3 a.m. and then, by about 9 a.m., I came out to Getzendaner Park and made three trips to Lions Park and back, making 81 miles,” said Goss, who began the tradition last year on his 80th birthday. “I didn’t tell anybody what I was going to do last year until I was finished.”

Goss and his wife, Arlene, moved to Waxahachie 2 ½ years ago from Spring just north of Houston, to be able to spend more time with their grandchildren.

“One is in the (WHS) band and the other is a (Cherokee) Charmer,” he said.

Goss, slight of build like his riding partner, was an avid runner until his legs “gave out” about 25 years ago. Since then he has exercised with his bicycle and participated in bike rides including the Waxahachie Rotary Club’s annual fundraiser, the Cow Creek Classic, and an annual bike ride in Kerrville, Texas.

It’s nothing for Goss to ride 50 miles at his leisure. Although he doesn’t ride every day, he logs quite a few miles annually.

“We’re trying to get up some interest among some other people to ride,” he said. “It’s not necessary to ride 80 miles, but we just want to show people what they’re capable of doing.”

Both Goss and Dockins recommend investing a little more money in a good bicycle.

“These bikes we have, which are the same brand (Trek), are very similar except that one is slightly heavier than the other,” Dockins said, saying a person can invest in a high-end bike with gears that are easy to shift.

Both Dockins and Goss praised the city for providing a venue like Getzendaner Park.

“This park is outstanding. It’s one of the nicest ones around and very well maintained,” Goss said.

The two friends, who discovered they had a mutual interest in long-distance biking, met through the Ellis County Master Gardener Association.

Contact Paul at or 469-517-1450.