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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 11-13-04, 03:18 AM   #1
stapfam
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Why?

I think that the majority of us within this forum are marvellous!!! We are still riding or doing some form of bike related exercise when the majority of bikers think we should have hung up our pedals. Quite a few of us have medical or body problems that would have stopped a 25 year old dead in their tracks. How many of us have painful joints, or a heart problem, or through the abuse we have put our bodies through over the years are just a little bit out of condition or overweight?

So what is it that keeps us all Cycling?

I know in my case it was just a wish to retain the fitness that I still had about 15 years ago. I used to be one of those ultra-fit youngsters that do appear occasionally. But 10 years of lack of exercise, through family and work commitments, meant that the little bit of fitness I still had was rapidly disappearing. The final crunch came when I raced my 10 year old daughter up the road, and struggled to stay with her. This was from an 11.1 100metre runner in his youth. A chance meeting with what became a very good friend, that suggested I came for a gentle bike ride the next day, and I found out what saddle soreness was over a 30 mile ride. Haven't looked back since, and even extended periods off for a bypass, and prostate cancer have not stopped me. Still riding, and still training for the summer extended rides that I do.

So what is it that keeps you riding?
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Old 11-13-04, 03:57 AM   #2
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Quote:
So what is it that keeps you riding?
Some ramblings:

What are the alternatives to exercise? Sitting in front af a TV?

What happens to me and my body if I choose an alternative to exercise? What happens if I keep cycling (or fast walking or whatever exercise fits me)?

And, most of all, I love the freedom and pleasure from a well-lubricated absolutely quiet bike pedaling outside wherever I decide to go, and being able to think, reflect, contemplate, see the first buds of spring, the last golden leaf of fall, the full-blown flowers of summer and the stillness of snow and winter.

Yesterday was pretty cold, so I walked 3.5 miles instead of my bike ride. That is okay with me, also. I love walking in nature.

I see so many folks unable to walk a mile or ride 10 miles! I don't want to be them.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 11-13-04 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 11-13-04, 04:14 AM   #3
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Old 11-13-04, 06:30 AM   #4
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What keeps me riding?

The desire to spend as much time with my Grand Daughter as possible! No, she is only 4 and does not ride with me. But, the alternative of not excerising combined with my High Blood Pressure would not allow me to meet this desire.

Today, a very good friend and myself are setting out with others to do what I hope will be my first Metric Century.

Pop, this ones for you!!!!!!!!
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Old 11-13-04, 07:37 AM   #5
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Why do I ride?

1 - To outrun the grim reaper.

As a clergyman, I've had to bury a lot of people who died way too soon because of bad health habits. Last June I spent a week in a Greenville SC hospital visiting my two best friends from college. One of them (a lawyer) was having quadruple bypass surgery. The other (a doctor) had a massive stroke from which he will not recover. Both are 48 years old. Both were smokers. Both were Atkins dieters. Neither got any exercise. I don't want that to happen to me.

2 - Bike time is quality time.

The older I get, the more I realize that my time on earth is limited, so I want to make that time count for something. When I'm riding the bike, I'm NOT: talking on the phone, watching television, eating, etc. When I'm riding the bike, I AM: thinking, resolving internal strife, enjoying the scenery and enjoying the people I meet.

3 - Cycling brings back pleasant memories.

I live in the same town, Myrtle Beach SC, in which I was raised. Although I no longer live in the same neighborhood, I can get there in fifteen minutes if I huff it. It's very pleasant to ride the same streets that I rode forty years ago as a child. Each twist and turn brings back fond memories. Also, many old friends still live there, so it's always fun to stop and visit them if I see them out in their yards. And it's really fun when I get into a quarter-mile sprint with some "kid" I used to race way back in 1967. Lots of laughs there. The years melt away.

4 - Cycling is still fun.

I love to get on my road bike and fly through the streets. I may not be young anymore, but I think I'm a better cyclist than I was when I was younger. I realize that the hardcore roadies could flatten me any day of the week, but I still do alright. I am fortunate that I've never lost the child-like sense of wonder of climbing aboard a self-powered machine and zooming through my world on a pretty day.

5 - Cycling is still worthwhile.

Last week, while grinding through the second half of a twenty mile ride, I blew past an "old-timer" on a recumbent bike. I kinda recognized him, but I couoldn't remember how I knew him. I rode out about three miles, then doubled back toward the same neighborhood... and there's the recumbent guy again, still getting it on. This time I got a better look. He was pedaling with his hands! Then I remembered that I had seen him around town in a wheelchair. Draw your own conclusions.
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Old 11-13-04, 08:47 AM   #6
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To get out on a quite country road by myself and find peace and tranquility.
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Old 11-13-04, 12:47 PM   #7
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I was a distance runner in college so riding a bike is a similar aerobic exercise but with less stress to the joints. I began riding to get back in shape and to be pulmonary-cardio-vascular fit. Besides riding is fun and I enjoy doing solo centuries.
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Old 11-13-04, 07:40 PM   #8
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Family or the wish to be with them as long as possible, 40 lbs ago I felt my age (53) but now I am much younger in my mind and that's all that counts. Some day I hope to ride across the country with a group of like minded people.
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Old 11-13-04, 08:51 PM   #9
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Pain - herniated disk

