Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

julie.rand
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Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby julie.rand » 13 Aug 2019, 2:57pm

As part of our celebration and follow-up of this year's TriVets series, we at Cycling UK are looking for some helpful tips and advice from forum users for keeping riding into your later years. Obviously ebikes are a way forward for many but what other tips can you pass on in terms of nutrition, bike set-up, training, overcoming physical and mental issues etc etc? Is there a 'secret' to keeping going into your seventies, eighties and beyond or is it just a matter of keeping the pedals turning?

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Cugel
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby Cugel » 13 Aug 2019, 9:04pm

julie.rand wrote:As part of our celebration and follow-up of this year's TriVets series, we at Cycling UK are looking for some helpful tips and advice from forum users for keeping riding into your later years. Obviously ebikes are a way forward for many but what other tips can you pass on in terms of nutrition, bike set-up, training, overcoming physical and mental issues etc etc? Is there a 'secret' to keeping going into your seventies, eighties and beyond or is it just a matter of keeping the pedals turning?


The latter, really. As is the case when we are lazy snappers of 17, thinking about going drinking & razzing, the hardest part of cycling is getting out of the door. Once you do, the pleasures are many. You can even booze & razz with more vigour following a 70 miler, should that still be your thing! This applies also to 80 year-olds.

On the other hand, age adds a few "reasons" that may be called-up by those shy of getting out of the door clutching their bike. Joints do ache; bluddy sprogs go past you and you can't now catch them; the cafe staff no longer gaze with admiration at your bumble as it has sagged along with your face.

But think of the alternative! Rotting slowly on a perch in some backwater gimmery, as Biffer the male "nurse" expresses his ire at being paid only £7.09 an hour upon your person.

Cugel

Carlton green
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby Carlton green » 13 Aug 2019, 9:30pm

julie.rand wrote:As part of our celebration and follow-up of this year's TriVets series, we at Cycling UK are looking for some helpful tips and advice from forum users for keeping riding into your later years. Obviously ebikes are a way forward for many but what other tips can you pass on in terms of nutrition, bike set-up, training, overcoming physical and mental issues etc etc? Is there a 'secret' to keeping going into your seventies, eighties and beyond or is it just a matter of keeping the pedals turning?


There isn’t a CTC club where I live but in years past I lived somewhere where there was and that club had loads of old guys in it, they didn’t regard themselves as old but they were well past retirement age. What did they do that was special and kept them doing eighty mile rides? I don’t know they just seemed to turn up and ride, and they didn’t ride fancy bikes just ones that were well set up and well maintained. Some didn’t drive much and some only cycled so I recon part of the answer is riding nearly ever day and another part is having a good (as in working well) bike. They seemed to have a positive or at least stoic mental attitude too. Non ate fancy food or had special diets, and in those days none had electric assistance. For them Cycle clothing was maybe plus fours and a green spot jacket, certainly non of today’s fancy stuff.

I recall one old guy saying that his Doctor had told him that he was a bit too old to be riding and that he should take things easy instead, the chap decided that his Doctor wasn’t the best of GP’s and got on with doing things. I seem to remember that the old guys did pace themselves too, that’s not to say that their pace was slow just that they were aware of how to manage the physical side of cycling endurance and loads.

What’s the best advice. Well go on some club rides and talk to the old guys face to face.
Last edited by Carlton green on 13 Aug 2019, 9:44pm, edited 1 time in total.

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horizon
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby horizon » 13 Aug 2019, 9:42pm

There's a school of thought that turns this on its head and asks: how do you get to be 80? And the answer of course is through cycling in your seventies. So you aren't cycling despite being old, you are old because you cycle.

Nevertheless, I think it will be an interesting piece.

Just to add, one thing i read recently is that exercise does increase bone density in old age (or at least prevent loss) and that might be some reassurance for people who are fearful of falls, which is of course an aspect of cycling.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby Tigerbiten » 13 Aug 2019, 10:01pm

My only advice is if you cannot ride a bike for any reason, don't just give up if you still want to get out.
There's a whole range of recumbents and trikes that can help.

But you do have to go looking for somebody knowledgeable who can help you pick the right model that work with you.

Luck .......... :D

Eyebrox
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby Eyebrox » 14 Aug 2019, 1:03am

Find a club or a group to go cycling with. Especially where there are several riders of the same age. They encourage each other to get out and collectively tend to cycle similar distances at similar speeds. The united approach with conversations on familiar themes works well (usually about health, bike parts or the cost of living!). Cycling can be fun and challenging if you team up with the right partners. Going out with younger, fitter riders (with a point to prove) just switches you off. It can be difficult to bring together a group of older riders but well worth the effort with fitness and psychological gains for each. You need to keep in touch and make sure any missing group members are "enquired after" week in, week out.

ambodach
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby ambodach » 15 Aug 2019, 5:52pm

Keep the pedals turning. I cannot easily get my leg over the saddle any more so I have a Brompton and Bike Friday with step through. Not so fast but why hurry. With my GTech electric I either lean against something or lay the bike flat and step over before picking it up. I am now using a recumbent trike sometimes which also keeps me moving.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby al_yrpal » 15 Aug 2019, 7:39pm

No secret really, I loved cycling when I was young, gave it up for girls and cars in my teens but in 2006 when I reached 64 I was diagnosed with the dreaded type 2 diabetes. Met an old mate who had just done LEJOG and decided that cycle touring with old pals would be good for my health and lengthen my lifespan. 13 years later I still enjoy the bike, I dont do massive milages, just regular shortish rides to enjoy the countryside and maintain fitness. I think cycling makes you 10 years younger than you are. You can do it with like minded pals so its a nice social occasion and thats good for the soul in so many ways.

