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

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

Postby brynpoeth » 21 Aug 2019, 6:03am

I cycle to work every day, cycle to the train station to go on a trip, cycle nearly everywhere, so I have started forcing myself to walk into town once a week, costs a lot of time, maybe an hour!
But I go through the lovely cemeteries and/or the park

I was a bit worried about turning into half person, half cycle :wink:
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Audax67
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby Audax67 » 21 Aug 2019, 2:51pm

Sweep wrote:
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.


With my heart? You trying to kill me? ;)
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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

Postby Pilot Pete » 24 Aug 2019, 10:14am

I’m not quite in the age bracket yet at 52 (I know, a mere whipper snapper!) but I have a sedentary job, and I mean SEDENTARY - might walk 400yds in a twelve hour day... :shock: I do shift work on a variable shift pattern (in fact there is no pattern!) which means I lose about 1 night’s sleep a week on average. The only available food during working hours is crap, and I mean real crap.

So all, in all a recipe for disaster as I head towards retirement. I have always been fit and active though - I was a PTI in the Army for 10years and have continued with exercise of varying sorts ever since. I was a runner in the military and looking back quite an extraordinary endurance athlete yomping over hill after hill carrying half my body weight on my back as I did so!

Since then I have had to change as my body changed - I have degenerative disc disease in my lower spine (due to all that running with rucksacks on!) so running just became to painful. I did a fair bit of gym work and swam for a number of years. I then got into indoor rowing (‘erging’ being the correct term). This is a fantastic all round exercise that works out every muscle in your body. Due to this fact you can hit a higher max heart rate on a rower than on a bike - I used to push hard and hit 220 bpm when in my forties! I found a purpose in raising money for Breast Cancer as 4 friends and family suffered from it at the same time, so rowed a million metres to raise some cash. I got incredibly aerobically fit once again and strong as an ox, but not big - so much aerobic exercise!

I eventually got bored and wondered why I was going to a gym, sitting on a rowing machine doing an hour or so when the sun was shining outside. This is when I changed back to my childhood and teenage passion - cycling. And specifically road cycling.

At first, like everyone one else the shortest hill seemed like the Eiger, but the base fitness meant adaptation was quite quick and I soon started to find bigger and bigger hills no problem. So, mid forties and starting to really get into cycling once again. I have never looked back. The fact I do variable shifts means my days off can be any day of the week so I joined a club and started looking for group rides midweek.

One such group is the Chelford Vets who meet about 10 miles from where I live in Cheshire. They meet every Wednesday at 10am and most have ridden out from Manchester/ across Cheshire. The vast majority are retirees and I think there are only two of us who still work. Average age is low to mid 70s. All are club riders who still ride with their clubs at the weekend and probably average 150 miles a week come rain or shine. The Wednesday group rides have a full annual calendar with the destination cafe listed and this ranges from flat across the Cheshire Plain, some 70 - 100 miles through to hilly Peak District destinations, something like 60 - 100 miles (I kid you not, the ride to Strines Moor is epic!). On top of the regular routes the occasional ‘away days’ are dropped into the calendar during the summer, where the meet is either earlier, or at a remote location so different roads and scenery can be enjoyed.

The members of this group to a man are as fit as fleas - yes you hear the tales of declining health from prostate problems to heart problems, but you also hear how each persons doctor or consultant has told them they would be dead if it weren’t for their cycling fitness. These guys are my inspiration and I truly hope that I can still average 17mph on a group ride in my mid seventies! The signs are good - I have a full medical for work every year and the doc always comments about my resting heart rate of 42bpm and the fact that my blood pressure reading would be considered good if it were a 19 year old!

So, a bit of a long, rambling post, but the key I take from all this is;

1. Stay active. Doesn’t matter what, but stay active.

2. It is easier to get active when you are younger and keep at it rather than wait for the ‘wake up call’ of a heart attack or type 2 diabetes before deciding you’d better do some exercise.

3. Aim to do exercise regularly - I mean 3-5 times a week.

4. No point just doing 20 miles on a bike at easy pace - you need to keep challenging your body. As you age your ability to achieve a fast pace declines, but NOT to actually keep challenging your body! Aim for a mix - do some short faster (relatively) rides and some longer endurance rides.

5. As has been stated by others, cycling is fantastic for aerobic fitness and immune system and mental health etc etc, but it is pretty pathetic for increasing (maintaining) muscle loss (from your upper body) and due to being no impact it does not stave off osteoporosis. So, mix in other exercise to your weekly regime - yoga or Pilates for flexibility and core strength, swimming and weight training for the upper body and walking/ running to get a bit of impact to help bone density.

6. When you are retired you have the time on your hands to do so much more exercise and many cost little or nothing with concessions at public leisure centres etc. Make the most of them.

