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Old 05-14-13, 08:55 PM   #1
NOS88
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What do you think?

Came back from a ride, and neighbor says, "So, how far did you go?" I reply, "Short ride, only 21 miles." He responds, "Short? I'll bet 90 % of people your age (61) can't ride that far." I think he underestimates what people can do. I'm thinking maybe only 25% wouldn't able to do it What say you?
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Old 05-14-13, 08:59 PM   #2
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A flat 21 miles shouldn't be that hard to complete. I would say a large percentage of people in their early 60s could do it given no time requirement. Add some good climbs though and that percentage would drop way, way down.
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Old 05-14-13, 09:09 PM   #3
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A flat 21 miles shouldn't be that hard to complete. I would say a large percentage of people in their early 60s could do it given no time requirement. Add some good climbs though and that percentage would drop way, way down.
Probably true. But how much moaning and whining would there be? Especially the next day?

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Old 05-14-13, 09:13 PM   #4
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Probably true. But how much moaning and wring would there be? Especially the next day?
Oh, quite a bit I have no doubt. But as a one off ride, most people in their early 60s should be able to do it. Who knows, a few might actually like it and want to do it again.
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Old 05-14-13, 09:19 PM   #5
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I'd go with at least 75% could not do it. We read here all the time about beginners who are totally, completely exhausted after their first mile of their first ride in many years - and these folks are usually about 50 or so.

It involves a whole lot of unused and not very strong "bicycling muscles."
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Old 05-14-13, 09:49 PM   #6
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I'd go with at least 75% could not do it. We read here all the time about beginners who are totally, completely exhausted after their first mile of their first ride in many years - and these folks are usually about 50 or so.

It involves a whole lot of unused and not very strong "bicycling muscles."
Not to mention some toughening of the keester.
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Old 05-14-13, 10:15 PM   #7
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In my town, I'd agree with the 90%...of the whole f'n POPULATION! Never mind 60+, the WHOLE GANG! There is so much car-centric idleness here, I sometimes wonder of the concentration of excess weight doesn't throw off the gravitational pull of the EARTH!
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Old 05-14-13, 10:41 PM   #8
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In my town, I'd agree with the 90%...of the whole f'n POPULATION! Never mind 60+, the WHOLE GANG! There is so much car-centric idleness here, I sometimes wonder of the concentration of excess weight doesn't throw off the gravitational pull of the EARTH!
My town's excess adipose balances out the pull from your town.

If we're talking voluntarily riding twenty-plus miles, then I agree that very few Americans would do it. If there was some disaster and they had to, then probably a bit over half could manage. Sadly, there is a disaster called diabesity, but no one seems to know it has occurred.
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Old 05-14-13, 10:41 PM   #9
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I think only 20% of the over 60 noncycling population could make it that far.
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Old 05-14-13, 10:42 PM   #10
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If it's do or die perhaps the 25% figure is about right but many beginning cyclists, already self-selected from the whole population, seem to find a ten-mile ride a challenge.

I suspect -- no data just a SWAG -- that over 90% of the 60+ population doesn't ride 20 miles in a year let alone doing it as a quick spin.
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Old 05-14-13, 11:02 PM   #11
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Ask me to run 5 miles and I would be in the 90% of the population that could not do it. Even with training I doubt that my knees would allow it. BUT give a couple of weeks training and I reckon it would only be 20% of over 60s would not be able to do a 20 mile ride. Without the training-75% would be nearer the mark
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Old 05-14-13, 11:13 PM   #12
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I think your neighbor's estimate is closer to the truth. I see an admittedly skewed portion of the population with my job, but a significant portion of the people I put on a treadmill can't walk for 6 minutes, let alone bike for 21 miles. And that includes plenty of people in their 50s.
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Old 05-15-13, 01:56 AM   #13
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I guess I'm out of touch with the general population, according to the above answers. I suppose being surrounded by active people skews my percentages.
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Old 05-15-13, 03:20 AM   #14
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When I say I wussed out and only did 33 miles, my DIL says I need to learn the definition of "wuss" and "only."

I couldn't give a percentage, but definitely the majority would have issues. After I started back into biking 2 years ago, I was up to 23 miles/day, 5 days/week in about 3 weeks--but I was only 53. I believe I started out at about 10 or 11 miles(of course I had been walking 4 miles/day, 5~6 days/week, for the last many months prior). Still, I was at about 185 lbs(down from 251 six months before) when I started out cycling again after a 30 odd year hiatus. More people need to get active and do something they enjoy, be it walking, cycling, rowing, jogging, swimming, whatever--just do it.

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Old 05-15-13, 04:28 AM   #15
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I'm thinking that 90% of the statistics quoted on the internet are simply made up...

However, I tend to agree with BikeWNC that because we are active, we tend to assume that others are, too: and that is almost certainly a mistake. America is the fattest country in the world. The UK isn't that far behind. Most of our fellow-countrymen and women live sedentary lives. The idea of riding a bike for 21 miles at a stretch seems outlandish to them.

And to be fair, for many of them it is outlandish. I returned to cycling aged 48 or 49 (the memory fails with age, they tell me) after an hiatus of about 15 years. I was fat and unfit. I immediately threw myself into commuting to work, 16 miles each way for a 32 mile round trip. It was a pretty flat route, but on the way home there was a section of about 4% for maybe half to two-thirds of a mile. To my amazement and chagrin, I had to stop and rest half-way up. This, mind you, on a touring bike with a triple that gave me a 24-32 granny gear. it was a week or so before i completed the ride home without stopping.

