One important bike riding tip is to choose a proper route to cycle. There are more, only use a well-maintained bike and, make sure you have lights installed. Cycle with a friend so you always have someone to help. Ensure that you are visible to others in traffic, use reflectors.
If you face balance problems consider a tricycle. If you need help cycling you should check electric bikes. Cycling is a physical experience, be sure to carry fresh water with you. Read further for more bike riding tips for seniors.
Apart from swimming, riding a bike is probably one of the best forms of exercise a senior can do. Not only are you exercising your legs, hips, and back, but you’re doing it sitting down! You get to breathe in fresh air rather than a room full of sweaty armpits in a gym. And, if you plan your route wisely you will see some wonderful parts of your neighborhood at a speed slow enough to appreciate what you are seeing.
Unlike running and jogging, cycling is a low impact exercise. Your knees and hips don’t suffer from the constant pounding you get from a jog of a similar length.
A reputable UK daily newspaper, The Guardian, reported that cycling preserves muscle mass and keeps cholesterol under control, both things are very important to watch as you get older.
But, how do we make sure that going for our daily bike ride stays safe and doesn’t end up a tragedy? There are a few things you must do, and some simple procedures to follow and your cycling experience will continue to be fun.
How to start riding a bike again?
Choose your route
As we’ve already mentioned, choose your route carefully. If you’re new to the sport start by cycling on a relatively flat surface where you won’t become too puffed out. Stay on a road or cycle path with concrete or asphalt surface rather than go across rough terrain. Not only is it easier on your muscles, but it’s also easier on your bike. And, if you get into difficulties there’s more chance of being found by a passerby.
Join a group
Cycling is much more fun if you cycle with a friend. This can be a group of friends with similar interests or might be a dedicated cycling club. Whichever one you choose, you can share the enjoyment and if you get into difficulties, you’ll always have someone with you to help.
Look after yourself
Cycling is essentially a physical experience, so you must look after your body while you’re on your bike ride. Although your knees won’t take a pounding, you still have to be aware that they are in constant motion.
Use an elasticated knee support bandage to keep the joints warm, safe and stress-free. Pace yourself while cycling. You’ll have far more benefit from the exercise if you try to maintain a constant speed and stay relaxed. Don’t overdo it, but just put in enough effort to gently cycle along.
Plan your route and don’t take unnecessary risks. Avoid steep hills and bumpy terrain and remember it’s easier to cycle on a road surface or cycle path than across country.
Take with you a bottle of fresh water, fruit and something sweet like chocolate. Cycling expends a lot of energy and you need to keep your body fuel topped-up to enjoy the experience.
Use a good bike
Depending on how long you intend to cycle, you might be in the saddle for many hours. Make sure the bike is ergonomically designed to prevent unnecessary muscle strain and the saddle is padded to prevent saddle sores.
You’ll need front and rear lights complying with the road regulations in your country. Make sure you have rearview mirrors so you can see vehicles approaching from behind and ensure you have a cycle bell or horn to warn other users of your approach. And, always make sure your bike is well maintained and you’ve oiled the chain.
Don’t forget a bicycle pump! Although this might seem obvious, it’s amazing how many cyclists set off without a pump to inflate the tires and a tire repair kit in case of punctures.
Carry a simple first aid kit. Even the most careful cyclist sometimes falls off and grazes a knee.
Wear appropriate clothing. A helmet is essential as are cycling gloves. Carry a cycling rain cape in case you become caught in a storm. Above all wear a bright color such as fluorescent yellow or orange to keep you safe from other road users.
Carry a map and a compass with you and learn how to use them. Tell someone when you leave, when you expect to be home and let them know your route. Most of all, don’t deviate from your route unless you have a very good reason.
Check the local weather forecast to ensure the conditions stay favorable. You don’t want the temperature to be too high or too low, it’s easy to become dehydrated or suffer from exposure. It’s no fun cycling in the snow and rain either, and you’d probably be better off at home in front of a nice warm fire.
Carry identification card
It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, accidents sometimes happen. It might be something as simple as damaging your bike or you may have fallen off and hurt yourself. Carry a mobile cell phone so you can summon help in an emergency and always carry ID with ‘Next of Kin’ details in case you are involved in an accident.
Need help cycling?
When you cycle you’ll be using many muscles unaccustomed to hard physical exertion. Consider using an electric bike to give you the added help you might need.
You can’t expect your body to exert itself for many miles without a rest. This comes down to serious route planning. When you cycle, you aren’t only exercising, you’re also enjoying the scenery and finding ‘out of the way’ places. Plan your route so there are plenty of rest stops. These might be a pretty riverside, picnic spots, or quaint roadside teahouses. What you’re looking for is a place to rest and recover with a cool glass of lemonade or a hot cup of coffee. If you intend to be away from home for more than a day, book a hotel before you leave home and make sure the itinerary is achievable. You don’t want to be 10 miles from your overnight stop at 9 pm, do you?
What to do if you have a balance problem?
Many people as they become older, find they have more problems keeping their balance. Unfortunately, on a two-wheeled bike, this can be a big problem. If this sounds familiar, try a bike with three wheels (tricycle) or a recumbent bike.
Yes, there are many things to consider when going out on your bike. Cycling is meant to be fun and good exercise too, but can easily turn into a nightmare if you are unprepared. However, if you want to have an enjoyable experience, always consider the worst possible case and plan for it, but don’t expect it. It’s better to cycle with a friend and have someone on the other end of your phone with a vehicle to get you home if you find the exercise is too much.