Biking is our topic today!!
As a kid I was on a bike all the time, I remember learning how to ride. I think I was 5 years old, I learned with my best friend. His name was Warren, his parents had a large circular drive and in the middle was a long large wood beam. We was to small to get on the bike, but by standing on the beam we could start and ride around the drive. One of those memories you don’t forget! And like the saying goes,”its like learning to ride a bike, once you learn you don’t forget”.
So here we are, 65 years later, I’m still steady riding the bike, although getting on and off is not as solid. So I’m more careful doing both. For me riding a bike may be the best exercise for me. Not only is it a cardio workout, your balance is sharpened, legs, and to some degree all the muscle groups worked
Now if you don’t have the stamina to go very far, you might try what I’m doing. I now do all my riding on an Ebike. Yes that’s an electric assisted or pedal assisted bike. Instead of being dead tired after 10 miles, I can easily go 30 or more miles. My allotted time runs out before I do. Although the workout is less strenuous, it is much more enjoyable, meaning I will do it more often. More and more seniors biking today, and the sport is growing, with cities and states adding more bike paths in ourcommunities. I really like the bike paths where
I don’t have to worry about cars and disstracted drivers.
Back to ebikes, ebikes today can cost from $500 to $10,000 depending on your buget and ability. The cheaper ebikes are fine for paved paths and roads. More expensive bikes do more things better, and this brings me to; off-road riding. The more expensive bikes are mountain bikes, with full suppension and disc brakes and up to 30 speeds and able to travel 50 to 60 miles on a single battery charge. Of course that’s under ideal conditions. The newest bikes being built are now only 10 or 11 speeds, and this seems to be plenty, especially on an ebike with its added power. And how much is the added power? I have 2 ebikes, my older one is 750 watts. That’s about one horsepower, it will climb anything. My newest ebike is 250 watts, which is about 1/3 hp which seems to match the bike better for its mission off road. Power assist in and out is smoother. The older technology had brake sensors, if you applied front or rear brakes the motor shut off. The newer ebike does not have the sensors, this allows you to apply braking while under pedal assist power. When going very slow as in tight turns, the bike is more stable if under power.
Another important feature of the high-end Ebike is dropper seats. With drop seats, when you come to a difficult area you push a button and the seat will drop, allowing you to touch the ground with both feet. Also, when going down a steep hill, dropping the seat will move your weight back giving you more control. When mountain biking, there will be times when you will encounter a very steep trail section, keeping your weight over the rear wheel as much as possible is very very important. Our center of gravity rides high between the two wheels and as the bike goes down a steep hill, the front wheel is lower than the rear, shifting the center of gravity forward. If the center of gravity moves in front of the front axle, you are about to have a very unpleasant accident, going over the handlebars with the bike landing on top of you. This lesson about the center of gravity is learned quickly. You can not ride a bike the same way you ride a motorcycle, the center of gravity on a motorcycle is so much lower, making it difficult to do the “over the handlebar” trick.
As we get older, hopefully we get smarter. For me, I ride the easy trails now. When I see a very steep trail, the lesson of gravity center comes back to me. This means I may walk the section of the trail, which is OK!
I’m getting off track from my original intension. This is written with seniors in mind so let me back up a bit. The ebike is the wave of the future, I feel certain it will just get more popular. One of the problems older people had is just getting on the bike. Some of us, myself encluded, learned to start and stop by swinging the right leg over the seat as we gave the bike a good shove off with the left foot on the pedal, pushing with the right and then swinging it over. And getting off in the reverse order. My wife and many others never did learn this. She will tip the bike over a bit and straddle it, and on her tip toes procede to start from there. And getting off a little more difficult in trying to unstraddle the stopped bike. I was unable to find a step-thru mountain ebike with full suspension, so she manages just fine with the standard frame. As you may have noticed I said “full suspension”, the wife found out quickly how much smoother and easier on your bottom a full suspension bike is. Its one of those spoiler features that you just don’t want to be without.
The step-thru style bike is without question the style of choice for seniors. No swinging of the leg over the bike. Most of our legs don’t swing anymore. Although very few of this style come in full suspension, most of these riders will be on paved paths and roads where you don’t need the suspension. Ebikes can be purchased online or at bike stores. It is much better to go to a bike store where they can match you to the correct bike, and let you try out different models.
Biking can be one of the best forms of exercise for seniors that like to get outdoors.