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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 05-03-08, 07:03 AM   #1
DnvrFox
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What is the Difference?

What is the Difference?

I have been reading the accounts of all of the various excellent and creative skills that have been posted on the hobby thread.

So, in addition to a strong interest in bicycling, the folks in this forum are into a wonderful myriad of interesting and worthwhile activities.

Folks here are active, involved, adventurous, busy, full of energy.

I keep wondering about some of my neighbors (not all) and others I have known, who seem to have pretty much given up on life, or have only a small reach beyond theirselves.

And, I want to know why?

What makes the folks on this forum - at least to me - different than the "mainline" folks that I see around me?

Is it genetic?

Is it background and experiences?

Different value systems (and if so, why?)

How one was raised?

Is it just that busy, active folks are attracted to this forum? But still, if this is true, there is a reason why they are busy and active.

Nutrition?

Or, perhaps I am just misjudging the folks around me, and they do have a lot of things going on that I just don't know about. But I don't think so.

I think of my sister, 5 years older than I am. A big day for her and her husband is going to Wal Mart, finishing the NY Times crossword puzzle, or taking a driving trip. She can't begin to believe all the things Nora and I do.

Our house is like a whirlwind. Right now, the upstairs has 10 chairs in a circle, and music all over the place from Nora's singing group yesterday. My "Man Cave" in the basement also has 10 chairs in a circle from my singing group last night. I have weight equipment (which I use) scattered all around. There is a drying swim suit hanging in the bathroom.

Mine and Nora's desks are filled with paperwork and other errata from all of the community activites in which we are involved. At 68 and 70, we are the most active folks on a block filled with much younger folks.

Our home is definitely NOT a home out of "Better Homes and Gardens." My garage has 6 bikes sitting in various postures, as I am sure that many of you also have.

Will Dehne is scooting across the country, challenging his body to the ultimate.

So, folks, what makes the difference, if there is one?

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Old 05-03-08, 07:43 AM   #2
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50+ is a skewed sample!

Just as the Advocacy forum is skewed and the road forum is skewed etc. In addition, these subforums are sitting inside BF, another skewed sample.

You are observing Darwinism at work Dnvr. I wish someone could tell me who's winning.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:56 AM   #3
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50+ is a skewed sample!

Just as the Advocacy forum is skewed and the road forum is skewed etc. In addition, these subforums and sitting inside BF, andother skewed sample.

You are observing Darwinism at work Dnvr. I wish someone could tell me who's winning.
I've been called a lot of things, but never have I been called "skewed."

Yes, I realize it is a skewed sample, which only illustrates my point.

We are likely 2 -3 Standard Deviations beyond the norm. That still doesn't answer the question of why.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:04 AM   #4
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So, folks, what makes the difference, if there is one?
Must be the pie.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:16 AM   #5
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I suspect it's because bike riders have found the television off button.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:24 AM   #6
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I've often wondered the same thing DF. Every time I go to, say a Wal Mart, and see a 40 something person so obese that they can't even walk to get their chips and soda. And as I notice more and more of those electric carts in the front of the store that used to be for the elderly, now being used by 300+ lb people of all ages. I've talked to my last child still at home about this and all I can come up with is self esteem. People just don't care anymore about too many things. Perhaps the "nanny" state of our government has encouraged this to a certain extent, but I think the TV has also contributed. Just my opinion, it's sad.
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Old 05-03-08, 08:35 AM   #7
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Well, we have 3 bikes in our family room and 2 in our office. And it doesn't even phase me....

This is a good question, Denver. I suppose in my case it is inherited/genetics. My parents have always had hobbies and interests and remained active. My dad was still active, exercising, involved with other people and in the community until the day he fell in March, at 88 years old (he looked, felt, and appeared much younger). My mom is involved as well... exercises, loves gardening, a women's group, etc. I suppose I'm just following in their footsteps.

