Spring has sprung and it’s time to dust off the old bicycle just in time for National Bike Month and hit the roads or trails again. Cycling is a excellent way to get some exercise without causing added stress to aging joints but the simple bicycle has come a long way in recent years and it may be time for an upgrade to something that fits your individual needs.
Bicycle choices for older adult:
- While a retro cruiser style bike may conjure up images of California beach living, keep in mind they may be fine for a leisurely ride but are often heavy and may only have a single speed – not the ideal choice for hills.
- Mountain bikes are designed for off road riding which requires a fairly high fitness level to climb hills, navigate obstacles and endure rough terrain.
- Road bikes on the other hand are better suited to smooth roads with and are appropriate for active riders who are accustomed to a thin saddle and long distances.
- Chances are, boomers and older adults are looking for something a little more comfy, with a padded seat and a more upright position; a hybrid bicycle may fit the bill.
- Seniors who have mobility issues getting on and off a traditional bike may want to consider a step through bicycle which makes it easier to mount and dismount.
- And for those with back issues, a Day 6 semi-recumbent bicycle offers back support, step through mounting and a variety of seats for comfort.
- Recumbent bikes, including three wheeled models, provide stability and comfort for older riders who plan to go the distance.
- And for couples who want to pedal together, a tandem bicycle can allow two riders of different fitness levels to stay in sync however, it may take some practice to get the hang of cycling in unison.
- For disabled riders or seniors with balance problems, an adult tricycle can provide stability and are easy to mount and to ride. Many models come with a back basket for shopping or a picnic lunch.
- Folding bikes come in handy for travelers or those with limited storage.
- Electric bicycles can give riders pedal assist for those long uphill climbs.
Before purchasing any bicycle, be sure to try it out in person and have yourself fitted for the correct size. A proper fit can help riders avoid pain and injury and ensure your bicycle adventures are enjoyable. And don’t forget a helmet! For more information about National Bike Month and Bike To Work Week (May 16-20) visit The League of American Bicyclists at http://www.bikeleague.org/bikemonth .