7. Don’t think you have got time? You could do two hours a day and that still leaves 22 hours for every thing else!

8. Rest and recovery. Another common comment I here is ‘I just can’t do long rides back to back any more’. Our ability to recover from hard exercise diminishes as we age, so planning the recovery takes on more importance - I am lucky that I can still do long days back to back, to back. I can sure feel it as I am not used to it, but it will become increasingly difficult as I age, so planning rest days is important. This doesn’t mean you have to sit on the sofa watching day time telly though - do a yoga class on your recovery day, or do some active recovery by way of a walk - nothing too taxing, just gentle.

9. Nutrition remains as important as you age. No reason not to eat healthily - I fear for my kids generation, many of whom have crap diets at such an early age - will they see the light, or even make it to retirement? Current retirees grew up during less prosperous times when much simpler food was the staple. There were not many obese kids in the 1950s.

As we age so our dietary requirements change and many eat much less than they did when they were younger. I’m not sure if this is simply an ageing thing or the fact that they are significantly less active - my in-laws now eat like church mice, but they are getting increasingly sedentary. The group of retirees I ride with still wolf down egg and beans on toast at the cafe stop!

Protein becomes more and more important - couple that with a varied exercise regime to maintain muscle health and to aid recovery after long/ hard efforts. Most of my group are a bit ‘old school’ in their thinking, and being cyclists, are as tight as a badgers wotsit! The thought of supplementing or eating ‘fancy’ doesn’t really chime with most of them. Getting enough protein from dietary sources alone can be difficult so a supplement shake post exercise can really help. It doesn’t have to cost the earth either - I buy from Bulk Powders online and wait for their 70% off deals - I know, 70% off, that means full price is a rip off - possibly. But a pint of vanilla protein shake costs me peanuts - much less than off the supermarket shelf drinks.

10. Motivation. It is easy to just not bother so try to set targets or have motivators. Being in a group builds that camaraderie and I find myself looking forward to Wednesdays as that’s when I ride with the Vets. As many of the old boys have said to me “keep riding with this group for as long as you can”. Having goals or setting challenges gives you a reason to keep going, or to improve. Why not plan a tour? Set yourself a target such as a long distance ride to train for? I did that this summer and planned to ride the Cheshire Regional Route 70 - a circular route around Cheshire that is 180 miles. I added on 20 miles at the end to make my first double century! It wasn’t that ride in isolation though, it was two months of doing numerous centuries+ to build the fitness and base.

11. Spending time with like minded individuals and chewing the cud. Don’t underestimate the benefit to mental health of meeting up with a group of similar individuals, having a great laugh, taking the mickey, exercising together, sharing experiences and having war stories about when only three of you turned up but did the 70 miles in minus 5 and sideways rain! Having a good moan has its place too!

So there you go, that’s my take and what I look forward to continue practicing well into my retirement...

PP

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

Postby horizon » 26 Aug 2019, 12:45am

backnotes wrote:
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.


I liked their report until I read:

The researchers believe that being physically active in old age will help people respond better to vaccines, and so be better protected against infections such as flu.


I would say that being physically active in old age will mean people don't need vaccines, especially the flu jab.
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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horizon
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby horizon » 26 Aug 2019, 12:48am

djnotts wrote:
I can do it because I do it seems the clue.



Brill, spot on.
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. :)

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

Postby cooper_coleraine » 26 Aug 2019, 5:29pm

I recommend having a routine. I am in my 80's. I rise early. Breakfast on porridge and leave the house at 6.45 a.m every morning. I do a minimum of 20 miles. If it is frosty I walk for 2 hours. I prepare my clothing and bicycle including lights before I go to bed. My routine means I never debate whether to go out I just go. I have followed this routine for many years and it is now an addiction.

All the best

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

Postby brynpoeth » 27 Aug 2019, 5:18am

cooper_coleraine wrote:I recommend having a routine. I am in my 80's. I rise early. Breakfast on porridge and leave the house at 6.45 a.m every morning. I do a minimum of 20 miles. If it is frosty I walk for 2 hours. I prepare my clothing and bicycle including lights before I go to bed. My routine means I never debate whether to go out I just go. I have followed this routine for many years and it is now an addiction.

All the best

Plus One for routine, but a bit flexible
What do you do for the rest of the day?

I cycled a lot when I was young, I think that is relevant to cycling when one is old
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Re: Continuing cycling in older age - what is the secret if any?

