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  1. #1
    beer drinker
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    advice for my dad

    hello all,
    the last time i saw my dad on a bike i was looking at his back from the kiddee seat. now he is going on 60, a retired grandparent, and has made a couple comments about going on rides with me. i would like this, but i'm not really sure what he can handle and would like to proceed cautiously. he is no athlete, has had knee and back troubles. i think he rides a stationary bike once in a while. he lives in illinois, pretty flat. comfort and easy to ride are the important things here. i was thinking maybe recumbent, but i don't know anything about balancing them. i was thinking recumbent trike, but now we are talking some serious dough for something that may not work out. any thoughts, bikewise and psychologically, on how to make this happen would be appreciated. i think it would be good for him to get into something and get some exercise.
    thanks

  2. #2
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I would think about (shudder) a hybrid.

    He likely needs something comfortable, solid and stable.

    Start out with just a couple of miles. I led a group ride of seniors last week, and that is exactly how far one person got - 1 mile out and 1 mile back.

    Be sure it fits properly. This is really important. The person above is 5 feet tall and was riding a hybrid so big I would consider it to be the equivalent of a 56 or 58 cm road bike.

    You can get a decent Trek or other hybrid for about $400 or you can even rent one for a try or two.

    A decent entry level mountain bike would also be okay - like a Specialized Hardrock.

    Here is a picture for him to see some seniors - all over 60 - riding. They are riding hybrids and mtn bikes on a short "beginning of the season" ride. Also, have him read this forum.



    I think I would hold on the 'bent for a while. It will be much different than what he remembers riding as a younger person, and may scare him a bit.

    I am 65. Good luck. See my web page below for more pics of 60+rs riding.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  3. #3
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    Why does a 60 year old need a recumbent or a mountain bike or a hybrid??? When I was 58, my son who was 29 at the time decided he wanted to go on a bike ride with me. I chose an easy rail trail and planned on doing about 76 miles. He rode my Lemond Buenos Aires and I rode my Novarra touring bike which was about 10 pounds heavier. At the turnaround point I could tell he was already getting ready to bonk. We had only averaged about 17 mph to that point. By the 52 mile marker, he was shot. So I hurriedly rode on ahead to get my car and drove back to pick him up. My plans are to be riding my road bike for many more years. Maybe someday the youngsters will be able to keep up. Someday my granddaughter will be old enough to ride with me and I will post a question concerning what type of bike she will need. To keep up with gramps she will need something light and fast and a good climber. If not she will only see my dust. So get dad a real bike. He's still young.

  4. #4
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabike
    Why does a 60 year old need a recumbent or a mountain bike or a hybrid??? When I was 58, my son who was 29 at the time decided he wanted to go on a bike ride with me. I chose an easy rail trail and planned on doing about 76 miles. He rode my Lemond Buenos Aires and I rode my Novarra touring bike which was about 10 pounds heavier. At the turnaround point I could tell he was already getting ready to bonk. We had only averaged about 17 mph to that point. By the 52 mile marker, he was shot. So I hurriedly rode on ahead to get my car and drove back to pick him up. My plans are to be riding my road bike for many more years. Maybe someday the youngsters will be able to keep up. Someday my granddaughter will be old enough to ride with me and I will post a question concerning what type of bike she will need. To keep up with gramps she will need something light and fast and a good climber. If not she will only see my dust. So get dad a real bike. He's still young.
    Many of us started on mtn bikes, and then, when we knew we liked bicycling, we bought road bikes.

    Makes no sense to me to spend $1,600 or so on a Lemond and find that you hate bicycling, or that your body doesn't have the flexibility or whatever for a roadie.

    Then you have TWO good bikes.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 04-14-05 at 05:28 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Makes no sense to me to spend $1,600 or so on a Lemond and find that you hate bicycling, or that your body doesn't have the flexibility or whatever for a roadie.
    I also started out on a mountain bike. In fact I had one of my mountain bikes set up with Scott bars and slicks and used it as a "road bike" for many years. I too thought that old people were not flexible enough to ride a road bike. But, actually, the geometry is available on road bikes so that you can buy a short adjustable stem and have your hoods well above the seat if you so desire. That's how I started out when I got my first road bike. 15 years later, my bars are well below my seat and I find I am more flexible today. I just don't think that age has to necessarily be a factor in choosing a bike. The type of riding you are going to do is so much more important.

    And by the way spang621, I wouldn't recommend a trike. There is a local bike shop that rents recumbent trikes and I constantly see the struggle that develops for the riders to get up even the gentlest of slopes.

