Whatever your age is, grab your bicycle and ride! If you are 60 or older, and do not ride a bicycle, let me convince you to ride.
Bike riding among those 60 years and older is growing the fastest according to data collected by the Department of Transportation. Between 1995 and 2009, the rise in cycling among people ages 60-79 accounted for 37 percent of the total net worldwide increase in bike trips.
Getting Started – Find a Community of Bike Riders.
First of all don’t be afraid of riding a bike. Find a nearby program that teaches adults to ride and the skills required to ride in traffic. There should be a website for this purpose then you will receive a wealth of information about different bicycle programs.
Listed will be bike shops, clubs, classes, events, and bike instructors in communities throughout your state. Don’t overlook your local and state advocacy organizations, which at the grass roots level are working to make their communities safer for cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. I am confident you will meet knowledgeable and friendly people eager to see you riding a bicycle safely and with joy.
Get a Bicycle.
Decide how much you can afford to spend and don’t forget to budget for accessories like a helmet, lights, and a lock. If you are fortunate to live in a city with a bike share program, rent one before deciding to buy. There may be a bicycle recycle program in your city where you can purchase a bike for very little money. If you need an added boost while you ride, consider using an electric bicycle. These bikes can propel you even if you don’t pedal, but that won’t give you the aerobic exercise that you’re going for. The best way to use an electric bike is to allow it to assist you as you push the pedals.
This can take some of the load off, especially if you’re fatigued. Electric bikes can also help you maneuver through obstacles, such as steep hills. For a new bike, go to your local bike shop and have fun looking while asking lots of questions. Most important is to test ride all the bikes that interest you. A good bike shop will help you find an appropriate bike for your budget, the correct size and style for your needs, and make final adjustments for maximum comfort.
Carefully Consider Your Physical Needs.
As we get older, our agility decreases, no matter how physically fit we are. Many manufacturers now offer bicycles that are specific for women, seniors, and those with physical limitations. If you are learning to ride or have not ridden in a while, a road (racing) bike may not be the best choice. City bikes are made for comfort and transportation, and with their upright positioning are very manageable to ride. Consider a tricycle if you find balancing on two wheels a challenge.
If lifting your leg over a bicycle frame proves to be challenging then look for a step-through bike which can be handy for all genders. I am now looking for a bicycle with wider tires and a deep step-through.
Finding Easy and Accessible Places to Ride.
Riding your bicycle should provide hours of healthy, stress-free, physical activity outdoors that will allow you to enjoy the scenery and the company of friends. Take time to find places to ride that are easy and where you feel safe from traffic. Look online for bike maps of your area and ask your local bike shop for suggestions. Organizations that offer bike education classes may offer easy group rides, usually free of charge. Be on the lookout for community bike rides, many of which close the roads to motorized traffic.
What to Wear.
Wear whatever clothing you have that is comfortable when moving and feels good. There is no need to purchase special clothing. But you should be aware that wide leg pants can get caught in your bike chain, especially if there is no guard. Use reflective ankle straps to clinch around the bottom of your pant leg. Wear shoes that protect your feet and avoid flip-flops. Natural fibres like wool are excellent to moderate heat while “tech wick” shirts wash and dry quickly.
Learning to Maintain Your Bike.
A bicycle is a sturdy vehicle with all the parts easily visible and fixable. At a minimum, I encourage you to learn to clean your bike and change a flat tire. Adding a tire repair kit and a multi-tool to your bag will cover most road-side repairs.
Staying Physically Fit.
The benefits of regularly riding a bike include weight loss and preventing serious diseases such as stroke and heart attacks. Riding a bicycle is low impact, an important consideration for keeping active if you have arthritis in your lower joints. You can take your bike every time you visit a museum, go to a meeting, or visit friends. With your bike, you no longer have to worry how far you have to park from your destination. If you have arthritis and are no longer able to walk as far as you would like, don’t forget that you can ride your bike for miles.
Riding a bicycle is for everyone no matter their age!