Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Octogenarian advice to a 25 year old

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Octogenarian advice to a 25 year old

Old 11-25-19, 11:43 PM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 143

Bikes: Trek 850, Trek 510, Cannondale 300m, Specialized Rockhopper, Stumpjumper, Bianchi Virata

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 47 Post(s)
Liked 111 Times in 38 Posts
Octogenarian advice to a 25 year old

In 1985 I was a newly married student moonlighting at the college town bicycle shop. Our customers were from all parts of the spectrum—tourists, criterium racers, BMX, and my specialty, the ATB. An encounter with an elderly gentleman one quiet weekday in the spring opened a whole new horizon to me. I’ve long since forgotten his name but I’ll never forget our conversation. He wheeled in this ancient Raleigh for a tuneup as he did every year in the spring. The store owner, who was usually very quick in this circumstance to recommend a new replacement bike from the excellent selection of Treks, Cannondale and Schwinn’s was suddenly very reserved and solicitous of the gentleman. He introduced me and said, “Mike’s going to take care of your bike. Should be ready by Thursday.”

The original paint was a grayish brown but worn down in many places, so at first glance it was just an old bike. But it had been meticulously equipped years ago. Campy drive train, brakes, large flange Record hubs, 700c rims with tubular tires, Regina Oro 5speed freewheel, Brooks saddle, well oiled and broken in, cork bar tape, and a rack on the back. I went through each step of the job, amazed at how true the wheels were, (compared to what I usually saw on a bike that age), how smoothly the hubs and bottom bracket spun. This is how a bike should be built!

As promised the bike’s owner came back on Thursday. I was the only one in the store at the time and as I brought his prize out of the shop area he said to me “Mike, this bike saved my life!” I looked at him for a moment and he went on. “Five years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After my surgery I wasn’t doing well. But as soon as I could stand it, I started taking the bike out—first a couple miles, then five, then on up. Now, every morning I have a bowl of oatmeal and then I ride 20 miles along these southern Illinois cornfields. I’m eighty years old and folks think I’m only sixty-five”...He was right.


Last edited by reconnaissance; 11-26-19 at 01:10 PM. Reason: Fatfinger
reconnaissance is offline  
Old 11-26-19, 03:20 PM
Tandem Tom
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 2,466

Bikes: 1992 Serotta Colorado II,Co-Motion Speedster, Giant Escape Hybrid, 1977 Schwinn Super Le Tour

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 388 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 93 Times in 70 Posts
Great story!!
Tandem Tom is offline  
Likes For Tandem Tom:
Old 11-26-19, 10:05 PM
Senior Member
BobbyG's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 5,723

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 2007 Dahon Boardwalk, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International, 2006 Felt F65

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1297 Post(s)
Liked 1,406 Times in 703 Posts
I'm about to turn 58, and I know my cycling has saved my life!
BobbyG is offline  
Old 11-26-19, 11:08 PM
just another gosling
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,659

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3478 Post(s)
Liked 1,468 Times in 1,068 Posts
I'm a 74 y.o. graybeard. There's a difficult event ride I do every year. I sometimes get a question at a rest stop: "How do you do it?" My answer: "Never quit."
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Likes For Carbonfiberboy:
Old 11-26-19, 11:42 PM
Miele Man
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,608

Bikes: iele Latina, Miele Suprema, Miele Uno LS, Miele Miele Beta, MMTB, Bianchi Model Unknown, Fiori Venezia, Fiori Napoli, VeloSport Adamas AX

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1304 Post(s)
Liked 896 Times in 616 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I'm a 74 y.o. graybeard. There's a difficult event ride I do every year. I sometimes get a question at a rest stop: "How do you do it?" My answer: "Never quit."
Great story posted by the OP.

I'm 68 years young. My grand dad was over 100 when he passed on. He said you're only as old as you think you are. At 100+ he was still saving for his old age.

People ask me how far did you ride today. When I reply about 100 kilometers they'll ask me how I did it. I tell them one pedal stroke at a time. Then they often ask me what was the hardest part of the ride. I tell them it was taking the first pedal stroke.

I'm lucky in that within 15 minutes riding in any of three directions I'm out in the country. After about five or ten minutes out in the country I can feel the stress just dropping off.

Miele Man is offline  
Likes For Miele Man:
Old 11-27-19, 07:08 AM
Tandem Tom
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 2,466

Bikes: 1992 Serotta Colorado II,Co-Motion Speedster, Giant Escape Hybrid, 1977 Schwinn Super Le Tour

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 388 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 93 Times in 70 Posts
I was talking to someone the other day at the muffler shop. We got to talking about stay active as we get older. He was mid 40's and said he was doing a bit of walking. I to him that for my 60 th. birthday I ride my bike 6000 Mike's across America! His jaw just dropped!
Tandem Tom is offline  
Likes For Tandem Tom:
Old 11-27-19, 03:57 PM
Senior Member
rydabent's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,621

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2992 Post(s)
Liked 934 Times in 554 Posts
I will be 81 in less than a month. I have a LWB bent and a trike. I ride one or the other about 25 miles every other day. A couple of doctors have told me I an in the 98th percentile for my age. I can quite easily pass for a 65 year old. I have obviously been blessed with great health, but the fact remains I stay active. Simply put----------if you set you rust. Keep doing what you can do for as long as you can.
rydabent is offline  
Likes For rydabent:
Old 11-27-19, 07:00 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 199

Bikes: Cannondale Synapse Carbon 105 (2021) Cannondale Cujo 2 (2018) Cannondale Quick Carbon 1 (2017) Giant Sedona (2006) Cannondale R1000 (2001)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 62 Post(s)
Liked 227 Times in 101 Posts
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I'm about to turn 58, and I know my cycling has saved my life!
Iím 58 and am certain that cycling, and quitting drinking, both saved my life.