A friend of mind claims to have NO hobbies. She said she and her sisters (she has many siblings) have discussed this and all say the same thing. They have good careers and families, but no hobbies! I tried to help her select one and none of them interested her enough. That's hard for me to comprehend, since I have too many hobbies and not enough time to do them all.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:07 AM   #8
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I've been a bicyclist for over 40 years, and it was never been about hobby for me. It has always been and still is, "What's just around the corner? What is there that I have never seen before?" An addiction I can not, nor desire to shake.

When I was 12 and got my first bike, had to hide it from my mother for obvious reasons, it was like I had entered a world with no limits. I rode the bushes from my first ride to now.

'Did some road biking in the '80's to mid 90's, but have loved the primitive landscape more than pavement. Although there is a certain rush from pushing the 54 (53?) and the 11 to the max.

I get bored easily with trails that I have ridden again and again.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:10 AM   #9
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Jim, I love your Tour de Heat Stroke. Looks like a delightful ride.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:32 AM   #10
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What's the difference? I haven't a clue, but I'm glad I'm on the "good" side of it.

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Old 05-03-08, 09:38 AM   #11
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There are numerous theories of successful aging. Several of the major ones are:

1. "Disengagement Theory" - As one ages, one is expected to withdraw, to reduce meaningful roles, and sit back and enjoy the rocking chair. This theory is the most challenged by Boomers. Yet, there are those who subscribe to it, and believe it is an appropriate way to enter advanced years. Others, often younger, think we should be eager for this.

2. "Activity Theory" - If one is to experience successful aging, one must stay active an engaged in as many of life's pursuits as possible. This theory is very popular with those working in social gerontology. It is, perhaps, lacking in that it does not speak to those who have experienced reduced functional ability, and can't remain as physically active as others. Yet, it also is embraced by many (maybe as evidenced by those on this forum?).

3. "Continuity Theory" - This theory holds that successful aging is the result of individuals being able to maintain as much of their "lives" from their successful middle years into the older years. It is believed that most people, while even experiencing reduced functional ability, hold onto the things that interest them, and when they can do this sufficiently, quality of life remains high.

What I find interesting about these theories is that almost everyone has one or a combination of them deeply embedded in their beliefs of what it means to get old. Often these beliefs operate at a subconscious level, yet still impact on behavior. I've met people who deeply believe in the Disengagement Theory, and act accordingly. I suspect that those on the 50+ forum are those who hold beliefs most consistent with Activity and Continuity Theories.
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Old 05-03-08, 10:03 AM   #12
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Excellent question, and one probably without a unifying answer.

In my case it isn't nutrition. I eat whatever don't eat me first.

I have no serious joint issues. Whether that's genetic or a product of me being too lame to learn a contact sport in my youth, I don't know.

The biggest hurdle is mental/emotional, I think. There's tremendous entropy/inertia in my soul to keep me off the bike, so I have to psych myself into getting on it everytime I ride. The very best function of the 50+ forum is to provide inspiraton to do so (really!).

I've seen one too many person harbor bitterness over a bad business deal 25 years ago and let it ruin their lives. Truth be told, I'm too lazy to harbor that kind of bitterness so I try to learn other ways to deal with the bumps in life, such as cycling.

And when it all comes together in a good mountain bike ride (X2 this week), it proves that life is grand...as long as you don't booger up those joints in the process.
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Old 05-03-08, 10:33 AM   #13
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I always loved the freedom my early bicycles gave me. I go into "10-speeds" at the start of high school with a Sears cheapie bike. I modified that thing to the edge then got a Bottecchia. Motocross racing shortly followed and I am an inveretate tinkerer. Motorcycles and bicycles allow me to wrench to my hearts content. Now the bicycle allows me a freedom to get out and enjoy myself while getting benefits for my health. My wife joins me in all the activities so it is something we hold in common.

Certainly not genetic for me. My father was a HS and college jock but WW II sidetracked that and he did no outside things I ever remember. Mom was the typical 60's house wife. Glad I varied from the norm.

