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Bicycle use among older Americans has increased fivefold since 1995

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Bicycle use among older Americans has increased fivefold since 1995

Old 06-22-14, 07:13 AM
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Bicycle use among older Americans has increased fivefold since 1995

Older cyclist are the fastest growing group of users: Bike use is rising among the young, but it is skyrocketing among the old | PeopleForBikes

"Between 1995 and 2009, the most recent year for which data is available from the National Household Travel Survey, the rise in biking among people ages 60-79 accounted for 37 percent of the total nationwide increase in bike trips."
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Old 06-22-14, 07:18 AM
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Yes, it is easily seen in my area, most of those riding are well over 50. I've wondered why it is, cost and spare time are just two possibilities . I do see young out riding during commuting hours.
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Old 06-22-14, 07:29 AM
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1. There are a lot more older people - which wold account for a lot more older riders. The question - is the percentage of folks who ride bicycles and are older increasing?

2. There is a greater emphasis on health and conditioning.

3. There is more $$ and free time.

4. Many bikes are now tailored to fit older riders and still look "snazzy."
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Old 06-22-14, 07:44 AM
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I think some has to do with emphasis on health as we age. I think some has to do with recapturing the fun things of our youth if you haven't been a rider all your life. I actually think cycling is pretty low cost activity particularly if you're satisfied with lower end LBS model. Alternatives would be golf equipment/greens fees, gym membership, most team sport leagues/tournaments have recurring cost of entry, guns/ranges, bar tabs. You can spend as little or as much time you choose doing it. While I've nudged my kids to be somewhat active (actually they vary from very active to sedentary) and dragged them along for plenty of my adventures they still have tendency to gravitate towards gaming consoles and Netflix. I don't know if cycling would be quite the same for me if my parents didn't give me the freedom that would border on neglect by todays standards.
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Old 06-22-14, 09:25 AM
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I think we reach a point where "use it or lose it" becomes "use it now or lose it forever." Somewhere around 50.
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Old 06-22-14, 09:31 AM
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Pipe dream - use GI Bill and go full time to Park Bike School, come back and open bike shop tailered to the +50 crowd to capitalize on this

Only reason I'm not is GI Bill won't pay room and board while out there
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Old 06-22-14, 11:00 AM
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Just saw another vintage resale shop pop up in my area.
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Old 06-22-14, 06:52 PM
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The article was disappointing as it took straightforward demographics and infused it with bullsh!t politics.

More of us are riding bikes because we don't feel comfortable owning a car? Puleeeze!

We are riding bikes because it is fun, it is freeing, it is joint sparing, and we can afford the damn things.

And the more my city spends on bike infrastructure, the more people take advantage of it. Louisville has even figured out a way for corporations to joyfully pony up with the cash. It's really win/win when you can pull it off.

Anyway, the growth in cycling here has been quite something, especially in our demographic.
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Old 06-22-14, 08:55 PM
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I wonder how many of the 50+ crowd have taken up cycling in earnest for the same reasons I have? Unable or unwilling to put up with the pain of my younger type sports. Basketball, softball etc. And in my case, realizing that I enjoy the heck out of it, and should be able to experience that joy for another decade or two.
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Old 06-23-14, 01:08 AM
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I see it as fun and fitness for an aging population. At the risk of being political, the cost of gasoline might be a contributing factor for some people when it comes to riding around town and buying a few things that are easily carried on a bike.

"More of us are riding bikes because we don't feel comfortable owning a car?" Dudelsack, I agree with your take on that. Some writers deserve a swift kick now and then.
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Old 06-23-14, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
The article was disappointing as it took straightforward demographics and infused it with bullsh!t politics.

More of us are riding bikes because we don't feel comfortable owning a car? Puleeeze!

We are riding bikes because it is fun, it is freeing, it is joint sparing, and we can afford the damn things.

And the more my city spends on bike infrastructure, the more people take advantage of it. Louisville has even figured out a way for corporations to joyfully pony up with the cash. It's really win/win when you can pull it off.

Anyway, the growth in cycling here has been quite something, especially in our demographic.
There are different reasons for different age groups. For the <30 crowd, they look at their parents living 50 miles outside the city, spending 4 hours get to/from work, buying a new car every other year, decide to pass and go with the downtown condo, where work is a 5 minute walk/ride, they don't need a car, so don't bother with one.

For older folks (>50), cycling is a good exercise, it's low impact, unless you crash, you can get into it for less then $500. Your overall service cost for 10 years is maybe another $500. So for $100 a year.... You can't get a gym membership for $100/yr..... If your like me, and do all your own bicycle service, and make use of an existing bicycle rotting in the garage, you can get that down to maybe $50/yr.

