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Old 01-12-14, 10:48 AM   #1
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Bikes For Retired Parents......

Our camping parents are mid 60's. I've never seen them ride bikes before but my Mom recently expressed interest in riding a bike when camping and also possibly when at home. They're both not the slimmest of people anymore and could shed a few pounds.

My Dad mentioned something about beach cruisers. I know most are single speed without gears but I think gears are better for whatever hills they might encounter. They're not going to encounter any kind of crazy hills in their cycling though.

Being that they haven't ridden in a long time (I'm 34 and don't remember them riding), I think a tricycle is a better option. I've talked to my brother and sister about this and they think the tricycle is a better option for safety reasons.

Any thoughts? It looks like a SS trike goes for about $250. A geared trike is a little more and a geared folding trike is about $370. The geared folding trike might be good since they camp a lot.
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Old 01-12-14, 11:12 AM   #2
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I think that the wrong person is asking.

Since they don't have a bicycling history I wouldn't worry too much about trying to get this first round of bike selections exactly right. Just do it! A year from not they'll be in a better position to know what they need.
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Old 01-12-14, 01:46 PM   #3
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Beach cruisers are One speed (not None), though available with more ..


Crank forward 2 wheel bikes are advantages for stopping flat footed ..

LBS sells a few to the folks that like that security..

beach cruisers not quite that [comparing seat set-back from Crank axis.], .. tippy toe stops,
if you sit in the saddle and dont get off the seat when you stop .

If they have not ridden a bike at all .. 1st take off the pedals and get the balance thing sorted.

it works on little kids first bike , pedals can come later.

they moving to Florida?

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Old 01-12-14, 02:17 PM   #4
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I know more than a few people in their 70's and one in his 80's that started riding bikes for exercise after not riding for decades. Your parents are only in their 60's, my Brother-In-Law is 65 and hadn't ridden in 20 or 30 years, this is him last Spring on a 2 day 150 mile charity ride. Granted he was in decent shape when he started riding again but that's no beach cruiser he's on.



I'm 58, not in the best shape and a bit overweight. I get around on these just fine....



Let your parents decide what bikes are best for them.


PS I had to ride one of those $250 single speed trikes to get around a factory for several years, even indoors on flat smooth concrete they SUCK. If my balance ever deteriorates to the point I have to ride a trike it won't be one of those!
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Old 01-12-14, 04:24 PM   #5
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I think that the wrong person is asking.
+1 I think the OP should arrange for a day trip to several LBS on a window shopping tour. Just collect brochures. Then have a nice dinner together and see what the parents think. He'll have plenty of chance to shine as he can explain the ins and outs of different kinds of bikes, without needing to recommend any. They should decide how many wheels they want. They might surprise him and opt for one.

If they want a bike for camping, a folding bike shines.
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Old 01-12-14, 04:40 PM   #6
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Consider woman's type frames for both parents. Easy on, easy off, especially important for stiff, aged or arthritic joints; also no stand over top bar clearance problems. See examples below:
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Old 01-12-14, 05:18 PM   #7
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Consider getting them what they jolly well want, not buying old-folks or wimmin's bikes for them!

For what it's worth, I don't know that adult upright tricycles are any safer than bicycles. If ridden at slow speed on perfectly flat pavement, they're fine. If you get up any speed and turn a curve, they become very tippy, unlike a bicycle. So for somebody that just has zero sense of balance or is moving so slow they couldn't stay up, then a tricycle is in order. Otherwise, there's no reason they should relegate themselves to that, and I would guess 99% of the sixty-somethings that ride are doing it on bikes. If they're camping, bicycles are easier to tote around, also.

Similarly, on the step-through frame, no reason to limit yourself to that unless you have physical limitations. One thing that it does, in the cruiser-style bikes, is forces you into smaller frame sizes.