Reasons to bike-
Fun
Good exercise
Good for environment
Delay peak oil crises
Feel guilty when I don't bike
Feel good when I do

If my disk paralyzes me then I will hit the trails on a brand new wheelchair.
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Old 11-14-04, 07:30 AM   #10
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I started riding in April of 1982 at the age of 31 after quitting smoking and beginning to gain weight. BY the middle of June, 1982, I rode my first century and was hooked forever. To date, I've racked up 125,173 miles and am preparing to go out for a 40 mile ride on this beautiful 27 degree morning.

Last year, I had a prostatectomyand was banned from upright bikes for a few months but my doctor let me ride a recumbent after 6 weeks. I don't know if it was the recumbent or the soul searching after the cancer surgery, but my cycling has been rejuvented again after slowing in recent years. My love affair with the bicycle has been rekindled.

As far as what keeps me going, I'm not sure. Maybe it's the friends. Maybe it's the fact that my wife is an avid cyclist, also and it's something we do together. Maybe it's something as simple as wanting to never grow up.

-Dennis
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Old 11-14-04, 09:37 AM   #11
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Great responses - I agree with nearly all of them.

I used to ride my bike(s) everywhere as a kid, fixed them, even rode a "century" (didn't know that term then). Until I got my driver's license and a car.

Over the years I have stayed active, jogging, soccer, working out. Last year, my wife, an avid runner, had some stress fractures and decided to cross train. Cross training led her to mini-triathalons, and triathalons led her to biking. So a bought a road bike to train with her, and rediscovered cycling all over again, but on a slightly different level.

While it's good for me and I feel better, I have never been a "natural" runner. I have short squat legs, and riding really seems to suit my body much better. I feel like I have been run over by a truck after playing a tough soccer game - I feel good after a long bike ride.

I've also come to appreciate that the skills associated with biking can on the one hand be learned quickly enough to go out and ride long distances nearly immediately, but on the other hand can be developed over a lifetime of experience and training to become a safer, stronger and more savvy rider. Like music (my primary hobby), it's the journey.

I only wish that I had rediscovered this sport earlier on.

-Jim
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Old 11-14-04, 09:44 AM   #12
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"Maybe it's something as simple as wanting to never grow up."

This is as good a reason as any. I think we all would like to
return to days when we were fresh of mind, spirit, and body.
Cycling in any form gives that chance, however brief, to
forget our troubles and pains.
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Old 11-14-04, 10:59 AM   #13
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I can hardly say I'm back. It's still an ongoing experiment, but I can say why I'm trying to return fully to biking:

1. Not to outrun "grim reaper"
I am under no allusions that biking will extend life. Hopefully it will improve the quality of life left, but doubt it will do much to extend life. As an aside,I don't see the "reaper" as grim. It is only grim to those who see life as only the few years we have on earth now. I prefer to think of this life as training for the better life to come. Metaphorically it's changing from caterpiller thru change of death to butterfly. Philosophically it is more like exchanging a state of being where spirit and body and time and space are physical attributes to a state of being where spirit exists in space and time thru a body that is not locked into today's space/time restrictions.

2. It's the only viable option left.
When I was not exercising at all, my body was slowly getting weaker and weaker and my endurance was dropping and dropping. A wake up call this year was a dog attack on a dog I was walking, and being unable to run the 10 houses home. At that point I knew I had to do something. Biking and walking are the only options for me. I could use a treadmill but would have to purchase one and commit to doing it regularly. Little rewards and high probability of treadmill joining the pool table on the junk pile of failed exercise. I could run again. But I was a long distance runner and am concerned about ankles and knees, so would not like to put that much stress on again. I could walk, but it takes soooo looooong. It gets boring too quickly as there is nothing interesting to walk to within reasonable distance of home. Swimming is out because the cold hurts too much now, and I never really enjoyed swimming. Snow skiing is out as it puts way too much pressure on legs and is too expensive and too time intensive.

3. It's more fun than going to the gym
I tried the gym game for a few months, but it gets boring and the benefits seem too far away. By combining gym time, on cycle machine, and commute I am able to feel good about being out and enjoy the fresh air feeling again.

4. It's easier than it used to be
Biking used to be harder. The old schwinn took a beating for 4 years and only gave a couple of flat tires. Anyone else remember paper route days of pedaling many miles for almost every day? Now, the thinner tires and better components and better sized frames, make biking easier.

5. It provides community
You can't talk on the forums unless you are out there trying again and again. The knowledge of others doing the same thing has enabled me to set the goal of cycling at least 2 days a week thru the winter.
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Old 11-14-04, 12:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
"Maybe it's something as simple as wanting to never grow up."