Postby cooper_coleraine » 27 Aug 2019, 2:29pm

For the rest of the day I do bit of gardening, do the cooking on alternate days, share the housework and shopping with my wife. I read a lot, watch television, read the paper, do Sudoko, write letters,do small jobs about the house, sit in the sun..... A good life. The morning ride sets me up for the day....I do a bit of cycle maintenance.
Best wishes

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

Postby Pilot Pete » 27 Aug 2019, 5:14pm

cooper_coleraine wrote:For the rest of the day I do bit of gardening, do the cooking on alternate days, share the housework and shopping with my wife. I read a lot, watch television, read the paper, do Sudoko, write letters,do small jobs about the house, sit in the sun..... A good life. The morning ride sets me up for the day....I do a bit of cycle maintenance.
Best wishes


God I need to retire! :D

PP

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

Postby LittleGreyCat » 28 Aug 2019, 9:09pm

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?


This original question did skirt around what is considered "older age".

Given that AFAIK when the state pension was first set up it was paid at 65 and intended to give the retiring worker a couple of years resting in the sunshine and putting their affairs in order before being carted off, the definition must have changed.

If people are now expected to be working into their seventies (which implies that they are expected to be fit enough to work into their seventies) then perhaps "older" is 75 years plus?

I note that your Tri-Vets is for anyone over 50 which is barely out of the cradle!

Anyway, just keep getting the miles into the legs and ignore things like your age.
Look for new challenges.
Rode out on Monday with a person who had added an electric motor to a touring bike (front wheel) to give a small assist on the steepest hills just so the usual courses could continue to be ridden.
This seemed a very sensible approach, because if there is just one hill you can no longer quite get up it can ruin an otherwise wonderful day.

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

Postby horizon » 28 Aug 2019, 9:35pm

LittleGreyCat wrote:
Rode out on Monday with a person who had added an electric motor to a touring bike (front wheel) to give a small assist on the steepest hills just so the usual courses could continue to be ridden.
This seemed a very sensible approach, because if there is just one hill you can no longer quite get up it can ruin an otherwise wonderful day.


If you can get off and walk up I don't see why it would ruin the day. Are you saying that the motor took him up the hill whereas walking would not have been possible?
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. :)

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

Postby djnotts » 28 Aug 2019, 9:53pm

horizon wrote:
LittleGreyCat wrote:
Rode out on Monday with a person who had added an electric motor to a touring bike (front wheel) to give a small assist on the steepest hills just so the usual courses could continue to be ridden.
This seemed a very sensible approach, because if there is just one hill you can no longer quite get up it can ruin an otherwise wonderful day.


If you can get off and walk up I don't see why it would ruin the day. Are you saying that the motor took him up the hill whereas walking would not have been possible?


Can't speak for the individual obviously, but I can ride "my (modest) hill home" with less discomfort and quicker than I can walk it - and pushing a bike is completely exhausting. Walking I have to stop and rest at least twice. When I am able to ride with the Club Easy Rides having to walk would be a no-no because they'd have to wait too long too often. I shall shortly be moving to some form of electric assist.

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

Postby james01 » 29 Aug 2019, 12:44pm

As stated above, cycling is excellent exercise but other activities are important, eg for bone density issues. My general rule is: never drive if I can reasonably cycle, and never cycle if I can reasonably walk. Most of my local trips up to two miles are on foot (minor shopping, appointments etc). Longer trips, typically up to 20 miles (heavy shopping, socialising etc) on the bike. I can typically cut car use to once per fortnight ( and that's usually because I'm giving a lift to a family member who's less active than me 8) ) .
I think it's important to have the resolve to get out there in all weathers, although I do draw the line at cycling when it's icy.

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

Postby TrevA » 29 Aug 2019, 7:03pm

My tip would be to join/find several groups to go riding with. I’m a member of 2 cycling clubs and the CTC (CUK). My main club has rides on Weds, Saturday and Sunday. My other club has rides on Tuesday evenings, Thursdays as well as Saturdays and Sundays and the local CTC has a regular Thursday daytime ride, as well as weekend rides.

So I have a good choice of rides and can get out on a group ride most days. I’ll ride with my wife on a Tuesday and a Friday, which only leaves Monday. There is a local over 55 group on a Monday, which I sometimes ride with but I often need a rest on Mondays.

I have many friends in their mid-70’s, some of whom have heart problems but some are supremely fit. Approaching 80 seems to be the time when many will slow down, but I have 2 friends in their early 80s who’ve recently bought e-bikes, so that they can continue to go on club rides.

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

Postby ANTONISH » 30 Aug 2019, 9:06am

horizon wrote:
LittleGreyCat wrote:
Rode out on Monday with a person who had added an electric motor to a touring bike (front wheel) to give a small assist on the steepest hills just so the usual courses could continue to be ridden.
This seemed a very sensible approach, because if there is just one hill you can no longer quite get up it can ruin an otherwise wonderful day.


If you can get off and walk up I don't see why it would ruin the day. Are you saying that the motor took him up the hill whereas walking would not have been possible?


I have to agree that walking up a hill is not going to ruin the day - I prefer to ride but have a friend who has been a regular audax rider for a long time.
I would often pass him as he was walking up a hill - he often caught me later on the flat.