New bike infrastructure also helps, cities have come to realise that they can't keep paving over the landscape, because every foot of new road, is another foot they can't collect taxes on. Many roads built in the last 70 years have a 66' right of way. The crown of the road is at the 33' mark. Take off 3' for a service area, take off another 3' for sidewalks, 12' for road lanes, and 9' for parking, and you have used 28 of that 33' used. The 5' remaining isn't enough for another road lane, but it is perfect for a bicycle lane.
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Old 06-23-14, 07:04 AM
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Old data, and I seem to remember the bike industry annual sales data last five years was showing the purchase of road machines by the younger crowd was actually declining. So, I suppose you can interpret the data as not so much indicating the older crowd's enthusiasm is growing, it's showing the younger crowd simply walking away. True in my family; my older kids where avid riders during the college years, but little time and interest now; certainly no big purchases. Running, hiking, gym workouts - yes; biking no.
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Old 06-23-14, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
Older cyclist are the fastest.
I know this already.
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Old 06-23-14, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
I know this already.
:-) Good one.
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Old 06-23-14, 09:33 AM
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I've actually given the matter a lot of thought. At any particular time, the reasons I cycle include some combination of:

1. To avoid the maddening frustration of driving in traffic.
2. To be outside.
3. To keep in shape.
4. To hang with friends.
5. To explore new places.
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Old 06-23-14, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
I've actually given the matter a lot of thought. At any particular time, the reasons I cycle include some combination of:

1. To avoid the maddening frustration of driving in traffic.
2. To be outside.
3. To keep in shape.
4. To hang with friends.
5. To explore new places.
+1. I became car-light when I restarted as a cyclist several years ago. I don't consider cycling to be a direct replacement for car travel, but it's possible to use the bike for a wide range of activities. The amount of time I'm in the car alone within 10 miles of home is half of what it was 10 years ago.
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Old 06-23-14, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
+1. I became car-light when I restarted as a cyclist several years ago. I don't consider cycling to be a direct replacement for car travel, but it's possible to use the bike for a wide range of activities. The amount of time I'm in the car alone within 10 miles of home is half of what it was 10 years ago.

Yea, me too. About 30 years ago, I had a short little 5 mile commute, that at times, took me almost half an hour(!) At the same time, there was a bike route that would take me most of the distance, and better yet, it was along the beach.

I still remember my first day commuting by bike. I made all the silly mistakes. To get to the bike path, I chose a road that had a "Bike Lane" in spite of the fact that it was of substandard width, and was on a busy street. I also got a flat, and had no pump or spare tube to fix it. So I walked home, determined to try it again.

That evening, I bought a couple of spare tubes and a pump. And I took quiet streets to the bike path, and got to work with no problems. As soon as I rolled through the door, I thought ... Now why the HELL did it take me so long to do that?

And I've been commuting to and from work ever since. I took a sabbatical when the commute was undoable, and I'm now riding much further than I originally did (different houses and different jobs), but it is still the highlight of the day.

As it is now, I ride about 10,000 miles a year. About 5,000 commuting to and from work, about 5,000 for pleasure. And I only drive when I have to. At this rate, my car will last another 10 years. I pretty much use it only to drive to recreational bike rides, skiing, camping and the like.

Don't get me wrong. I love cars, and they can be a wonderful convenience. But for distances of about 10 miles or less ... there are better ways to get around.
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Old 06-23-14, 10:11 AM
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In just the 3-4 years I've been on a bike, the trend toward cycling as well as walking and jogging, by older folks is apparent. I use my bike on club rides as well as errands around town to the post office, library or grocery shopping with panniers. I'm seeing many people, of all ages really, out on bikes. The reasons are likely as Biker 395 has stated.

Bristol, Rhode Island is a small town and the area, including SE Massachusetts and Connecticut is full of small towns where cycling is relatively safe. Bike paths, although full of clueless people, are also relatively safe and encourage older folks to get out on a bike. Slightly off topic but my preference is for bike lanes and when that is not possible, at least 3-4 feet, (say, a meter) of shoulder.
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Old 06-23-14, 11:32 AM
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My wife and I had stopped at a local corner store to eat some ice cream on a bicycle ride near our vacation villa near Mount Vernon, WA. The store has a couple of old chairs on the front porch, so you can sit and watch the traffic go by on a quieter section of Hwy 9 near Lake McMurray. In early June, the motorcyclists are out in full force, especially on the winding back roads where we usually ride. What we found interesting was that without exception, ALL the motorcyclists going by or stopping at the store appeared to be seniors. Lots of grey hair when they took off their helmets, lots of wrinkled old faces underneath the helmets.

I think that if there is an increase in the number of older Americans riding bicycles, then the number of seniors on motorcycles has got to be skyrocketing! Way more motorcycles than bicycles on Hwy 9. Motorcycles too evoke youth, freedom, and carefree attitude, attributes shared with cyclists. But motorcycling is so much easier, and conveys a more macho image than riding a prissy bicycle wearing a loud lycra outfit. Yes, more costly than a bicycle, but way cheaper than a sports car. And a Harley is still primitive enough that you can still do your own work on it (probably the ONLY good feature of a Harley...).

Luis
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