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One Thing About Touring in Your 50's and Beyond Is...

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One Thing About Touring in Your 50's and Beyond Is...

Old 10-05-19, 08:52 AM
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One Thing About Touring in Your 50's and Beyond Is...

...that, when you arrive at your destination, people aren't clamoring to talk to you anymore.

I still really enjoy taking one-nighter rides, but I miss the way people used to come out of the woodwork and want to hear about my journey. Of course, the little boy in me is sad that young women don't flirt with me and pretend they are impressed that I could "ride all those miles" anymore, but that's not even what I mean. It's hard to find cyclists my age (almost 57) when I arrive in a town, and the younger riders always seem to be too busy trying to impress each other with their gear and their calf muscles.

Has some of the thrill of touring gone away for any of you now that you are out of the "mainstream?"
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Old 10-05-19, 10:00 AM
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Two things: touring cyclists aren’t quite the novelty they once were so I think spontaneous admiring chats are increasingly uncommon. And, welcome to the cellophane generation. We are increasingly transparent as we age:
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Old 10-05-19, 10:21 AM
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Back in '80, I was nearing the middle of my OH- to WI- and back ride on the leg from Kenosha to Madison. I had stopped at a small town diner about 2pm for a late lunch/early supper because I didn't want my aunt to fuss over me when I got there... anyway, I had ordered my meal, and the locals were asking questions. They were amazed that I had ridden sixty miles already that day, and then when I said that I had ridden from the Cleveland Ohio area in less than a week they were floored. My meal - and a couple of beers - were paid for by the locals. One of my fondest memories of my one-and-only long tour...
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Old 10-05-19, 10:43 AM
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Hey, I'll put my calves up for comparison against anyones. As for the absence of flirting young women, you are too young yet. Once you are a bit older, they flock to older and cute dudes. Maybe because they feel it is safe to do so.
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Old 10-05-19, 12:20 PM
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It's just different now. We are expected to be mature and take our pleasure in that maturity of outlook and self-examination.
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Old 10-06-19, 04:21 AM
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You do become “invisible” past a certain age, and I don’t mind at all.
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Old 10-06-19, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
...that, when you arrive at your destination, people aren't clamoring to talk to you anymore.

I still really enjoy taking one-nighter rides, but I miss the way people used to come out of the woodwork and want to hear about my journey. Of course, the little boy in me is sad that young women don't flirt with me and pretend they are impressed that I could "ride all those miles" anymore, but that's not even what I mean. It's hard to find cyclists my age (almost 57) when I arrive in a town, and the younger riders always seem to be too busy trying to impress each other with their gear and their calf muscles.

Has some of the thrill of touring gone away for any of you now that you are out of the "mainstream?"
Start camping and/or having lunch at the local Senior Citizens Centers. All you have to do to get a conversation started is ask "How are you doing today?".
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Old 10-06-19, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I still really enjoy taking one-nighter rides, but I miss the way people used to come out of the woodwork and want to hear about my journey.
Put it on Facebook, send out some Tweets and get 'likes'.

Oh, and welcome to 2019.
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Old 10-06-19, 08:05 AM
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Wait until you hit 70. Young women think you are adorable or cute. That really hurts. When I was about 30 my father and I were sitting in our local diner and the waitress was sitting with him, hugged him, kissed him on his bald head. She barley made eye contact with me but fawned all over him. When she left I complained to my father that he gets all the attention and I have to beg for a second cup of coffee. His remark, "I am safe and your not". Didn't really understand it until now, that I am 71, it all makes sense unfortunately.
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Old 10-06-19, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
Wait until you hit 70. Young women think you are adorable or cute. ...
I totally get it, as that's how it is for me at work, where scores of young teachers and parents "flirt" with me every day, as if I were their grandfather.

However, I didn't mean for the part about women to be the focus of my comment. My sadness is over the fact that people, in general, don't flock to me at the end of a tour the way they used to when I was in my 20's and 30's. This is compounded by the fact that my wife is not a strong enough rider to accompany me on these trips, so I don't even have HER to share stories of the day with.
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Old 10-06-19, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
...that, when you arrive at your destination, people aren't clamoring to talk to you anymore.

I still really enjoy taking one-nighter rides, but I miss the way people used to come out of the woodwork and want to hear about my journey. Of course, the little boy in me is sad that young women don't flirt with me and pretend they are impressed that I could "ride all those miles" anymore, but that's not even what I mean. It's hard to find cyclists my age (almost 57) when I arrive in a town, and the younger riders always seem to be too busy trying to impress each other with their gear and their calf muscles.

Has some of the thrill of touring gone away for any of you now that you are out of the "mainstream?"
On the plus side when you are old as you or worse, like me at 73, if you fall over everybody comes out of the woodwork to help the poor old codger. Cars stop, multiple people standing nearby offer to call ambulance or 911, etc. (Meanwhile if you are like me all you feel is pissed that you fell over or crashed and worried about did you damage your bike.)
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Old 10-06-19, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BengalCat View Post
On the plus side when you are old as you or worse, like me at 73, if you fall over everybody comes out of the woodwork to help the poor old codger. Cars stop, multiple people standing nearby offer to call ambulance or 911, etc. (Meanwhile if you are like me all you feel is pissed that you fell over or crashed and worried about did you damage your bike.)
Got a good laugh out of that one!
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Old 10-06-19, 10:22 PM
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My wife and I had just crossed from Germany into the Netherlands near Nijmegen, and were looking for a bike shop. When we saw the sign Velorama we thought we had found a shop. What we didn't realize until we got closer is that we discovered the National fietsmuseum Velorama, the Dutch National Bike Museum. How could we pass this up? Just arriving in town, our bags were still on the bikes, and we were still in our bike clothes. We figured our attire was appropriate for a bike museum so we locked up our bikes and went in.

