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Old 10-01-07, 11:05 AM   #1
sekaijin
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Too old to start riding?

My first time posting in this forum. I am still too young to qualify.

I imagine you regulars here are super-fit, active, athletic 50+ers, and I hope to join your ranks in not that many years. So I hope you wonít be offended by my question:

My dad is 75 and showing interest in getting a bike. I suppose he learned to ride as a kid, but I donít recall him ever having or riding a bike as an adult.

I should be happy about this. But I confess to feeling a little nervous. Could someone please reassure me that I donít need to be worried about his risk of injury as an older, inexperienced cyclist? My dad is overweight, manages some health issues that are not unusual for 75, and was never an athlete, but is otherwise in fine shape.

He has been to the bike store to check out the Trek Lime, which I suppose might be a good choice for him. (Iím a little agog at the price tag for what it is, but thatís a separate topic.)

Thoughts? Many thanks Ö
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Old 10-01-07, 11:13 AM   #2
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As long as he has no significant medical issues that would prevent it, riding a bike is as good for his health as any other form of exercise.

Having said that, the type of riding (where and how) will have a major impact on the type of bike to obtain. Ideally for new riders, a place to ride separated from traffic is the way to go. Rail Trails, Multi Use Paths, Parks or even around the block in a quiet neighborhood are a good way to start.
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Old 10-01-07, 11:18 AM   #3
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Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at age 122 (!), rode her bike until she was 100. Your dad has a good 25 years of cycling in front of him!

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Old 10-01-07, 11:55 AM   #4
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Still Breathing? Then he's not too old. He might want to check out a comfort bike, a long wheel based recumbent or even a recumbent trike like the Easyracers EZ3. The lime looks like a good choice, and it's not all that expensive. Though plainer comfort bikes could be had for a couple of hundred less. At his age, its no time to be denying himself a small pleasure like this.

Start gentle and work up.

And not all of us are great athletes, but most are in better shape than a few years ago.
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Old 10-01-07, 12:13 PM   #5
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I disagree with the others about there being no age too old. As people get older, their sense of balance goes first. Balancing is a critical part of riding a bike. As long as a person has a good sense of balance, I would think that riding a bike would be OK. But it is something to think about first. My 85 year old mother was thinking of riding again and my brother advised her not to for just this reason. She asked me and I told her that my brother is quite right that the sense of balance goes first and it might be more prudent to walk instead.
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Old 10-01-07, 12:34 PM   #6
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As long as he has no significant medical issues that would prevent it, riding a bike is as good for his health as any other form of exercise.
I would agree. In fact, I would encourage he get a bike and start right in, sensibly that is. I've been reading a LOT of articles on fitness lately and not a one discourages bicycling, in fact, the opposite is true. They go on to cite the improvements in health gained from bicycling.

Good for him, going to look at bikes!

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Old 10-01-07, 01:34 PM   #7
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two years ago while riding a charity ride, the 50 mile event, I met a gentleman who was 84 and doing the same event. His comment was that he just took it easy and rode at his own pace. I might also point out that he was not the last rider in for that particular route. The other nice thing about it was that for a long while he was riding with a 13 year old with a bike to big and on a route to long.
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Old 10-01-07, 01:40 PM   #8
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I disagree with the others about there being no age too old. As people get older, their sense of balance goes first.
That's why I included a trike in my recommendations. However, I also took the fact that the Father looking at the Trek Lime as an indication that in his case, balance is not an issue. My Dad is 82. His balance is fine.
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Old 10-01-07, 01:43 PM   #9
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Last year, in Houston, a guy 93 years old rode solo from Houston to Austin and back.
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Old 10-01-07, 01:44 PM   #10
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I do RAGBRAI and have ridden with several 80+ year olds! There was one guy that rode a bike the same age he was every year. Had a shirt that said "Gears are for wimps!"
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Old 10-01-07, 01:45 PM   #11
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Balance like everything else requires exercise and practice. The brain needs food too. Don't be too fast to write old people off.
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Old 10-01-07, 02:51 PM   #12
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I figure I might have trouble swinging a leg over a tall seat by the time I'm pushing 80. The only accomodation I plan to make for age is to consider a step-through friendly frame.
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Old 10-01-07, 02:55 PM   #13
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Oh, and I forgot to acknowledge that ..you're right, ummm, yea, uh, we're all super fit in this forum. ..We're also all super brilliant, ..and quite good looking, ..yup every one of us.
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Old 10-01-07, 02:58 PM   #14
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Balance like everything else requires exercise and practice. The brain needs food too. Don't be too fast to write old people off.
Yep. Use it or lose it.
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Old 10-01-07, 03:27 PM   #15
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Oh, and I forgot to acknowledge that ..you're right, ummm, yea, uh, we're all super fit in this forum. ..We're also all super brilliant, ..and quite good looking, ..yup every one of us.
That's so true!
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Old 10-01-07, 03:45 PM   #16
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You can never be too old to start. You can always be too young to stop.
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Old 10-01-07, 03:52 PM   #17
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You can never be too old to start. You can always be too young to stop.
Agree +++++
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Old 10-01-07, 04:49 PM   #18
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I got back on a bike at age 66 .. and I love it. OK, I'm a few years shy of your dad but if he wants to do it, fine! Maybe he wants to ride with you (hint). I bought a hybrid and still ride it although I thought about something faster for a while. Most of my rides are 20-30 miles. 200-300 miles a month is normal for me now (gotta have time to play golf too). Tell him to ENJOY!
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Old 10-01-07, 04:58 PM   #19
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Here's a thought: can he try a spinning class first, for beginners, to get the legs getting used to the pedal stroke and time in the saddle? Get a little cardio going, muscles working and not having to worry about falling right off the bat? Especially as the weather is getting cooler.