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Old 05-03-08, 10:54 AM   #14
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As you know I'm not quite in the 50+ but close.
My grandpa passed away at 102 yrs old & his mom (my great grandma) past away at 110 so there is a chance I could live a long time, so I figured I better get my arse in shape. Being in my late 40's I feel I'm in better shape now then I was in my 30's.

Denver here is something else for you to ponder on. In the last couple of years I have lost weight, I go to the gym, ride the bike, etc. etc.
My wife sees how much weight I have lost, has watched me build my muscles in my legs, & sees how much better I eat, but yet she still just stays overweight & doesn't do anything about it.
Her cupboard is getting fuller & fuller of medications she has to take such as high blood pressure but she still doesn't do anything about it.

Wouldn't you think being overweight be enough of a motivator to try & get into shape. It really makes me sad to see her get tired just walking up 7-10 stairs.
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Old 05-03-08, 11:55 AM   #15
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Wouldn't you think being overweight be enough of a motivator to try & get into shape. It really makes me sad to see her get tired just walking up 7-10 stairs.

I think exercising and losing weight becomes this huge mountain that some folks just can't contemplate they will ever be able to climb up and over.

My wife participates in an aquaerobics class that she just loves.

There are a lot of "huge" ladies, and a couple of "huge" men in that class. Not all, but a noticeable amount.

They seem to like the class - and I think it is because it is an in-between kind of thing - it is not riding 20 miles on a bike (unachievable for many of them) or taking a long walk (also unachievable). It is something they can accomplish, that does them good aerobically and muscle-wise, and, for some, the first exercise they have had in years.

It is sociable, and with a good instructor it is fun.

So, it is a step up, and for some of the 300+ lbs types, it is about all they can do. BUt, it is great that they are taking this step towards their betterment. And they laugh and have a great time.

I think intermediate steps like aquaerobics are great things, and we need more of them.

And, while they do their aquaerobics, I am swimming laps in the other part of the pool. It works out nicely.

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Old 05-03-08, 02:22 PM   #16
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There are numerous theories of successful aging. Several of the major ones are:

1. "Disengagement Theory" -

2. "Activity Theory" -

3. "Continuity Theory" -

.
1. "Disengagement Theory" -

Several years ago I realised that I was doing too much at work. The oportunity came up for me to step into the background so I did


2. "Activity Theory"

By disengaging- I was able to pursue the things I wanted to do- such as Gardening-Cycling- and resting.


3. "Continuity Theory"

No way do I want to go back to rushing around at 90mph on the roads- sorting out the problems that others left me as "Not my Problem" or spending all that extra time working and thinking about my job.


I was able to take the downgrade in responsibilities that I used to have and it has given me a more relaxed attitude to the way I live. My life seemed to be centred around work- The family suffered and so did I. Now I do what I want to do- when I want to do it. Only problem is that for another 4 years- work is going to keep taking up too much of my time for me to really do what I want to do- when I want it.

Now how do I find the time to finish this damn pool for the wife before the Winter ends.
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Old 05-03-08, 02:35 PM   #17
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Trying not to overthink it here -- although I'm enjoying reading everyone's theories activities.

Why are we the way we are? Because we ride bikes. And I have learned to take a mild case of ADD and make it a lifestyle.
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Old 05-03-08, 02:49 PM   #18
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Well, I have read all the responses, and the theories and social statement, and I really do think it is





































THE PIE!

CREDIT TO: ad6mj
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Old 05-03-08, 04:05 PM   #19
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1. "Disengagement Theory" -

Several years ago I realised that I was doing too much at work. The oportunity came up for me to step into the background so I did


2. "Activity Theory"

By disengaging- I was able to pursue the things I wanted to do- such as Gardening-Cycling- and resting.


3. "Continuity Theory"

No way do I want to go back to rushing around at 90mph on the roads- sorting out the problems that others left me as "Not my Problem" or spending all that extra time working and thinking about my job.