It was a great place to spend a couple of hours. While I was inching my way past rows of beautiful "vintage" bikes I was approaching a young woman, older teens or early 20s, sitting on one of the display platforms. As I passed her she said in English, " You have really nice legs". When I said " Thank you" in English, she got really embarrassed, and stuttered out an unintelligible reply. My wife who was just around the corner overheard the whole exchange, and was trying to laugh as quietly as she could. She didn't succeed, which made the situation even more awkward. I din't think it was all that funny, but my wife sure did. Heck, it was one of the highlights of the trip for me I was 68 at the time.
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Old 10-07-19, 05:46 AM
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Maybe it's you. I am 54 and take several tours a year, including a two-week one. Last month I spent a week doing the GAP up and back. People still talk to me like they did when I started touring in my 30s.
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Old 10-07-19, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
His remark, "I am safe and your not". Didn't really understand it until now, that I am 71, it all makes sense unfortunately.
As someone who did about 10,000 self contained touring miles in 1999-2000 (many of them solo) I know what you mean. While many people would approach me, there were some who were clearly "suspicious" of a single guy in his mid-30s out on the road alone. For example, during a seven-week solo tour I was inside a screened in picnic shelter at a public park campground in Wisdom, MT, reading a book. A woman drove into the park in a small RV, scouted the place and then left. Maybe 15 min. later a man and a young-ish child came rolling into town on a tandem.

A couple of days later, during a arrest day in Dillon, I was doing laundry at the KOA. Ended up in a conversation with a woman. She told me she was driving SAG for her husband and daughter who were riding across the country on a tandem. We brought up places we had stayed. I mentioned the public park in Wisdom. She said something like "Yeah. I drove in there and saw some weird looking guy so I left." You should have seen and heard her when I told her I was that "weird looking guy." As a tall, somewhat dark skinned solo dude, I was definitely not safe to some. I was riding to SW Colorado to see a woman I was dating. (She was interning at Mesa Verde National Park.) If I sensed some apprehension I would often bring up that fact.
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Old 10-07-19, 08:14 AM
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My experience is the opposite of what some of you have described using the adjective "safe." I think I am at the in-between age where I still look like I could be a creep-on- a-bike. Perhaps this will change if I am still riding 10 years from now.
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Old 10-07-19, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I think I am at the in-between age where I still look like I could be a creep-on- a-bike.
Make sure not to mention that you are wearing worn out undies.
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Old 10-07-19, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Make sure not to mention that you are wearing worn out undies.
And for that matter make sure your shorts aren't see-through.
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Old 10-07-19, 12:02 PM
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I KNEW the underwear thing would come up as soon as I saw IndyFabz join this thread. For the record, I have not worn underwear under my cycling shorts in AT LEAST a year!
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Old 10-07-19, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
...that, when you arrive at your destination, people aren't clamoring to talk to you anymore.

I still really enjoy taking one-nighter rides, but I miss the way people used to come out of the woodwork and want to hear about my journey. Of course, the little boy in me is sad that young women don't flirt with me and pretend they are impressed that I could "ride all those miles" anymore, but that's not even what I mean. It's hard to find cyclists my age (almost 57) when I arrive in a town, and the younger riders always seem to be too busy trying to impress each other with their gear and their calf muscles.

Has some of the thrill of touring gone away for any of you now that you are out of the "mainstream?"
Hmmm. Interesting. I haven't toured in quite some time, but when I used to, I made sure to hit the local saloons and chat people up. It's one of the perks of touring, and I love doing it.

I think I'm gonna take touring up again next year. I guess I'll see what's changed.
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Old 10-07-19, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
My experience is the opposite of what some of you have described using the adjective "safe." I think I am at the in-between age where I still look like I could be a creep-on- a-bike. Perhaps this will change if I am still riding 10 years from now.
Well, at least that will be one thing to look forward to.
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Old 10-10-19, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Hmmm. Interesting. I haven't toured in quite some time, but when I used to, I made sure to hit the local saloons and chat people up. It's one of the perks of touring, and I love doing it.
Great way to meet the local "color." In a bar in Jeffrey City, WY, I spoke with a one-legged woman about the taste of antelope meat and the town's uranium mining past. It's also a good way to pick up intel on road conditions and possible alternative routes that are more appealing.
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Old 10-10-19, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Great way to meet the local "color." In a bar in Jeffrey City, WY, I spoke with a one-legged woman about the taste of antelope meat and the town's uranium mining past. It's also a good way to pick up intel on road conditions and possible alternative routes that are more appealing.
That is EXACTLY the kind of person I'm hoping to meet in the local watering holes. Awesome.
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Old 10-10-19, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
That is EXACTLY the kind of person I'm hoping to meet in the local watering holes. Awesome.
Re: the second aspect, when I spent two nights in Yaak, MT, in 2017 a bartender told me about a road near my campground that goes up into the forest. Rode a little bit of it on my rest day but was tired and came back down. Found myself back there this June. Decided to ride it again and went much farther. Just before I headed back to camp I was treated to a black bear sighting.
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Old 10-12-19, 09:05 AM
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I’ve found that being 65+ has it’s advantages.......maybe it’s the harmless grandpa image???? The key for me is to strike up the conversation first. You can tell immediately if they are interested in engaging in a discussion.

I still remember talking to a 30 something fella outside a hotel in Chicago with him clamoring about “Lake Street ( Rt 20) goes all the way across the US and I’m riding it” coast to coast. He was so excited.

Meeting different folks out while on the road is a real hoot.
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