  6. #6
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Makes no sense to me to spend $1,600 or so on a Lemond and find that you hate bicycling, or that your body doesn't have the flexibility or whatever for a roadie.
    Quote Originally Posted by jabike
    15 years later, my bars are well below my seat and I find I am more flexible today. I just don't think that age has to necessarily be a factor in choosing a bike. The type of riding you are going to do is so much more important.
    Good for you! You are obviously (and notably) superior to many of us. Congratulations.

    At 65, I find my flexibility particularly in my neck is getting less, and I have RAISED my bars on my road bike.

    The question related to a person, 60, who has not ridden a bicycle in YEARS, and already has knee and back problems, which was my reason for the statement you so accurately quoted, particularly the "or whatever" portion.

    I stand by my conclusions for this particular person.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 04-14-05 at 05:57 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  7. #7
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    He needs to see his doctor before he begins, to get his risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm evaluated. I would have him ride with a heart rate monitor. Cheapest ones run about $30 from the big catalog outlets.
    Peter Wang, LCI
    Houston, TX USA

  8. #8
    beer drinker
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    Quote Originally Posted by kf5nd
    He needs to see his doctor before he begins, to get his risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm evaluated. I would have him ride with a heart rate monitor. Cheapest ones run about $30 from the big catalog outlets.
    hadn't thought of that. definitely have him talk to his doctor, but anything specific to ask? also with the heart monitor, what do you do with it once you have it hooked up? what do you watch for? it measures beats/min? obviously varies from person to person but anything in particular to watch for?

    i didn't mean to suggest that people of a certain age need special treatment or anything like that. am well aware there are many far superior to me, and i think that's pretty cool. however my dad, in my opinion, would like all the help he can get. i just want to get him riding. as far as the trikes struggling up the hill, (i have never ridden a recumbent of any kind) the reason i thought of trikes was because i have heard from others on that balancing a recumbent going uphill and slow is tricky. so, some people get a trike because they know they struggle up hills, and balancing on a trike is, obviously, much easier. what i'm saying is that the trikes you see struggling up hills may be because the hill strugglers picked the trike and not the trike slowing down an otherwise speedy racer. no matter what my dad rides, he is sure to struggle up any hills, and i thought a trke would be less worrisome.

    oh no i have just called all trike riders slow hill strugglers!

    i think we'll try out the hybrid/comfort/fat seat route first and see how things go.

  9. #9
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Anyone returning or starting to ride a bike will need acertain amount of consideration and help from other riders. They won't initially have "Bike" fitness, so take it slow, take it steady and don't do too much at a time. Type of bike? I would suggest SECONDHAND initially, and of a type that you think you would like to ride. In this way, if you have the wrong type of bike, or you don't like riding, it can always be sold without too much financial loss.

    I ride with a heart monitor, and all this tells me is what my heart rate is at present. No other reason. over the years I now know that my heart rate has lowered with exercise, and it does tell me when I am reaching my upper limits-so slow down, but it will not tell you that heart rate is imminent. It does give me confidence in my health, but I have been using one for around 10 years and it was only bought initially as a "New Toy".

  10. #10
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    Ummmm.... we can all get tied up in knots with heart rate monitors and doctor's checks and what bike he should ride.

    Talk to him. What are his objectives? Does he feel confident? He obviously feels good enough about this to go riding with you. Talk about what he might do if you can't ride with him... will he likely ride by himself? Is his motivation to improve his fitness? Is it to be *with* *you* and his motivations are only that --not bike riding?

    Go window-shopping. Check out the options *with* your father. Let him make a choice, with valued advice from his son.

    It seems a hybrid would be a good option. If that's so, go for it.

    As to riding together, remember, you are riding with a renewed newbie. You will have to temper your own riding style to suit his. Ride *with* him. In a way, I would recommend he enrol in a cycling course. In my experience, close relatives are really bad as mentors. They impose unreal expectations, even if they don't mean to. If a cycling course is not an option, connect him up with a group of senior cyclists who understand the issues. There are many around if you (or he) research.

    I suppose what I am saying is... don't force the issue. Remember, if a comfortable ride for you is 60 miles, it might only be, in the initial stages, two miles for him and slow as hell.

    Oh, and find out where his favourite coffee place is. Or bookstore. Or any other place he likes to hang out. He may only walk or drive there now. Show him you can ride there together. Then show him some of your own favourite riding destinations as they progressively get further and further away.

  11. #11
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    Talk to him. What are his objectives?
    Rowan, how DARE you state that a person who is 60 should have any say in what he does! Pure heresy.

    Of course - I sort of assumed that had already happened or was happening.

    As far as a medical check/doctors advice is concerned, if someone is otherwise in healthy condition and can walk around the house without a MD's consultation, I personally see no way in which riding a bicycle a couple of miles is going to any more taxing on one's body than walking.

