Cool mornings and sunny afternoons make Spring and early Summer the ideal time to get outdoors and enjoy nature. And what better way to take in some local scenery than by bicycle? It’s easy on joints and a fun way to get some exercise, improve balance and get the heart pumping. Cycling also helps to keep excess weight off; the average person weighing 150lbs burns about 200 calories in 30 minutes.
But before hitting the roads or trails, older riders should take the time to make sure their bicycles are well maintained and fit properly. With more traffic on the roads it’s also a good idea to wear an approved bicycle helmet and bright, visible clothing. A headlight and reflectors along with a bell to announce your presence can also keep riders safer.
Bicyclists are bound by the same rules of the road as motor vehicles. Using hand signals lets drivers know your intentions and because bicycles can be nearly silent and are less visible, riders should always be prepared to act defensively, anticipating car doors opening, children or pets running out on the road or uneven pavement and potholes. A bicycle trail can be a safer alternative than city streets for riders of any age.
Riding with a organized group, family or friends is wise for seniors in case of a breakdown or medical emergency; at the very least, always carry identification and a cell phone A repair kit, and knowing how to use it, is also a good idea for cyclists. Stick to well-lit trails or paths that are familiar to avoid getting lost and research bike paths while on vacation to select the safest routes. A bicycle with multiple gears will make riding hills easier, wide tires offer mores stability and straight handlebars can take some of the strain off the back. For those with more serious back issues, a recumbent bicycle can be a good choice.
To learn more about bicycle tours for seniors aged 50 and up in Canada and the United States, visit the Senior Cycling website here.