Nutrition? ....Eat plenty of cakes, even if you shouldnt :)

Bike fit? Like any bike at any age, adjust things so its comfortable.

Training?...Just keep doing it rain or shine. Keep fit for those tours.

Physical or mental issues? ...cycling will minimise them and enable you to live longer. Remember that, its incentive enough to get out on the bike.

Theres no secret as far as I have been concerned, as long as you enjoy cycling.

At 76 I have recently gone electric having just moved to a very hilly part of Devon. I had never even considered it but just decided that if I wanted to enjoy the local countryside and its frequent 1 in 4 gradients I just had to. I set the level of electric assistance to challenge me so that I continue to get the necessary physical workout. I must say that I am enjoying the Pedelec enormously but now wondering what to do about my other bikes?

Just keep peddling!

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

ANTONISH
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby ANTONISH » 16 Aug 2019, 8:27am

horizon wrote:There's a school of thought that turns this on its head and asks: how do you get to be 80? And the answer of course is through cycling in your seventies. So you aren't cycling despite being old, you are old because you cycle.

Nevertheless, I think it will be an interesting piece.

Just to add, one thing i read recently is that exercise does increase bone density in old age (or at least prevent loss) and that might be some reassurance for people who are fearful of falls, which is of course an aspect of cycling.


I agree with this (mostly) - just get out on your bike and ride it. Ride at a pace that you are comfortable with and can maintain for the length of your ride. Be prepared to use lower gears and be slower uphill - I always try to ride hills but if you find it too hard then walk.

I'm 78 but I don't feel my age when I'm riding - I'm only aware because I'm frequently overtaken.

I don't think cycling is particularly good for bone health and I go to a gym about three times a week for weight training etc.
There are of course those who are older and faster than me and are cycling through their eighties and nineties.
And you need some luck - ill health can strike the fittest and healthiest of individuals.

backnotes
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby backnotes » 16 Aug 2019, 12:20pm

horizon wrote:There's a school of thought that turns this on its head and asks: how do you get to be 80? And the answer of course is through cycling in your seventies. So you aren't cycling despite being old, you are old because you cycle.


Some support for this view in this recent King's College London / University of Birmingham research https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43308729 which examined the health benefits of regular cycling as people get older.

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Sweep
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby Sweep » 17 Aug 2019, 7:18am

Thanks for that link backnotes.
Great news.
Sweep

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Audax67
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby Audax67 » 17 Aug 2019, 11:17am

My main recommendation is to get into endurance riding rather than aiming for fast rides. When I got my first stent after 30 years of Type 2 diabetes, the cardiologist told me that without cycling I'd have been on the table 10 years earlier.

Another suggestion is to eat like a diabetic, i.e. find out what a diabetic diet entails and follow it when you're not on the bike. When you are doing long rides, though, or when there's something to celebrate, eat and drink whatever you like: you have to stay sane.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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Sweep
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby Sweep » 17 Aug 2019, 8:01pm

Audax67 wrote:My main recommendation is to get into endurance riding rather than aiming for fast rides.e.

+1
And ride several times a week, even if some days aren't mega long. Integrate cycling into your life as much as you can, shopping, visiting folk, sexual assignations, whatever.
Sweep

roger
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby roger » 17 Aug 2019, 10:27pm

Cycling does nothing for bone density. CyclingWeekly recommend hopping on each leg , 5 time s forward, backwards, to each side and on the spot. A radiographer friend agreed with this article and explained the physical process, unfortunately , I cannot remember it in sufficient detail to repeat it in a worthwhile form. In another article they stated that elder athletes should consume protein as if they were very active 25 year olds. Perhaps this is as protein aids muscle growth and we are susceptible to muscle wasted as we age. Another article suggested lifting weights as we aged, another bone density maintainer?
Cycling has almost weekly articles containing advice from "fitness professionals" all based on practice and results from research. It would seem that there is a need for an expert in the field/s concerned to con firm and develop on these comments. Not just for cyclists.
Finally, rest. Got to find something else to crash out in front of snce the Tour finished. Waiting for the Vuelta and the World Road Championships.
It would be interesting to know if pumping tyres up tomorrow morning will improve bone density. Whatever, it will get me out.
Roger.

djnotts
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby djnotts » 20 Aug 2019, 2:37pm

While my chronological age is only 70, COPD gives me a "lung capacity" age of over 90 (exact figure fluctuates according to how I'm feeling at examination!). Since diagnosis 7 or 8 years ago, the lung age has increased by less than my real years, which I and my specialist attribute to cycling. Not huge mileages and not fast, but REGULAR and that is I think the key. Most of the year out at least 5 days a week, all year, nearly all weathers. I aim for minimum 70 miles a week average and this year hitting target (not last year, my wife was very ill for many months before her death). When I miss a week or 2 because away on holiday I try to do plenty of walking, but still very much notice a decline in "performance" on return - it is the regularity which does the trick I'm sure.

I can do it because I do it seems the clue.

As mentioned, a club helps. Local CTC has a weekly Easy Ride, c. 35 miles including ride to start. There is a mid-week ride which is a bit fast for me, but I go short route to cafe and join return with group for part of way - meeting up part of motivation to go further than I would do just solo.

Wherever I go I have a "hill" home - I tell myself that when I can't ride it I'll have to go electric and so make it a point of honour to just suffer! But then if I can't ride it I won't be able to walk it either.

A super light, 30 speed, carbon race bike (find/build a triple and then gear it down even further!) helps with the hills when with group. Or mix bike and public transport - just back from 23 miles on my Brompton, part of return leg on train, gets one further afield than local routes and thus adds interest.

Have to get to a habit where it "hurts" more NOT to ride than it does to get up and get out!

I have also recently become more aware of and careful of my need for protein, which seems to have had good effect.

Regularity, targets, motivation and the right bike about it I guess.