The days of bicycling being just an activity for children are long gone! Cycling for seniors is great exercise, and more and more older adults are putting pedal to the pavement and going for a ride. In fact, cycling among those 60 years and better is growing the fastest of all age groups, according to the US Department of Transportation.
“A bicycle is no longer a kid’s toy. It’s enjoyed by adults, and it’s great,” said Benjamin Breyer, an associate professor of urology at University of California, San Francisco, and an author of a study about bike injury trends. “It’s such a fantastic sport. It’s great exercise, it’s low-impact, and it’s been shown to have all these cardiovascular benefits and to improve your own general well-being,” he said.
But before you hit the nearest trail or bike path, let’s explore three quick cycling tips to make sure you’re good to go.
1. Wear Your Bike Safety Equipment
You may come from a time where it was unheard of to wear helmets, kneepads and elbow pads while biking. However, nowadays, those are essential to stay safe. Unfortunately, along with the increase in bike ridership among older adults comes an increase in accidents and injuries. Seniors can sometimes be more vulnerable to injury while cycling due to the natural effects of aging like decreased agility, vision changes and lowered stamina.
So, make sure your helmet fits well and is secure. Replace it immediately if you notice any cracks or worn out straps. In addition to knee and elbow pads, wear proper footwear that completely covers your toes and feet. Don’t forget brightly colored reflective clothing so drivers and other cyclists can see you on the road.
2. Choose the Best Bike for Seniors
The best bikes for older adults are all about comfort. Choosing a bike that is right for you will have a big impact on how much you enjoy your rides. There are various types of bikes available for your choosing. You may want to visit a bike shop and have a professional help you select the best one for your needs.
Here are a few Bicycle Options to Consider:
- Road bikes are good for riding on the pavement. They typically have lighter handlebars and thinner tires than other bikes.
- Mountain bikes are made for a harsher riding surface like rough terrain. They are heavier than road bikes and have shock absorbing features.
- Hybrid bikes are a combination of the road and mountain bike. They are versatile and designed to keep the rider upright.
- Recumbent bikes are growing in popularity with older adults. Most recumbents have three wheels and are very supportive of your lower body.
- Adult tricycles are also popular with seniors and those with limitations or balance issues. They provide stability while riding and there are a variety of styles to choose from.
Obey the Rules of the Road
In several states, bicycles are considered “vehicles” and must abide by the same traffic laws as cars. Although laws can vary depending on your location, here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Ride in the same direction as traffic, never against it.
- Use proper hand signals to indicate which direction you intend to go.
- Obey all traffic lights and signals to avoid accidents.
- Stay on the right if your speed is slower than the flow of traffic.
- Use headlights and taillights during both day and night and especially when visibility is diminished.
Active Senior Living in Kalispell, MT
Nestled in the mountains and valleys of northwest Montana, Kalispell is home to numerous picturesque bike trails and paths. You can enjoy the scenic bike routes as a member of our vibrant senior living community here at Immanuel Lutheran Communities, where we offer a variety of services and amenities to make sure you thrive and enjoy your carefree retirement years. Contact us today to schedule a tour of our senior living community.