Was asked recently to share a story to encourage seniors to get on the bike and maintain a healthy life style. This brought to mind two adages: “You are never too old to start” and “If you don’t use it you lose it”.
A very dear friend of our family while in his eighties participated in his first Great Victoria Bike ride and returned each year until he contracted prostrate cancer and had to miss out yet maintained his cycling to aid recovery. His aim every week was a solo 100klm ride as well as commuting around town most days. He has now passed on still vividly hear the resonating joy of his life’s journey of being motor mechanic by trade and garage owner, an amateur photographer and member of the local photographic club and a devoted field naturalist and how cycling was added fulfilling life’s end with many hours of freedom and enjoyment till the very end.
The second memory relates to a conversation at the Victorian Track Cycling Titles a few years ago with a professional worker who had retired and was in his 70s. His health deteriorated after his working life ended. On return from a visit to his local doctor his wife had penned him a note and left it on the kitchen table. It read something like this. “I know you are dying and may not have long to live so please go and spend some money on yourself and do something you would like to do before its all ended.”
Amazingly he chose to go and buy a bike and start riding as he was envious of all the cyclists he had been witnessing. Here he was some 18 months on, competing at the state track titles in the individual pursuit and much more. He had been truly bitten by the cycling bug. It was evident that health and wellbeing had made a complete about face showing no signs of giving up the ghost.
There will be many stories like this for seniors who have made choices to engage in something that brings a new lease of life and cycling is one that can bring many benefits in these tough economic times.
Cycling is a low impact recreation activity where there is limited stress placed on the body unlike jogging or even vigorous walking may produce. Swimming or water aerobics are comparative where the body does not suffer from being continually impacted. If considering as a senior returning to the freedom and enjoyment that cycling can bring there are a few things that are worth considering.
Is your general health good? Please consider at the top of the list a consultation with your local doctor where this could be assessed. Cycling with others is well known to be beneficial for the mind and soul. Establish a routine of sharing a chat combined with some moderate exercise will help maintain a healthy heart lung capacity and commitment to exercise disciplines.
Be wise, have an Australian Standards approved helmet using words of the campaign runs some years ago “don’t hit the road without one”. In selecting a trusty stead correct fitting of the frame size and seat height will make the experience so much more rewarding and encouraging with the decision of continuing if aches and pains are reduced from poor cycling posture.
The choice of road, hybrid or mountain bike will depend on your vision and dream for the longer term. A hybrid can accommodate on and off road options while being a flat bar delivering a comfortable upright posture and ease of handling. Choose routes of fewer risks, avoiding busy intersections and major roads, look for well maintained tracks.
A speedo is valuable to measure the distance and time on the bike and average speed. Bring to cycling your years of life’s perseverance and vocational wisdom to share with others, think big, being prepared to start small with the view of continuous improvements.
See you on the road soon God willing