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Mountain biking at my age?

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Mountain biking at my age?

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Old 02-23-15, 07:30 PM
  #1  
ol geezer
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Mountain biking at my age?

I'm 63. Yes, I'm a bona fide geezer.

I road bike a lot and love it but have been intrigued by mountain biking. I don't think you'll ever find me bounding up and down steep, narrow mountain trails with you young bucks out there but there's some appeal to getting out into the woods on a bike. I backpack so maybe I'm just drawn to self-propelled travel through the woods. Generally, I think I'm very fit but I'm also aware (thankfully not with first-hand experience) that the older you get the harder it is, and the longer it takes, to recover from an injury.

My LBS (like most, I assume?) will credit a MTB rental towards a purchase of a new bike. They also sell off all their rental fleet at the end of each season so I have a couple of purchase options but that's for a later post. I even have my wife on board with this exploration of mountain biking which is pretty extraordinary considering the crap ton of money I dropped on a carbon road bike last year!

So ... considering my age and level of biking fitness, what do you think? I know road and mountain biking will be different in how I'll use my muscles, etc. so that's a given. I live in northern Virginia in a rural county with lots of hills and dirt roads, and with fairly quick access to the foothills of the Blue Ridge. A friend tells me there are some mountain biking "parks" in our area so that's an option, too.

I'd like to hear your pros and cons.
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Old 02-23-15, 07:46 PM
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No cons, only pros. get out there
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Old 02-23-15, 10:06 PM
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Go for it. The same rules apply to the young bucks..try not to fall.
i am 47 and ride road bikes. I just started riding mtbs again after a long 15 yr hiatus. If you enjoy it than do it. I admit that I am no longer fearless but that is probably wisdom, or so I tell myself.
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Old 02-24-15, 12:20 AM
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Definitely give it a go! I started mountain biking when I was 65, two years ago. I started with a hardtail and got a full suspension my second year. This winter, I'm building up another hardtail so I can learn more about how things work. What I like about mountain biking is that you can get a great workout and have a lot of fun. There are skills to develop, and when you're riding MTB, you have to concentrate all the time - no zoning out like you might do on your road bike.

Let your bike shop help with a good, solid bike, and let them help you find a series of rides that will get you into it. I ride mostly alone, so I did most of my own research for rides in my area. Just start easy and work into tougher stuff as your skills improve. Toward the end of my second year, I was able to do the Chequamegon Fat 40 in northern Wisconsin. As the commercial says, "Just do it!" I think you'll have a real hoot on a MTB, and you'll enjoy being out in the semi-wilds.
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Old 02-24-15, 09:18 AM
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My father-in-law is 63 and he rides XC trails with me now and then. Get out there! You'll love it.

DO buy and wear protective gear. I suggest knee and elbow pads when you're getting started, and keep them on for any rocky trails or high speed descents.

Demoing/renting bikes is also a great idea. I would definitely do that so you can figure out what you like on the trail. It could be very different than what you think on a short ride in a parking lot...
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Old 02-24-15, 12:19 PM
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Go for it. I'm about to turn 72 and I got back into bike riding three years ago. I bought a full-suspension mountain bike (cross-country, really) and started riding the less technical trails around here and enjoy it greatly. I do wear knee and elbow pads when I'm on something that has loose rocks and such. I ride a mix of paved MUPs and dirt/gravel singletrack.
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Old 02-24-15, 12:32 PM
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Some of the guys I ride with are in their 80s. You are only as old as you think you are.
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Old 02-24-15, 04:48 PM
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Go for it, especially where you live. After a misguided youth spent on BMX and some of the early mountain bikes I strayed away from dirt and ended up riding road bikes for 20 years. Now in my 40's I'm about to begin my second year messing around on a mountain bike. I ride with constant attention because breaking a wrist or collar bone would be devastating to me financially. Anyway, last fall in Grand Junction I was absolutely humiliated by many, and I mean a lot, of retired guys that were all having some serious fun. Just take baby steps and don't try to get all rad until you're comfortable.
It's pretty intense, you'll find yourself smiling.
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Old 02-24-15, 05:20 PM
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The only con I see is that if you think you're spending money now, just wait. Other than that, only pros. Enjoy!
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Old 02-24-15, 06:44 PM
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I'm now 56 and feel 36 because of Mountain biking.
Things I know, the route to the woods I took taking advice from local riders...

Test rides are a must, renting is the absolute best way.

A Hard tail is a great first bike choice, being far less expensive and simpler to tune and maintain.
Used is wise and If you get 'Hooked' the more expensive full suspension is nice, my second and current ride is a full squish and I am done
with Hard tails.
Hard tails smack you in the arse If you make a mistake or don't get your buns out of the saddle fast or often enough.
Ht's teach new riders with a firm hand
I still miss my old Hard Tail 29er a little,, a very little,,or maybe NOT !

Full squish lets me ride farther and faster and forgives me when I get a little tired and cannot get up off the saddle fast enough when that sudden root or rock pops up.
Full squish lets me motor away when I get in the rough stuff. Rear traction is so good I can sit if tired or stand and spin or mash over or out of almost anything..
Full squish lets me carry far more speed with far greater traction and control and speed is your friend when you come out of a G-out and the trail points up.

I dabble on the black diamond trails now and then with caution. Mostly I get all the thrills I crave and the workout I need on the intermediate trails,,, 10 ft rollers are a lot safer than 50 ft drops...

Don't ride off any drop that you don't know, have never been over or cannot see all of it all the way down... Stop and look, there is ZERO disgrace in walking up or down....
Use good judgement and remember walking crazy steep stuff and dragging bike brakes can damage a clay based trail.
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Old 02-24-15, 06:49 PM
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You need to start watching the short training videos, chronological order from his first one and watch how he progresses. Geezers rule!

