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Lebowski 05-11-08 07:49 PM

a little concerned about my dad
 
my old man is 58 his knees are really stiff, sometimes he has to walk with a cane. his back is destroyed from decades of hard labor, he has a couple missing/crushed discs in his spine. he's pretty much as stiff as a board. he was really active when i was younger but in the last 5 years he has gotten pretty out of shape because he cant really move with out being in pain.

anyway I've been mountain biking a lot lately and he expressed interest in wanting to accompany me. he said he didn't care how bad it hurt him he just really wanted to ride his bike again, he used to all the time. They opened up some new public trails in the area that go through some real scenic forest areas. and he's always walking in the woods (really really slowly mind you) he's a nature freak so he really wants to do it. one of the trails is several miles long, flat and on hard pack gravel. this one i have no worries about you could practically do it on a road bike. the other trail is a pretty high-intermediate skill level, 7.5 miles, lots of ups and downs, tree roots, big rocks. its a challenging ride for me, an 18 year old in good shape. its the kinda thing that makes me wish my mountain bike had full suspension.

he took his 1996 schwinn cruiser 6 to the bike shop to be tuned up. im glad he did because i didn't want to re-grease bearings and luckily he does not trust me as his personal bike mechanic. its been sitting in the garage in disrepair for years. i tried to convince him that the bike would not do well on the trails but he's too stubborn. he thinks just because it has wheels with nobby tires that it will fare well. the thing is a tank it weighs a ton. dont get me wrong its a sweet bike and very well made, but its no trail bike. just for reference, it has 6 gears and cantilever brakes, not coasters. oh and it has those big stupid "U" shaped grandpa handle bars that will epically fail when it comes to maneuvering.

so heres my concerns:
he hasn't been on a bike in several years.
he is in bad physical shape.
his bike weighs close to 40 pounds.
his bike has no suspension
it handles very poorly offroad
did i mention it weighs more than a boulder? i doubt the folks at schwinn could have made it heavier if they tried.

am i being too concerned? i bailed a lot when i first started trail riding, if he does the same thing he's gonna be out of commission for a long long time. he's 6ft 3" 250lbs. how can i tell him that its above his skill level with out making him feel bad? i tried to tell him to train for it, do a couple weeks of riding before doing it but he just wants to jump in and do it. the only thing i can think of is getting him to ride my mountain bike and i can deal with lugging his tank of a bike around or ride my bmx bike. but i doubt he's gonna want to sit on my mtb seat that makes his bike seat look like a couch.

do you older riders have any advice?

Wildwood 05-11-08 08:05 PM

In a sentence: His back shouldn't be shaken any more than necessary so road rides or smooth off-road trails. And start him off slowly and don't push him too hard to progress.

10 Wheels 05-11-08 08:06 PM

Let him have fun. His body will tell him how it feels. He has to start on a bike. His old bike will do the trick.
I am 66 y/o with two very bad disc's in my back. Riding has stopped the pain. Rode 101 miles Saturday.
First and second stops were 42 miles each. "The Rolling Challenge" Columbus Texas.
I have been riding 5 months now. lost 20 lbs. started at 223 lbs.
Go with him. Let him stop when needs to.
I started with this 34 lb $15 road bike.
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/h...s/DW_C2234.jpg

gcottay 05-11-08 08:08 PM

At age 62 I am poor on the trails but ride roads and paths at least a hundred miles a week. For that perspective, I suggest:
  • be happy he wants to avoid couch captivity
  • start him on the most mild trails within fifty miles of home -- like warm up bike path expeditions at first
  • take the lead go slowly and stop often
  • do not take him on trails tougher than he can handle -- if he insists, he can go without you.
  • give the old guy, stubborn as he may be, credit for at least a few brains.
  • bring flowers to the hospital as necessary

deraltekluge 05-11-08 08:27 PM

Make sure that there's cell phone coverage all along the trail so you can call 911. The only thing worse than teenagers who think they know everything and can do anything, is old farts who think they're still teenagers. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1.../whistling.gif

cooker 05-11-08 08:27 PM

I think it's great he is going to ride. Take him on the road or the flat trail and see how he does. He may surprise you.

Louis 05-11-08 08:30 PM

Sounds like he raised a good son.

Road Fan 05-11-08 08:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by deraltekluge (Post 6676855)
Make sure that there's cell phone coverage all along the trail so you can call 911. The only thing worse than teenagers who think they know everything and can do anything, is old farts who think they're still teenagers.


ROTFL!!!

Sounds like MY dad, and it sounds like me!

