Cycling For Seniors - Cycling In Retirement for Fitness, Fun and Friends

by KathleenDuffy

Ever since Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy brought glory to British cycling, here in the UK cycling has become a fast-growing sport. And seniors are taking to the saddle too!

Cycling is a great sport for those people entering reitrement. Although the number of people taking up cycling in retirement is growing, we in the United Kingdom are far behind the rest of Europe in this regard. This is a shame.

According to a report on 'Sell Pensions' website:

“In the Netherlands cycling accounts for 23 per cent of journeys made by people over the age of 65, while in Denmark it’s 15 per cent and 9 per cent in Germany, compared to just 1 per cent here in the UK.”

Why is this so? Well, it seems that many older people in the UK are afraid of travelling on our often hostile and busy roads, as well as fearing injuries. Some older people also believe they just don't have the energy.

By slowly building up your time in the saddle you can soon build up your strength. A short daily ride around a quiet block can help, or if you are in a city where you can hire public bikes choose one near your local park and take a pleasant ride for a few minutes. Many local councils also offer bike training or refresher courses, so check out yours.

And whilst it is true that the roads can be hostile to cyclists, there are many beautiful, peaceful riding opportunities in the British countryside and these can be opened up to you if you join a cycling club!

But Aren't I Too Old To Join a Cycling Club?

Absolutely not!
Senior Woman on Bike
Senior Woman on Bike

There are cycling clubs springing up all over the United Kingdom that are open to people of retirement age. Have a look on the internet search engines or it might be a good idea to check out your local council’s website because they often have a list of activities  for retired people - and cycling could be one of them.

Here's a few examples of cycling clubs that cater for the older cyclist:

Take,  for example,  the Darlington Cycling Club in the North-East, which has many members in their 60s and 70s.  Some of these members have even cycled back from serious heart conditions, with the support of the group. They call themselves 'The Old Gits'!   You can read about their experiences at the British Heart Foundation's web page.

A little discalimer: Of course, you don't need me to tell you that it goes without saying, that you must check with your doctor about any form of exercise if you are recovering from a heart condition.

Another club based in the South-East is the Forty Plus Cycling Club.  They cover Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, East Northamptonshire, Surrey and Sussex.   They recognise that because most of their members will be retired, they can cycle mid-week rather than the weekends.  So they meet up about three or four times a week, and sometimes on Sundays.  Their rides cover some beautiful countryside including the  South Downs, the Western Weald, and the Coastal Plain.   

This is a great Canadian video about a Senior Cycling Club

IT CAPTURES THE SPIRIT OF SENIOR CYCLISTS EVERYWHERE!

Life Cycle UK has a web-page devoted to Silver Cyclists, i.e. cyclists over 55! They are based in Bristol and you can see Lizzie talking about it on the following video. There's phone numbers and email address on there too, as well as some of the riders having a great time!

Good news if you are new to cycling and live, work or study in the Bristol area!  Bristol City Council will give you 3 free hour long cycle lessons!   If you don't live in the Bristol area, check out your own Council - they might have a similar deal. 

These days cycling is becoming open to all -  now disabilities, level of experience and age are no longer barriers to enjoying this great sport. Check out this website which is a project called 'Bikeworks' in the East End of London.   They encourage everyone in their community to have a go at cycling!  Maybe there's something like this near you?

Cycling for Dummies
Cycling for Dummies
On My Own Two Wheels
On My Own Two Wheels

What's In It For Me?

The benefits of cycling are many!
German Husband and Wife Team Perform a Dramatic Tightrope Cycling Act
German Husband and Wife Team Perform a Dramatic Tightrope Cycling Act

You won't be asked to do the above until you have had a couple of year's experience.... :)

There are plenty of good reasons to get involved in cycling when you face retirement

  • It's good for your heart
  • If you are new to cycling, you'll learn a new skill
  • It’s cheap - once you have bought your bike and some gear (bikes can be as little as £100) the world is your oyster!
  • You won’t feel lonely or isolated because you’ll be with a welcoming group of people who are doing something positive
  • As a bonus, you get a great exercise workout - and exercise beats depression
  • Lots of clubs raise money for charity through their cycling challenges
  • You will lose weight and soon look fabulous in sexy lycra shorts and shirt! (Lycra not obligatory though!)
  • You'll get out into the countryside and see some beautiful areas of Britain (or Europe/World!)

These are just some of the great advantages to taking up cycling in retirement.   So, what are you waiting for?

Where Can I Find Out More?

Follow These Useful Websites!

 

If you want to find out about joining a cycling club, following the links below:

 A newbie to cycling?  Click here for lots of information.

Find a cycling club that’s right for you by clicking here.

The Cyclist’s Touring Club (CTC) – This is a National Charity, an amazing resource giving information on all aspects of cycling. 

British Cycling – Gives information on laws, safety etc. 

Sustrans – Here you can explore cycle-friendly maps of Great Britain.

 

Source: 

 I was inspired to research this article by:  'Heart Matters' Magazine of British Heart Foundation, September/October 2013

I've Grown Accustomed to his Butt!

Two Senior Citizens complete three charity tandem rides around South Africa.
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
Updated: 07/29/2014, KathleenDuffy
 
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KathleenDuffy on 04/26/2014

Thanks ologsinquito - I only have a stationary bike at the moment! :)

ologsinquito on 04/26/2014

It sounds like a great way to stay in shape.

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