The group I ride with has members with ages from late 30s to early 70s. Some of the older gentlemen started biking in their 60s and appear much healthier then non-active people their age.

I saw a guy on nearby paved trail last year on an adult tricycle and he had an ear to ear smile, I would guess he was well into his 80s. I was happy for him and hope that will be me someday.
KenCT is offline  
Likes For KenCT:
Old 11-27-19, 07:36 PM
Senior Member
downtube42's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,348

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Volae Team, Focus Mares AL, Nimbus MUni, Trek Roscoe 6, 1987 Centurion SS/FG.

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 676 Post(s)
Liked 1,530 Times in 786 Posts
Advice from my 70+ y/o friend is in my sig line. Changed my life, for sure.
downtube42 is offline  
Likes For downtube42:
Old 11-27-19, 10:22 PM
John E
feros ferio
John E's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 21,195

Bikes: 1959 Capo Modell Campagnolo; 1960 Capo Sieger (2); 1962 Carlton Franco Suisse; 1970 Peugeot UO-8; 1982 Bianchi Campione d'Italia; 1988 Schwinn Project KOM-10;

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1219 Post(s)
Liked 836 Times in 570 Posts
Some of you have read my story before. I was a nerdy, pudgy, klutzy kid. I discovered bicycling, the only sport I have ever deeply loved, at age 12, and I got serious about it as a UCLA undergrad. When I was a grad student and working part-time at a bike shop, the father of one of my childhood friends stopped by. A mutual friend re-introduced us, but it took him awhile to make the connection, until he finally blurted out, "Oh -- you were that little round kid!" By that time I had recently completed a 12 hr. 18 min. double century. Bicycling has certainly improved my life, and probably will extend it.
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Old 12-06-19, 06:11 PM
Full Member
peterws's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Near Lancaster
Posts: 490

Bikes: Carrera Virtuoso and friend

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 110 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 34 Times in 26 Posts
Bikes take some beating. A gym teacher said no matter what your injury is (some of those stretches are lethal) you can usually still manage the bike"
Seems to be true for me. The hardest part is getting on it when you feel a tad ropey . . . .you always feel better after it, even if all you do is cycle to the shops and back. . . . .
peterws is offline  
Old 12-06-19, 08:29 PM
Papa Tom
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,440
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 861 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 135 Posts
I think a main point of the original post was that the older man who owned the Raleigh didn't want to part with that particular old bike because it was such an integral part of his life-changing story. I returned to cycling in 1996 after walking away from an exciting musical career, knowing that I would need another passion to replace my music. Cycling filled that gap and "saved my life" as others have mentioned, and because I associate so many good feelings with that first GT Outpost mountain bike, I still use it as my main ride. It'll be 25 years old next season, and as long as I can keep it running well enough to carry me over state lines and suspension bridges, I have no plans to replace it with any younger, prettier model out there.
Papa Tom is offline  
Old 12-07-19, 06:42 AM
Senior Member
Monoborracho's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Small town America with lots of good roads
Posts: 2,706

Bikes: More than I really should own.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 188 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 10 Posts
Great story...…...and to think.....that I've been thinking.....at age 68....of selling my 92 Paramount. Not!
Monoborracho is offline  
Old 12-07-19, 08:01 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Rocky Mountains of NW Colorado
Posts: 60

Bikes: Fatback Corvus 1X12 (27.5X 2.8" & winter 26X 4.6"), Merlin Agilis 1X11

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
can't let the youngsters have all the fun.
stormpeakco is offline  
Old 12-08-19, 08:19 PM
Full Member
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 259
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 94 Post(s)
Liked 258 Times in 76 Posts
Just turned 80 last month. Anyone out there needing advice- I give it for free. Still riding a 1999 Lemond BA and a Spec Mtn Bike. Cheers!
gobicycling is offline  
Likes For gobicycling:
Old 12-09-19, 10:27 AM
Senior Member
camjr's Avatar
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Lewisville, TX
Posts: 657

Bikes: 1976 Motobecane Grand Touring, 2013 Fuji Absolute 2.1 hybrid, 2000 Mongoose S2000 MTB, 2009 Schwinn Jaguar beach cruiser

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Liked 172 Times in 95 Posts
What a great, inspirational story. Thanks for sharing.

I started riding again at 48 years old when my knees told me running wasn't a long term option after playing 35 years of soccer. I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic about the same time that caused me to rethink my life. While I certainly don't do 20 miles a day like the gentleman in the original story, it has done wonders for my attitude, my bloodwork, and my general attitude towards life. At 52 years old and still working, solo riding is one of the few times I have to myself and my thoughts.

Cheers all.
camjr is offline  
Old 12-10-19, 09:30 AM
Full Member
GeezyRider's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Delaware Sea Shore
Posts: 401

Bikes: There is always room for one more.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 126 Post(s)
Liked 243 Times in 148 Posts
As others have said, cycling is a lifetime, life-altering and even life-saving activity. Due to a lifetime of injuries and just plain old wear and tear, I've given up softball, tennis, racquetball and volleyball but my bikes still keep me fit and feeling good.
GeezyRider is online now  
Old 12-19-19, 10:11 AM
Senior Member
smoore's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Hour north of Atlanta, Gainesville GA
Posts: 968

Bikes: Primary ride now a LOOK 585-Love it.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 114 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 38 Posts
Great post OP and inspiring. I'm 70, never smoked or drank and will do my best to continue to ride. However, what I CAN'T do....is stand the taste of oatmeal. I want to, I know it's healthy and lots of racers eat it....but I can't even stand the smell of it. What's the secret?

PS: Sure do love oatmeal cookies though.
smoore is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.