Different animal, but similar enough to the road to give him a good start...
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Old 10-01-07, 05:01 PM   #20
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Oh, and I forgot to acknowledge that ..you're right, ummm, yea, uh, we're all super fit in this forum. ..We're also all super brilliant, ..and quite good looking, ..yup every one of us.
And you can take this to the bank!
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Old 10-01-07, 05:36 PM   #21
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If your dad is still capable of sound thinking, I really think it is his decision if he wants to ride. You didn't mention if he had dementia or mental disabilities; therefore, perhaps, a supportive role would be more beneficial than opposition. Remember, you asked this question on the 50+ forum. If you were looking for someone to justify your apprehension, you're talking to older people that cherish our freedom of life and choice.
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Old 10-01-07, 05:44 PM   #22
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Several choices, besides the Lime: Townie has a neat low stand-over feet-to-the-ground while you sit on the saddle bike.Choices of single speed to 27 gears or 3-5-7 internal gears. Rans also has such a model out.
Am 75 years young, spouse is a young 72 and we tandem at least 100 miles a week TWOgether. Oh, do own/ride a full racing bike. Senior Olympics coming up, again!
Dad can also get a 3-wheeled recumbent or get a tandem with you up front, dad in the back.
Hey, you only live once . . . do it!
What's he to do, wait 'til he gets older?!
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Old 10-01-07, 05:54 PM   #23
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I totally agree -

1. The decision is his. Why are we so darn protective of older folks, as if they had no sense? You gotta LIVE!!

2. I am near 68, wife near 70 - I plan on riding into my 80's and 90's if I make it.

3. If his balance IS bad (I really doubt it) then there are always excellent, lightweight trikes.

4. Start easy, ride with him. You will both get more fit.

And, yes I am a super-fit athletic, trim, stud! (Don't I wish!)
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Old 10-01-07, 10:04 PM   #24
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I disagree with the others about there being no age too old. As people get older, their sense of balance goes first. Balancing is a critical part of riding a bike. As long as a person has a good sense of balance, I would think that riding a bike would be OK. But it is something to think about first. My 85 year old mother was thinking of riding again and my brother advised her not to for just this reason. She asked me and I told her that my brother is quite right that the sense of balance goes first and it might be more prudent to walk instead.
I would make the point that maintaining your sense of balance as you age is very important. When I broke my ankle I did alot of balance exercises in rehab. 4 years later I still do them and plan to continue.
Starting out, or restarting cycling at 75 may take some work but short of taking to the road immeadiatly it should improve the balance thing. Go for it.
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Old 10-01-07, 10:38 PM   #25
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I would make the point that maintaining your sense of balance as you age is very important. When I broke my ankle I did alot of balance exercises in rehab. 4 years later I still do them and plan to continue.
Starting out, or restarting cycling at 75 may take some work but short of taking to the road immeadiatly it should improve the balance thing. Go for it.
Tai Chi is very good for improving balance when you're older. One of the govt agencies here in NZ supports an initative to teach older folk Tai Chi as a way to improve mobility and balance.
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