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Old 02-24-15, 06:58 PM
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Do it! I'm a MTBer at heart my road bikes compliment them in my bike obsession. There's nothing like riding in the woods.
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Old 02-24-15, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by slowride454 View Post
... You are only as old as you think you are.
Amen to that!

Wow! Thanks for all the positive responses and encouragement - EXACTLY what I was secretly hoping for! Lots of good info and advice and I will look at those training videos. It's nice to know I'm in good company. Now ... I need to go visit my LBS and wait for the icy crust over the trails to melt off ...

Yes. Geezers rule!
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Old 02-24-15, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ol geezer View Post
Amen to that!

Wow! Thanks for all the positive responses and encouragement - EXACTLY what I was secretly hoping for! Lots of good info and advice and I will look at those training videos. It's nice to know I'm in good company. Now ... I need to go visit my LBS and wait for the icy crust over the trails to melt off ...

Yes. Geezers rule!
Why wait? Winter on a MTB is great! Soon you will want a fat bike too!
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Old 02-24-15, 07:26 PM
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I'm 60 and this fatbike bike is brutal. Pushes me to the limit as does the roadie and hardtail MTB. Rock on!

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Old 02-24-15, 07:48 PM
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As long as you are fit and not frail go for it you'll love it !!
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Old 02-25-15, 12:05 AM
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You are really old! Better jump in before it is too late.

I made the opposite entry into cycling. I have been on fat tires since 1.85 were really radical. In 2011 I bought my first set of skinny tires. I am 61, so I also am pretty aged for the crowd out there. I am also more comfortable on XC trails that wander around. It is all good. The skinny tires has helped my cardio. I learn to keep a better spin going. But trails are much more enjoyable, fun and will keep your whole body conditioned. You will need to make room in the garage for more gear. Its a blast.
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Old 02-25-15, 10:46 AM
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Didn't you hear? - - 60 is the new 40. Rock on.



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Old 02-25-15, 11:51 AM
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You're certainly not too old, especially since you kept in shape riding road bikes. Something to consider, in the late fall, winter and early spring, I find riding a road bike is a PITA. It's too cold and you have to wear all that crap to keep warm. Mountain biking on a technical trail is not as fast, that allows for heat build up within your body. I'm much more comfortable on an MTB in the winter than a road bike.
On the east coast you're going to be riding on single track trails with lots of roots. One thing that is realistic about being older, a dual sus bike is way more comfortable. I know that means more $$ but it's worth it. You may not have the symptoms yet, but you will develop arthritis of the lower back, its natural, can't be helped. Dual sus will allow you to ride that bike for many more years than a hardtail. If you just want to dable now and not jump in with both feet, consider used. 26ers should be selling for a fraction of the cost of a used 29er, but the larger wheel is more desirable for getting over objects, like roots and logs.
Getting in touch with nature is a lot of fun. I enjoy road biking, but there's nothing like riding on a trail and coming across deer or viewing a sunset on a lake not to mention the challenge between you and the trail. It's a blast and you'll enjoy it.
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Old 02-25-15, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
I'm 60 and this fatbike bike is brutal. Pushes me to the limit as does the roadie and hardtail MTB. Rock on!

Biker,, You Da Man !!!

Nice Fatty ya got there...
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Old 02-28-15, 11:09 PM
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You're never too old. I just started MTB at 50 (I'm 52 now). Like so many of the others, I started with a hardtail, then graduated to full-suspension. I also ride downhill at the bike parks here in Colorado (started that this last summer). It is so much fun and my wife rides both trail and DH with me. I've definitely seen plenty of older guys like us not only on the trail but also at the bike park. If you can find a mountain bike instructor in your area, that is big help as well. I took a lesson for both trail riding and downhill and those lessons definitely improved my riding and gave me greater confidence. FWIW, I just introduced a 63 year old co-worker to mountain biking this summer and he's having a great time. Get out there and ride...you'll love it!

BTW...keep shredding it there dminor!

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Old 03-01-15, 09:24 AM
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As one who shares your demographic, I'll give you my standard drumbeat...What are you saving it for?
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Old 03-01-15, 10:18 AM
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Jeez, I'm 69 and that sort of question never occurred to me.

Should I ride at this age? How old will I be if I don't?
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Old 03-01-15, 03:05 PM
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The only con (and that depends on your perspective is that your road bike might gather dust! That's what happened to me--I started MTB'ing about 2 years ago at 52, and eventually ended up selling my road bike to help fund my mountain bike quiver. I realized I REALLY hated riding in traffic for one thing, and that being out in nature on my bike was all I wanted to do. Now I mainly ride a rigid single speed 29'r MTB, and I'm no beast, just a pretty fit 54 year old---it is the most fun Ive had on wheels in decades. I find it to be much more of an all-body workout than road riding. It has gotten me fitter faster (especially on the ss).
I'm in SoCal, but I grew up in your part of VA--never MTB'd tere--would love to try it some time!
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Old 03-08-15, 04:21 PM
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If you are able to road bike, I can't see why you couldn't mountain bike. I'd get a dual suspension bike if possible, they are much smoother. Obviously, you need to be careful about the terrain, make sure you can see the other side of obstacles before riding on them.

Don't be discouraged if you find that you average 4-6 MPH when starting out. There is a lot of maneuvering in MTB which you have to learn how to do. You may also find that you are doing a lot of steep, but short climbs & descents on an MTB, compared to a road bike. (But I don't know the terrain in your area). I find an hour of MTB is more draining than an hour of road biking, but maybe I don't hit the road bike as hard.
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