A major reason for anyone to bicycle is because they think it's fun. Riding a bike that you think is cool = fun. Riding some old fuddy-duddy bike that some whippersnapper kid picked out for you = not fun.
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Old 01-12-14, 05:34 PM   #8
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How about a tandem? I've even seen three wheeled tandems. There should be some bike shop that rents them for by the hour/day. I bet they would really enjoy riding together. Maybe there is a tandem club in the area where they could associate with other riders and gain their confidence as well as organised (yes I know it's mis-spelled, but my key is broken) rides.
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Old 01-12-14, 05:46 PM   #9
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If they're going camping alot,they may be interested in folding bikes. They're easier to pack in a camper/trunk,and have a low standover like step-through framed bikes.
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Old 01-12-14, 06:12 PM   #10
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Consider getting them what they jolly well want, not buying old-folks or wimmin's bikes for them!
Similarly, on the step-through frame, no reason to limit yourself to that unless you have physical limitations. One thing that it does, in the cruiser-style bikes, is forces you into smaller frame sizes.

A major reason for anyone to bicycle is because they think it's fun. Riding a bike that you think is cool = fun. Riding some old fuddy-duddy bike that some whippersnapper kid picked out for you = not fun.
Can you explain what the advantages of a traditional man's (diamond) frame would be for the OP's parents? What extra fun would they get? Why would anyone but a hammerhead aficionado (i.e. cycling whippersnapper) not consider the advantages of a step through frame for elderly non enthusiasts?
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Old 01-12-14, 06:55 PM   #11
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Granted he was in decent shape when he started riding again but that's no beach cruiser he's on.


Decent shape?!? I hope I look half that good at 65!
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Old 01-12-14, 07:22 PM   #12
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Decent shape?!? I hope I look half that good at 65!
Yeah, I wish I had looked that good when I was 25! You'll never meet a nicer guy either.
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Old 01-12-14, 07:32 PM   #13
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See if they can rent or borrow a couple of different styles of commuter and cruiser styles to try them out. Test rides are good, but often too short to really tell you much. Honestly, a hybrid with some fairly fat tires would probably serve them well, but everyone has their own preferences. You can get cruisers with internally geared hubs that give them a range of "speeds" with simple one-handed shifting.

Not just no but Oh Hell No on the adult tricycle (not talking three-wheel recumbents here). Unless they have some kind of disability, there is no reason that a 65-year-old can't ride a two-wheeled bicycle of some sort. I know dozens of people in their 60s and older riding regular bicycles up to and including hard core road bikes, though townies, cruisers, commuters and hybrids do seem to be the popular choices.

BTW, ILTB, who you calling "elderly". Now get off my lawn

[IMG]http://****************/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/trek-pure-2010-city-bike.jpg[/IMG]

Just one example of his n hers cruisers



and a typical hybrid

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Old 01-12-14, 07:55 PM   #14
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Not retired, age similar to your folks.
A trike ? Would be great - perhaps if they were in a nursing home and about 85.
Don't be a coddling child, let them decide what bikes they want to ride.
if they like to camp, a folder or compact bike works well.
you could suggest they might look at a Xootr swift, they are a nice balance of features and transportability.
the rider should decide what he or she wants to ride.
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Old 01-12-14, 08:12 PM   #15
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I ride 5 speed and single speed vintage Schwinn cruisers. Dont let anyone poo poo riding beach cruisers as it is not exercise. I ride mine year round and go 16 to 40 miles at a time,,,riding a 35 to 60 pound cruiser is much more of a workout than riding 30 miles on a 18 pound road bike. I used to and sometime do ride road bikes, I just find cruisers much more fun. You see more of the scenery being upright and same for the safety issue, you see better what is coming at you.

Here are pics of bicycles me and my wife ride, though she doesnt ride as much as I do.
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Old 01-12-14, 08:22 PM   #16
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Can you explain what the advantages of a traditional man's (diamond) frame would be for the OP's parents? What extra fun would they get? Why would anyone but a hammerhead aficionado (i.e. cycling whippersnapper) not consider the advantages of a step through frame for elderly non enthusiasts?
My point was to let them pick what they wanted, not to inflict the OP's version of the ideal bike on them. If they want tricycles or step-through frames, great, go for it. But to say, "Hey Pops, you look pretty decrepit, you'd better ride this girl's bike" is not the ideal approach either.