    Perhaps if he planned on doing a century right away, you might want to check. Heck, I did long beginning rides at age 58 and it never occurred to me to check with my MD about exercising. I only wore a HRM as a matter of interest, and then not until I had ridden several years.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Rowan, how DARE you state that a person who is 60 should have any say in what he does! Pure heresy.
    Hahahahaha.... I'm a parent, and my kids are adults, one a med student. I'm my own person. Do you think I'm going to listen to what she has to say??? Especially when I've had *some* influence over her commuting to classes once or twice a week on a bicycle?

    But then, it's not the first time I've been heretic. And it *definitely* won't be the last!!!!

  13. #13
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    He needs to just ask the obvious question - "Am I healthy enough to take on mild to moderate aerobic exercise on a bike?" The Doc will give his or her opinion.

    Heart rate - very approximately, the maximum HR is 220 - AGE, so 220 - 60 = 160 beats per minute (BPM).

    1. The slow cruising extreme comfort range is below 60% of max, or 96 BPM
    2. The aerobic range is 60 - 80% (96 - 128 BPM), some experts subdivide it up further
    3. 80 - 90% is called the threshold range, where you cross into anaerobic exercise
    4. 90 - 100% is anaerobic, maximal effort range

    There are no health downsides to 1. and 2. Well, if you have an attack due to a pre-existing condition... that's why the visit to the doctor. But, conversely, staying in 1. and 2. he won't get faster or stronger in a hurry. Good zones for weight loss.

    Hotter zones can be stressful and damaging, due to production of free radicals, higher transient blood pressure numbers while in those zones... as a newbie who is just coming back to exercise after being inactive, you really want to stay out of those zones. Which is not to say that he can't work his way into them over time. But some people have a tendency to overdo things, have a bad experience, and give up entirely.

    Another thing about hotter zones; you use more carbohydrate to produce energy, rather than fat. You still burn as much fat in hot zones as in cool zones, but the added energy comes from carbs. So what happens is, people come back from rides just ravenous, starving, because the carbs must be replaced in the muscle, liver, and blood, and then they eat more than they actually used, so they sabotage their nutrition plan. Which is why you see good cyclists who are fat. Especially older cyclists.


    Quote Originally Posted by spang621
    hadn't thought of that. definitely have him talk to his doctor, but anything specific to ask? also with the heart monitor, what do you do with it once you have it hooked up? what do you watch for? it measures beats/min? obviously varies from person to person but anything in particular to watch for?
    Peter Wang, LCI
    Houston, TX USA

  14. #14
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    Fit fit fit as DnvrFox says. Donít let him buy a Kmart special. Get him to a lbs for a proper fit. His knees and back will thank you for this effort. Then a cheaper hybrid or mountain bike is fine but donít skimp on the saddle. Donít take that 30-40 year old bike from the garage storage and expect to have a good ride. New from the lbs gets lots of support. He can rebuild the antique later. Get a good helmet and a computer. If you have rail to trail routes nearby get on them. Easy grades, no traffic and trailhead parking. The computer will reinforce confidence as miles increases and pain decreases. Over 50 and we tend to stick with things a little better.

    I have the opposite in that I would love to have my kids and grandkids join me on rides. May have to punish (push him hard) my 30 year old youngest to show him dad can ride but the others would enjoy some miles. I have 3 extra bikes I will set up for any of them. I do have rails to trails and I will take them any time they want.
    Phil

  15. #15
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    ďHeart rate - very approximately, the maximum HR is 220 - AGE, so 220 - 60 = 160 beats per minute (BPM).Ē

    This old equation is total BS. Max HR has more to do with your fitness than you age. I am 51, so my Max HR should be 169. Even with too much of a spare tire around the waist, my real Max HR is 201. It use to be 202 when I was in my 30s. Most people on this list will have much higher Max HR than the formula gives because they routinely exercise.

    Maybe the equation would work for couch potatoes who smoke.

    Skip the HR monitor for now unless you want to give your Dad an excuse to ride slower. Like telling him he should stay below 60% for his initial rides. (But to know 60%, you first have to determine Max HR, which would put him at greater risk of a heart attack).

    The stated effort range works well once you know your true Max HR.

    1. The slow cruising extreme comfort range is below 60% of max, or 96 BPM
    2. The aerobic range is 60 - 80% (96 - 128 BPM), some experts subdivide it up further
    3. 80 - 90% is called the threshold range, where you cross into anaerobic exercise
    4. 90 - 100% is anaerobic, maximal effort range


    For now, just have fun riding. Consider the extra toys as add ons later, when Dad wants to start training for his first criterium. Then the HR monitor is a great training tool.

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