How Leo Tolstoy Learned to Ride a Bike at 67, and Other Tales of Lifelong Learning

Some say you’re never too old to learn something new. Others say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, you know where we come down on this. And we’ve got some celebrity case studies to back us up. In a blog post yesterday, The New York Times featured four cultural icons and one war hero who learned new skills later in life. Miles Davis started boxing when most boxers are hanging up their gloves. Ayn Rand, in her 60s, improbably took up the hobby of stamp collecting. Marie Curie learned to swim in her 50s. And the great novelist Leo Tolstoy took his first bike ride at the age of 67. The Times writes that he started cycling:

only a month after the death of his 7-year-old son, Vanichka. He was still grieving, and the Moscow Society of Velocipede-Lovers provided him a free bike and instruction along the garden paths on his estate. He became a devotee, taking rides after his morning chores. “Count Leo Tolstoy . . . now rides the wheel,” declared Scientific American in 1896, “much to the astonishment of the peasants on his estate.”

Apparently that’s Tolstoy and his bike above.

via @kirstinbutler

Related Content:

The Last Days of Leo Tolstoy Captured on Video

Rare Recording: Leo Tolstoy Reads From His Last Major Work in Four Languages, 1909

The Art of Leo Tolstoy: See His Drawings in the War & Peace Manuscript & Other Literary Texts


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.