Now, had I waited another ten years, until I was pushing 60, to get back on the bike I'd have been ten years fatter, I'd have had ten years more deterioration in physical fitness. Under those circumstances I can quite see that a 20-mile ride would have been completely beyond me. Most 60 year-olds simply wouldn't attempt it.
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Old 05-15-13, 06:00 AM   #16
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I advertised and led a neighborhood bike ride - 6 miles.

Their were only a couple of takers - next door who stays in shape and did fine - late 50's, and the guy across the street and one house down - early 60's, not fat or anything. He was simply exhausted at the end of 6 miles. The rest of us went on and he went home. Now he and his wife ride regularly - but no more than about 8 miles.

The guy directly across the street (early 60's) and his wife started riding with their son. All they could do on their first ride was about 5 miles. Last summer they got up to 20 miles, but it took them several weeks of "training."
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Old 05-15-13, 06:28 AM   #17
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Last summer they got up to 20 miles, but it took them several weeks of "training."
I would think that this is true of the majority of the population, regardless of age. I have a friend at work who runs regularly and he has little problem jumping on a bike and riding 30 miles and smiling the whole time. But he's pretty much the exception.
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Old 05-15-13, 06:34 AM   #18
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I'd go with at least 75% could not do it. We read here all the time about beginners who are totally, completely exhausted after their first mile of their first ride in many years - and these folks are usually about 50 or so.

It involves a whole lot of unused and not very strong "bicycling muscles."
And they would probably be riding on bikes that have not been ridden for years. Think flat tires, rusty chains. Twenty miles would be a stretch.
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Old 05-15-13, 06:50 AM   #19
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Even on good bikes--with no training, the vast majority in this country could not do 20 miles. If you think otherwise, go to your local Wally Mart, look around for a while and do a visual fitness check. The general state of physical conditioning is very, very sad.
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Old 05-15-13, 07:07 AM   #20
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You can't do what you won't do, so I'd say your neighbor's 90% estimate is probably a bit low.
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Old 05-15-13, 07:24 AM   #21
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I think you over estimate how incredibly out of shape we Americans are as a group. Go to any shopping mall and grab 20 people at random, put them on a bike and see how far they can ride. My guess is under 5mi for an average. Some for less than a mile and a few for 10miles. Just my guess.
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Old 05-15-13, 07:26 AM   #22
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When I was about 30 or so, I dug my landlord's 3 speed klunker out of the ivy and started riding. For me, 5 miles was kind of a big deal and it took a while until I was o.k. with 15.
When I look at some of the people at work, all younger than I am, there's no way they could ride 20 miles without major problems.
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Old 05-15-13, 07:39 AM   #23
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I'm thinking that only one percent (and I'm being generous) of the entire population could complete a 20-mile ride. And only half of those could do it again the next day.

My bike club has over 500 dues-paying members. Most are 50+. Even among this group, 20 miles is a long ride. Our Slow and Easy rides (single digits of both speed and distance) are the most popular, followed by our Sweeps rides, no more than 20 miles, very low double-digit speeds, no-drop policy.

My first ride as an adult wasn't so long ago that I can't remember. I rode my bike-path hybrid home from the bike shop. I had to stop and rest for five minutes halfway home. Total distance? 0.67 miles, or a smidge over 1km.

By all reports, I was in good shape, too. I walked two miles to work and back, was on my feet all day at work as well. But a third of a mile on a bike-path hybrid (at about a half-percent grade DOWNHILL) wore me out so much I had to stop and rest before I could continue.

It was a couple of months before I could ride 20 miles, and even then, I was stopping to rest every 5 miles or so. It was well over a year before my in-ride rest stops exceeded 10 miles, two years before I could go 20 without stopping. For a long time I carried a camera to "stop and take pictures", which was code for "stop and rest".

I use a health clinic staffed by "baby docs"--freshly minted residents right out of med school. They call people over to see my resting heart rate (lower 40s) and BP (90/55). It's a spectacle.

So yes, I think you're grossly overestimating the fitness of the general population.

Or put another way, those of us who can do it are a very special elite.
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Old 05-15-13, 07:48 AM   #24
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Unless they are really unhealthy, I would think the ave 60 year old should be able to. Especially if the route is flat. Even more so if they were riding a trike. Probable no speed records would be set tho.
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Old 05-15-13, 08:10 AM   #25
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I'd go with at least 75% could not do it. We read here all the time about beginners who are totally, completely exhausted after their first mile of their first ride in many years - and these folks are usually about 50 or so.

It involves a whole lot of unused and not very strong "bicycling muscles."
I totally agree. I have biked on and off through my years since high school (dedicated roadie even when not riding), powerlifted at intense levels and a wrestling coach....I say this not to brag but rather to make it a point I have been in shape my entire life. Now, it was in 2011 I get a wild hair that I really wanted to train for the century never ridden. My first couple rides were pain fests. My second ride that spring was a two-hill 20mi ride. That hurt. No way can I see the majority of 60yr olds hopping on a new bike and doing what perhaps many of them have never done.....on the first ride.

If someone compliments me on my riding exploits at this point in life, I humbly smile and say "thank you".
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