This is as good a reason as any. I think we all would like to
return to days when we were fresh of mind, spirit, and body.
Cycling in any form gives that chance, however brief, to
forget our troubles and pains.
Several years ago, my secretary, who is 2 weeks younger than me, commented that she "grew up" and put her bike away when she become old enough to drive. I told her it was one thing to grow old and another thing to act old and that I hope I never "grow up" as old as her.
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Old 11-14-04, 04:13 PM   #15
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Why not?


Nuff said!!
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Old 10-27-05, 07:12 PM   #16
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The trail I ride goes from 2 blocks form my house to the edge of San Francisco Bay. The trail end is in the middle of a wildlife refuge. The view is drop dead gorgeous and it's different every day. No cars on the trail, a 15 mile ride and some time alone. A good workout, some ispiration and a convenient ditch to throw your worries and cares in. The important stuff will be waiting back home. But for now, I'm riding. Can't beat that. bk
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Old 10-27-05, 07:58 PM   #17
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All the high minded, semi-spiritual, mature, and sobering thoughts on cycling that were listed above affect me deeply....and maybe one more. My pathetically needy vanity loves, just loves, sprinting through intersections, swooping around downhill turns (well, moderately swooping), and looking semi cool foot down in left hand turn lanes....IOW, the idea that somebody, sometime, might turn to another and say, "Did you see that old guy...damn. Hope I'm there when I'm his age."

I returned to cycling when, while going through the usual middle aged turmoil, I saw an old geezer, looking like a stringy sunburnt piece of beef jerky and riding an old Bob Jackson, steadily and implacably climbing Hwy 120 to the Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite while I lumped out in my car. I thought, "Damn, look at that old guy...hope I'm there etc. etc.

That unknown rider gave me a lovely gift. Hope he's still climbing somewhere.
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Old 10-27-05, 08:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkaapcke
The trail I ride goes from 2 blocks form my house to the edge of San Francisco Bay. The trail end is in the middle of a wildlife refuge. The view is drop dead gorgeous and it's different every day.
Sounds like the Alameda Creek Trail...

Or perhaps a section of the Bay Trail?

I used to love those rides.

Now I have an even better ride, but I only do it when I want to drive 40 minutes, ride then drive 40 minutes back.... I hope to make it down there this weekend before the winter weather hits PA.
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Old 10-27-05, 08:25 PM   #19
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35 years of machine shop work have cratered my back (degenerative discs) and arthritis is creeping in everywhere, but I'm in far better aerobic shape and have less fat on me than all of the younger people I work with. I like that.
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Old 10-27-05, 09:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldspark
Some day I hope to ride across the country with a group of like minded people.
oldspark: Come join us. America By Bicycle Fast South Tour from Irvine, CA to Savanah, GA on April 2006.
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Old 10-27-05, 09:15 PM   #21
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I found several things in life which makes it worth living.
1) Family and friends.
2) A Belief system.
3) A form of exercise which shows some improvement with practice and skill and knowledge. That is biking!
4) A good book will broaden your horizon.
5) Great music will inspire you.
6) A mentally challenging skill. I found computer chess.
7) Oh yeah, there is work. I still work full time.
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Old 10-27-05, 09:39 PM   #22
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I have only been riding since june but losing 34 pounds was my incentive but I have grown to love riding my bike and I feel that cycling will enhance whatever time I have left (only 54...lol). It's hard to explain to now-riders what we all like about cycling but I like to stand up and sprint on my evening rides and as I do I like to look over in the pastures at the cattle, etc and it just relaxes me and makes me feel better...I guess I am hooked and yes I can identify with all the stuff every else has said.
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Old 10-27-05, 09:47 PM   #23
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We ride to keep fit . . .
At ages 72/70 and both cancer survivors we just don't feel like crawling in a dark hole and saying "woe is me!"
Celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary this year and last year celebrated riding 200,000 miles of tandems together!
Got 9,000 miles on our new tandem in a little over 2 years. Hey, got to do it before we get old!

Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 10-28-05, 07:02 AM   #24
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I like to. Always have. By the time I was 19 I was riding a classy 531 frame, all Campy, tubular tires. Europe. Long trips throughout the east US.

At this point, I can't come up with anything different as a reason. Does make me feel good, keep flexibility, spend time with my wife (who is keeping up these days - she'll be faster eventually I suspect). But these are just things I notice. I suspect I simply like it because that's the way I am. I like loafing along, riding fast on the straights, dropping fast and hard, turning hard, getting out of the saddle and climbing, clicking methodically through the gears, seeing the vista change, feeling rain hit my skin, feeling my muscles burning hotter & hotter and my breath ripping in and out, feeling the tires rolling. I just like it all.

Maybe because cycling induces mindfulness.

I suspect I'm almost as good a cyclist now as I was 30 years ago. Endurance, peak power, bike handling are a bit down, but not really very much.

I missed the 10 years my back kept me off the bike.
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Old 10-28-05, 07:16 AM   #25
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Why?

Why not?
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