Shared Passion

02/01/2023 12:27 AM By Lisa Anderson
Breaking Social Norms
Ken Wade
Ken Wade
Story by Cynthia McFarland • Photo by Joshua Jacobs

Shared Passions

Mountain Biker Cultivates Unexpected Friendships

On a mountain bike at the Santos Trailhead is one of the most unexpected places to find a Harvard-educated inventor and entrepreneur. Then again, people may have many unanticipated layers. Relying on stereotypes can be a barrier to surprisingly rich and rewarding relationships.

Such thoughts never crossed Ken Wade’s mind when he first began biking. But he’s learned more than a few unanticipated things about himself—and others.

Raised in the D.C. area, Ken is a Harvard MBA, who became a CPA, and has spent most of his adult life in commercial real estate.

As a busy real estate investor, Ken discovered that knowing the market cycle was crucial to knowing when to buy or sell. A “hot” market could make all the difference.

Using his own experience and problem-solving nature, he invented, a fully automated, local real estate market timing system, 20 years in development. The web-based tool utilizes the same professional predictive methods used by big banks. It debuted in 2006.


Ken was living in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, when he met his wife Dale, an award-winning teacher and dedicated horsewoman. The town had a popular 24-hour mountain biking competition, which inspired him to get into the fledgling sport.

When the couple decided it was time for a change, they chose Ocala. The equine focus appealed to them. Dale’s mother had already retired to the area, and while visiting her, Dale had bought a 10-acre property in southern Marion Country.

“We were both ready for a big change. You couldn’t get a much bigger change than moving from West Virginia to Ocala,” says Ken. “The idea was move to Florida and start a completely new chapter. We both had barns full of stuff, which we sold at auction and then moved down here with just what we could fit in a U-Haul.”

Ken and Dale moved south in 1998 and built a home on the Belleview area property.

Dale had sold her horses in West Virginia, but it didn’t take long to reignite that old passion. “Within a year, she’d discovered the OBS [Ocala Breeders’ Sales] and called me, one day, to say she was bringing home a horse that just came off the track,” recalls Ken. “That started the horses again; we had to build a barn.”

Today, they have three horses and three rescue dogs. Dale competes regularly with her Arabian “Little Man” and is a national champion in dressage.

The couple didn’t have children together, but Ken has three children from previous marriages and six grandchildren.

Hitting the Trails

When the couple moved to Florida, Ken had his own home-based business day-trading stocks, which meant hours at a desk behind eight computer monitors. All that sitting made him crave something physical.

“I had my old mountain bike and started riding around Santos, which was several old quarries at the time,” he says. “At that point I wasn’t doing it for health; I just wanted to have the equivalent of the ‘runner’s high.’ But I never got that feeling; it always felt like an uphill battle.”

Life stayed busy, and Ken fell away from biking for a while. Then, a health scare in December 2019 hit close to home. “I thought I was having a stroke, but it turned out to be an ocular migraine,” says Ken, who spent two days in the hospital, where doctors found no cause for the episode.

It scared him enough to make a vow to get away from his desk and start getting regular exercise. Once he achieved that elusive “runner’s high” feeling, he became an exceptionally avid biker.

“I reached that point where I was exercising for fun and de-stressing, not just because I ‘should’ be doing it,” says Ken, who bought a new bike for his 65th birthday in 2021.


After COVID-19 hit, the Greenway trail system shut down. When it opened again, Ken discovered the Strava app for bikers and runners. Tracking his time and speed inspired him to keep improving. He rode harder and longer and even branched out into road biking.

Strava also introduced him to a group of other passionate bikers—people who ended up becoming friends, even though he wasn’t looking for them.

“My life is very full. I didn’t think I needed friends. The people I have met through biking and become close to are a smorgasbord of personalities and people types. It’s brought together black, white, gay, lesbian, straight, hard-right Republicans, and far-left liberal Democrats, all riding together,” Ken observes.

“Prior to developing these friendships, I had no spare moments to spend with someone who wasn’t in my political group. I think of myself as not closed-minded, but realized I saw it as justifiable to have disdain for people who think the opposite of me,” admits Ken, who has a gay son Kenny, whom he loves greatly and is very proud of.

The camaraderie and common interest of biking was a springboard to building genuine friendships. Ken realized he’d found tolerance, acceptance, and appreciation for people who didn’t necessarily think like he did.

“In our little circle, mountain biking has brought us together, regardless of the baggage we’ve brought into the relationship. We’ve developed trust and friendships, so prejudices we had before no longer exist,” says Ken.

It’s a lesson he’d like to share with the rest of the world.
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