I was able to take the downgrade in responsibilities that I used to have and it has given me a more relaxed attitude to the way I live. My life seemed to be centred around work- The family suffered and so did I. Now I do what I want to do- when I want to do it. Only problem is that for another 4 years- work is going to keep taking up too much of my time for me to really do what I want to do- when I want it.

Now how do I find the time to finish this damn pool for the wife before the Winter ends.
It appears I did a less than adequate job explaining the theories.
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Old 05-03-08, 04:25 PM   #20
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Life is not a spectator sport.
We're the contestants.
They're the spectators.

No idea why, but I'm glad I'm on the playing field, and not in the stands.
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Old 05-03-08, 05:31 PM   #21
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Let's simplify it. Age is no longer a chronological number, it is a state of mind and health, both of which we have some control over.

My wife and I talk about it all the time, our activities vs. our peers. Most of my friends are 10-15 years younger than me because of my activity level. I like to scuba dive, golf, travel, bike play racquetball, etc. I will try anything once. If I don't bust my as*, I might do it again, kind of like when I jumped out of an airplane a few years ago.

I believe we make a conscious decision to go or not to go. I am a homebuilder in really tough times right now. I am working 5-6 days a week 10-12 hours a day, many of which are quite physical. On Friday's I cut the grass on my standing inventory, currently at 19 finished homes. I cut, edge, blow and clean up the yards every week. Oh Yeah, don't forget the office building or my personal home.

I am celebrating my 52nd birthday early, tomorrow. It is really Tuesday. I am going to sneak out early (around 7AM) and ride somewhere between 80-100 miles. This after I have to go to a club tonight to see my best friend's band in their last performance. I am not much of a night owl. I will get up at 6, eat breakfast, load up and I am off for the "me time".

I will still be back by early afternoon to work on paperwork for the business, next week's schedules, payroll, 10th of the month bills, etc. Responsibility is tough, but I agree with you, we chose biking a sport that is not usually frequented by our age group and we stay young.
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Old 05-03-08, 05:46 PM   #22
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Jim, I love your Tour de Heat Stroke. Looks like a delightful ride.
Thank you, it was.

Jen (not Jim)
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Old 05-03-08, 05:54 PM   #23
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We'd go into detailed answer . . . but we're busy now!
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Old 05-03-08, 06:01 PM   #24
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It appears I did a less than adequate job explaining the theories.
Stapfam was responding in English English.
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Old 05-04-08, 10:18 AM   #25
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I've been struggling lately.....

with accompishment issues (if you will.) Guilt tripping myself. Some of this must be due to the extremely slow onset of spring/summer here. Hard to bike ride for a bit - unless you enjoy 38-45 degrees and wind gust up into the 50's. Nordic season ended the first of april. We get some sun. It goes away. We get some snow. It melts. I've never been a really "driven" person, my interests are too eclectic for that.
I know that some of it also comes from job insecurity. IBM, after years of blind layoffs and adding on layer after layer of reportage to our job (what did you do, how much of it did you do, when did you do it, in several different formats) finally sold my division to ATT. I've more or less given up on continuing in this "career." I took retirement from IBM and am now receiving that plus a paycheck from ATT. Always wanted to double dip. I've made the decision to put my efforts into paying off this house (after indulging myself with a brand new Parlee z-4. i will post pictures sometime) within 4 years and then getting out.
So....maybe what's happened is that I'm not living as much in the present as before but more in the future. I am so very ready to be out from under this pager I've carried (pretty much 24x7) since 1977. Looking to take a year or more "off"; find out what I want to be when I grow up. If I am not laid off before the house is paid off I've promised the whiff a month or two in southern france.
There are always so many projects around here....learning new songs, cutting down beetle kill, prepping those logs, finally getting my shop together. Laying down flagstone in the sun room. Things take time. It just seems that lately my energy levels are down. Want to read page-turners, not history books. Haven't picked up the guitar in a week.......

OK....that's my 100% off topic whine. I shall now depart for the shop and proceed to HTFU and get on with it!
Thanks for listening.
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