Friday, February 28, 2020

Best Things about Cycling into My Senior Years

There are many advantages to cycling in our later years beside the obvious: benefiting physical and emotional health. Aches and pains are a given but the wisdom gained from experience lends a certain comfort. I expect to continue riding for many years to come, and when I think about it, there are aspects to aging that should help me keep the momentum going.

I no longer care about mileage or speed. As long as I can get to work, have mini overnights/or tours where I arrive before dark, or embrace the multi-modal mindset - what matters is having adventures and moving.

Bicycles are for riding and not for show. I've discovered it's more about riding a comfortable bicycle and less about aesthetics. As we age, a bike may no longer fit like it once did when we were more flexible. Best to sell/donate/part with a bicycle that's unused so it puts a smile on another's face.

Being able to afford and store multiple bikes. Remember when we were thrilled to have even one bicycle? (Mine was a Schwinn Continental.) And while I believe owning too many bikes and dealing with maintenance can be overwhelming (because, remember, bikes are to be ridden), it's nice to have a back-up when one requires repair.

Unafraid to tinker. Being able to change a flat tire is liberating, and often the first step toward freedom for some who'd love to pedal beyond the radius of a LBS. I can repair more things now than when I was 25 years old, of course. I have on many occasions used a LBS to fix my mess or repair something more complicated (anything to do with wheels!). I continue to add bicycle-specific tools (love a recently acquired master link removal tool) as necessary to my overflowing toolbox.

Adaptation is key, life-long learning required!  It's necessary to have new experiences for personal growth. I'm a traveler at heart and my goal is to visit at least one new place every year. It doesn't matter if it's in an adjoining state or in a different country. For adventures close to home, I explore coffee shops, parks, beaches, get groceries by bike, There are Meet up groups galore: over 50, all women, WTF, etc. Attend a maintenance class at a local bike shop. I've tried a cargo bike, fat bike, folding bike, bike share, e-bike, etc. We may not have time on our side but we currently live in a era of bike styles up the wazoo, which means if our physical needs must adapt to a different style of bike, that ought to keep us older riders going for a long time.

What do think is cool about being a senior cyclist?