+1 on the cell phone. If my dad was with us and wanted to do this, I'd double check his fitting for a conservative (NOT EXCESSIVE KNEE BEND!) positioning, and get him on a road or paved trail for a 5 miler. See how he does and take it from there. Maybe take a mile on a fire road rather than a woods trail to start.

My wife and I have both had some sciatica, and our docs have recommended not to do exercise that could shock the spine until the musculature that supports the spine has been built up with supervision from a physical therapist. Just sharing this experience, you and your dad will have to decide if my comment contains a caution for you.

Artkansas 05-11-08 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lebowski (Post 6676615)
he took his 1996 schwinn cruiser 6 to the bike shop to be tuned up. im glad he did because i didn't want to re-grease bearings and luckily he does not trust me as his personal bike mechanic. its been sitting in the garage in disrepair for years. i tried to convince him that the bike would not do well on the trails but he's too stubborn. he thinks just because it has wheels with nobby tires that it will fare well. the thing is a tank it weighs a ton. dont get me wrong its a sweet bike and very well made, but its no trail bike. just for reference, it has 6 gears and cantilever brakes, not coasters. oh and it has those big stupid "U" shaped grandpa handle bars that will epically fail when it comes to maneuvering.

Well, it's said that your first bike is just to let you know what you really want in a bike. So what your Dad needs to do is learn to connect with his bike and then by his experience, he will know more about what he really needs in a bike.

Start out slow. Take some short rides in the neighborhood, till you have some idea of how he does on the flat. Then start him out on some easy trails. Let him explore.

Don't worry, your Dad isn't stupid or foolish, he's just starting at the point he knows. Be amazed at how fast he learns. But he's got to start where he is. Maybe buy some some mountain bike magazines or check out some mountain bike books from the library. After those and a few rides, he may be ready for a trip to the bike shop to look at a new mount, or a used one.

zonatandem 05-11-08 09:43 PM

He's and adult and can make his own decisions. If he has a positive xperience, he'll do it again, if not he at least tried.
He might surprise you.
Oh, fifties ain't old.
And watch your mouth with that 'old man' stuff! At 75 I can hardly think back that far!
Show some darn respect for your elders, sonny!

big john 05-11-08 10:48 PM

I started by doing flat 5 mile rides, and I had fun. I thought I was great when I could do 20. Let him find his own comfort level, and let him take your bike for a spin.

Bill Kapaun 05-12-08 03:43 AM

Well, you being his 40 year younger son, do you think he'll listen to you? Unlikely! He knows you to well.
You need a 60 year old total stranger to tell him the same thing that you are trying to!
You have to challenge him! IF he hasn't been riding, you have to get him to do a 4-5 mile easy ride with you on the flats.
The next day his legs will do the rest of the talking.

maddmaxx 05-12-08 05:04 AM

Buy him a new bike more suited to the trail for fathers day.

Lebowski 05-12-08 05:54 AM

thanks for the advice. we are doing the flat trail this weekend if weather permits. i don't think the mountain bike trail would be a problem he will probably get half a mile into it and want to turn around. im glad he wants to go out and bike, we go out walking all the time in the woods too so he's not really a total couch potato.

i'll let you know how it goes

The Weak Link 05-12-08 06:58 AM

If he gets into it, buy him a mountain bike with dual suspension.

Lebowski 05-12-08 01:53 PM

he can buy his own ride, i make $7.25 an hour. he has a huge bank account

Terrierman 05-12-08 03:47 PM

Have you considered riding TO the trail? That might change his thinking just a teensy bit.

bkaapcke 05-12-08 05:00 PM

Find a LWB recumbent and take him out for a test ride. With age, back and knee problems, comfort is what he needs. Take him out on paved trails, and let him ease into having a good time. Focusing on building strength, endurance and miles can all come later. bk

PirateJim 05-12-08 06:29 PM

I think (just my own dumb opinion of course) that what he is really saying to you is that he wants to ride with YOU doing something he knows you love. You're at a pretty cool point in life really when you can start shifting gears from being his kid to being his friend, it takes a while, I wish I had had more time to make that transition with my "old man" before it was too late. If you'll ride quiet roads and easy trails he'll be happy 'cause he's riding with you. Let him build up his reserves some and break his backside in to the saddle. Then if he's still wanting to go do the harder stuff take him!! If he likes it he'll buy a bike for the job. Or he may find he likes some other facet of biking, bikeforum.net is a great resource because it highlights all of the diverse interests and passions that revolve around seemingly simple little machines.


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