Advantages of the diamond frame in this case:
-Custom- seen as a man's bike versus a woman's bike- which, in the case of the dad, may override every other argument. That may be a generation gap thing, and if you're a lot younger, it may not make as much sense.
-Style- men's cruiser frames are generally cooler looking than the corresponding step-through frames
-Generally available in larger frame sizes- which may or may not be an issue there- I don't know how tall they are.

By the way, yesterday, I rode 128 miles. There were 5 of us riding in that group, and I was the youngest (I'm 53). I don't know exact ages but I believe these three are in their mid-60's. On this ride, they were all riding recumbents, but the guy in front also rides diamond-frame bikes. I haven't noticed any of them looking for step-through frames due to their elderliness. So when you start envisioning 60ish year old people as being these geriatric people that can barely hobble aboard a bike- well the parents in question might be, I don't know, but I certainly wouldn't assume that was the case site unseen. (One of the high-miler guys on bikejournal.com is in his mid 80's and rides a carbon fiber road bike. My local bike shop owner is probably close to 80 if not there, and ditto for him.)
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Old 01-12-14, 08:37 PM   #17
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unless they have some mobility or balance
or other health problems
that make two wheelers difficult to use
or if they are running an ice cream vendor business
then trikes are not the right bike
because they are seriously limited in their efficiency
and almost impossible to travel with

trikes are generally left at the nursing home
and change hands after one resident has
checked out

as mentioned above
they could consider folding bikes
which can make travelling and camping much easier

but if they are comfortable loading and unloading bikes onto a rack
then the sky is the limit

working in bike shops i have seen people in their late 80s
completing their around the world cycling tours

relegating them to old peoples bikes
will just make them get old and closer to death before their time
which i suppose is fine
if your real purpose is to speed up the inheritance
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Old 01-12-14, 08:49 PM   #18
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Dont let anyone poo poo riding beach cruisers as it is not exercise. I ride mine year round and go 16 to 40 miles at a time,,,riding a 35 to 60 pound cruiser is much more of a workout than riding 30 miles on a 18 pound road bike.
I don't think anyone is "poo pooing" beach cruisers,but rather the idea that the OP and his siblings think their parents are not physically able to ride what they want to ride or mentally competent to know their own abilities or limitations and they must decide what's best for them. If his parents are still camping on a regular basis I'd say they're quite capable of making their own decisions and riding what they darn well please. If the OP wants to help them in the selection process as far as getting good quality bikes and a decent deal great but picking what type of bike FOR them? No. The day my kids try to tell me what kind of bike to ride they're going to find themselves in the ER having said bicycle removed from where the sun don't shine.
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Old 01-12-14, 09:14 PM   #19
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I'd suggest you scour your local Craigslist or garage sales for some minty vintage three-speeds. 26x1-3/8 tires for softness, internal gearing for ease (or lack) of maintenance, and primo example are available dirt cheap. I bought a women's three-speed with 63 miles on the speedometer/odometer (probably original miles) for less than $50 at a garage sale.
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Old 01-12-14, 10:32 PM   #20
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I'd suggest you scour your local Craigslist or garage sales for some minty vintage three-speeds. 26x1-3/8 tires for softness, internal gearing for ease (or lack) of maintenance, and primo example are available dirt cheap. I bought a women's three-speed with 63 miles on the speedometer/odometer (probably original miles) for less than $50 at a garage sale.
this is not a bad idea at all
old 3 speeds are great bikes for most of the riding that most people do
but
if they are willing to pay for new bikes
then the work necessary to get a garage or barn find road worthy
compared to a new bike
might be an important difference between riding
and collecting further dust in a garage
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Old 01-12-14, 10:39 PM   #21
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I don't think anyone is "poo pooing" beach cruisers,but rather the idea that the OP and his siblings think their parents are not physically able to ride what they want to ride or mentally competent to know their own abilities or limitations and they must decide what's best for them. If his parents are still camping on a regular basis I'd say they're quite capable of making their own decisions and riding what they darn well please. If the OP wants to help them in the selection process as far as getting good quality bikes and a decent deal great but picking what type of bike FOR them? No. The day my kids try to tell me what kind of bike to ride they're going to find themselves in the ER having said bicycle removed from where the sun don't shine.
it was the parents who brought up beach cruisers
and beach cruisers are great bikes for people who arent interested in optimized efficiency or maximized distances
and are as comfortable as a soft couch

