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Cycling Later in Life

I did not start cycling until five years ago, at the age of 56. Now, cycling is my main outdoor activity, eclipsing day hiking, backpacking, and kayaking. I have found that cycling is less stressful on my aging knees than and allows me to see and experience more of the great outdoors than day hiking or backpacking. At my best I might hike twelve miles a day, but I can easily ride two to three times that distance in far less time. While I will often hike, backpack, kayak and cycle alone, I rarely enjoy paddling, hiking, or backpacking with more than one or two others, but at least monthly cycle with groups from half a dozen to two dozen. The social aspect of cycling with these groups has become as much a draw as the physical exercise and exposure to the outdoors.

aka "Boonerelli"
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Re: Cycling Later in Life

@John 

I hear you on the social aspect. Cycling is one of the only outdoor sports where I actually prefer the company of others. I had the luck to belong to a socially-oriented cycling club in Tampa a few years ago...think of it as a conversation group on two wheels. It was pretty awesome -- not all testosterone-y like so many cycling clubs. 

Put me on a backpacking trail, however, and I quickly get annoyed with others. I need some solo time out in the woods 😉

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Re: Cycling Later in Life

That is pretty much my take. Thanks for the reply. On a side note, for safety reasons, I will not kayak moving water alone. I will, however, kayak solo on flat water.

aka "Boonerelli"
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Re: Cycling Later in Life

Good on ya! It's so healthy and awesome to find ways to be active at any age, of course, but even more so the older we get. I think people often undervalue their own potential to try new activies as adults.

For anyone cycling at 60+, though, please be careful in your choices and use all appropriate safety gear. I know someone in her late 60s who's enduring some painful recovery from a wrist injury after falling.

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Re: Cycling Later in Life

Even though I'm now months away from 60 I find that I still need to remind myself that I'm not invincible.  So I need to say "no" to trails that are too technical or simply beyond my skill set (or my bike's capability).

I ride every other day and want to continue to do so for many years to come.

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Re: Cycling Later in Life

It's great you can get out there and enjoy it. that's what it's all about.    Look at Hal Russel, he just finished his 6th Tour Divide (canada to mexico under 30 days) at age 70. 

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Re: Cycling Later in Life

I've been on a bicycle most of my adult life -- I'll turn 70 later this week. No matter my age, cycling never gets old.

I've been on a few cross-country cycle tours. Self-organized, but with other like-minded people; on long rides you usually hook up with new-made friends for a week or so, you can't get lonely. Cycle touring combines camping, exploring, hiking (spend a couple days at a national park along the way), wandering, map-reading, route research, minimalism (either that or pull an extra trailer)..... throw in ballooning and spelunking if you feel like it.

The TransAmerica Cycle Route has about 2000 cyclists on it during any one summer (my estimate, from a 3-month trip). I'd say 70% are college 'kids' on a break or after graduation; 10% are foreigners, mainly Europeans trying to squeeze it in on a 90-day visa; and 10% are us retired folks. On a cross-country trip I met over 300 cyclists, easy. None of them were riding "time trials", it's not that kind of life. It's campinig on wheels. Put me on a touring bicycle and I'll have the best summer of my life.

 You might give that a try. If a summer-long ride is daunting, start out with a week's camping trip. You don't need to train, the ride will do it for you. Just learn to pack light.

Depending on what part of the country you're in, you'll meet like-minded folks. That's what makes it memorable.

 

Edit: I found inspiration and a wealth of research help for the touring life, at crazyguyonabike-dot-com . It's a non-commercial site with hundreds of journals, from one-day rides to years-long world cycle tours. If you need inspiration, check it out....

 

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