as retro grouch said
they need bikes of any sort
to decide what type of riding they will do

maybe they will be on adult trikes in a year
enjoying the super low effort fun and carrying capacity
or maybe they will rejuvinate their inner competitor
and lust after carbon road bikes

but encourage them to get whatever their hearts desire
and after a year of riding whatever that is
encourage them to upgrade to whatever they really want
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Old 01-13-14, 12:05 AM   #22
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My point was to let them pick what they wanted, not to inflict the OP's version of the ideal bike on them. If they want tricycles or step-through frames, great, go for it. But to say, "Hey Pops, you look pretty decrepit, you'd better ride this girl's bike" is not the ideal approach either.

Advantages of the diamond frame in this case:
-Custom- seen as a man's bike versus a woman's bike- which, in the case of the dad, may override every other argument. That may be a generation gap thing, and if you're a lot younger, it may not make as much sense.
-Style- men's cruiser frames are generally cooler looking than the corresponding step-through frames
-Generally available in larger frame sizes- which may or may not be an issue there- I don't know how tall they are.

By the way, yesterday, I rode 128 miles. There were 5 of us riding in that group, and I was the youngest (I'm 53). I don't know exact ages but I believe these three are in their mid-60's. On this ride, they were all riding recumbents, but the guy in front also rides diamond-frame bikes. I haven't noticed any of them looking for step-through frames due to their elderliness. So when you start envisioning 60ish year old people as being these geriatric people that can barely hobble aboard a bike- well the parents in question might be, I don't know, but I certainly wouldn't assume that was the case site unseen. (One of the high-miler guys on bikejournal.com is in his mid 80's and rides a carbon fiber road bike. My local bike shop owner is probably close to 80 if not there, and ditto for him.)
Got it. The OP's parents should really consider the bike style choices of people who like to go for 128 mile jaunts, or a 53 year old who is all concerned about what the other guys in the enthusiast clubs think is or is not "cool."

The OP wants to help his parents make a choice. Some of the respondents on this thread sound as if the parents should be thrown to the "sporting enthusiast" wolves at the local LBS to get honest advice. There they can get the full monty sales pitch about the efficiency of $1,500 bikes and the many hand positions of drop bars. Just the ticket for older folks who haven't ridden in decades.
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Old 01-13-14, 06:03 AM   #23
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Got it. The OP's parents should really consider the bike style choices of people who like to go for 128 mile jaunts, or a 53 year old who is all concerned about what the other guys in the enthusiast clubs think is or is not "cool."

The OP wants to help his parents make a choice. Some of the respondents on this thread sound as if the parents should be thrown to the "sporting enthusiast" wolves at the local LBS to get honest advice. There they can get the full monty sales pitch about the efficiency of $1,500 bikes and the many hand positions of drop bars. Just the ticket for older folks who haven't ridden in decades.
I'm not getting that from any of the responses, the general theme I'm reading is let them choose the style of bike they want then help them choose the right one.
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Old 01-13-14, 06:40 AM   #24
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Got it. The OP's parents should really consider the bike style choices of people who like to go for 128 mile jaunts, or a 53 year old who is all concerned about what the other guys in the enthusiast clubs think is or is not "cool."
No, read it again. I said the parents should ride what they like, not what I like, not what you like. If you forgot, you specifically asked about the advantages of a diamond-frame cruiser, and that's why I listed them, not to recommend that above all other bikes. That's not what I ride, though, and that's not what members of my club think is cool, either. Come to think of it, members of my club all ride whatever they want to and don't give a flip what their kids think about it.
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Old 01-13-14, 08:52 AM   #25
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The two best suggestion are----take them to a bike shop and let them try crank forwark bikes and trikes. For trikes I would suggest a TerraTrike Rover or Rambler since they sit higher.
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