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Cycling at 60(12 posts)

Cycling at 60Reddpoint81
Apr 16, 2002 2:09 PM
For the past year I have been trying to get my father to start excersising more often. I have often suggested that he start riding but he claims that his since he injuried his knees running he cannot ride a bike. I was curious to see if any older cyclists have any recommendations for starting up. Thanks.
re: Cycling at 60DINOSAUR
Apr 16, 2002 2:28 PM
I'll be 60 is August. I started cycling again after laying off for many years when I was 56. First off, start him off with a good bike that he is properly fitted for. Don't go the cheap department store bike, he won't enjoy it. He might consider a good used bike to start with, then after a while if he wants to stick with it he will have an idea what he likes and he can go new. Cycling can start off as a ride around the block type thing and lead to going centuries every weekend. It depends on what type of shape he is in now, but it usually takes a couple of years to reach cycling fitness, although he will reap benefits from from the start. There are lots of old guys out there cycling, my cycling club is full of them. I never would have dreamed I'd be doing what I'm doing now at my age. I absolutely love it, great way to spend retirement. And you do slow down a bit when you are older, but it's a real fun way to exercise. Tell him to give it a try, I've never regretted it. I gave myself a goal when I first started that I would buy a new bike if I was still cycling when I reached 60, and I'm waiting for my LBS to call and tell me my frame just came in as I type...
re: Cycling at 60Me Dot Org
Apr 16, 2002 2:28 PM
I'm in my 50s, with 7 pins holding my left knee together. I cycle about 150 miles a week.

Without knowing how your father injured his knees it's impossible to know he has an excuse or just a rationalization, but cycling is a low-impact aerobic workout. It could actually help strengthen his knees. If he has concerns, he should see his doctor. If he ever decides to get clipless pedals, my recommendation would be Speedplay Frogs. I found their float and ease of entry/exit the best for my knees.

If he wants to do it, he'll do it. Recommended book: Cycling Past 50, by Joe Friel. Tell him there are a lot of older cyclists out there!
re: Cycling at 60StmbtDave
Apr 16, 2002 2:30 PM
I'm not quite as old as your Dad but I was a marathon runner until my late 40's. It stopped being fun when I had to take pills every time I ran to relieve the knee ache. That's when I started riding again. I started on a mtn bike then after a few years moved to the road. At 55 I find riding much easier on the body although I must admit the riding doesn't give the same workout as the running used to. Last summer I spent two weeks touring the Alps through Switzerland, Italy, and Austria. It was a trip of a livetime that could only be done on a bike. I'll never go back to running.
You mean I have to quit in two years?cory
Apr 16, 2002 2:39 PM
I'm coming up on 58, and I had my best year in a couple of decades last summer (mostly because I got tired of being slow and really TRAINED a little, but still...).
Knee injuries can limit your activities--that's why I gave up running and went back to cycling when I was in my late 40s. But as the other poster said, cycling is a low-impact sport. It's much easier on my knees than running or even walking--I can ride 50 miles, about three hours for me, with no knee pain and no aftereffects, while I can hardly run at all anymore and have to be a little careful hiking downhill. Could be different for your dad, but it's at least an indicator.
Besides getting him a decent (not necessarily expensive, but rideable) bike that FITS!!!, I'd suggest a couple of other things. One is that you do whatever it takes to get the handlebars about level with the saddle, not below it. The small loss (if any) in aero efficiency is more than offset by the increased comfort. And I'd try to find a frame that will run at least 700x32 tires, maybe 35s. That probably means a tourer or hybrid, but it's another change that's well worth making. If he gets serious, he can always put on the 700x20s and go for it. Meanwhile, he'll enjoy the stability and smoother ride while he's shaking out the kinks. And for God's sake, make him wear a helmet.
BTW, my dad bought a new bike at age 78 and rode it until he was 81, when an inner ear problem affected his balance and he no longer felt safe. That was a few months ago, and he's thinking of getting an adult tricycle this year. Haven't been able to convince him to buy me a tandem...
re: Cycling at 60Chen2
Apr 16, 2002 2:44 PM
I'll be 60 in February, got back into cycling at age 53 because my company needed a 50+ rider to race in a time trial at the local Corporate Challenge. Now I do at least 2 time trials each year and I'm looking for more. Did 3 centuries last year. I've had 5 knee surgeries. Tell your dad that cycling is something that you can do together and there are plenty of folks older than 60 riding in organized rides. "You've always wanted to do something together" that'll put him on a guilt trip, works every time.
re: Cycling at 60RideLots
Apr 16, 2002 3:02 PM
I rode with a guy well into his 70's who has completed team RAAM several times and didn't get started until his late 50's. His picture is here riding up a 5,000 foot climb in Death Valley last year.

One thing I remember him telling me is that he went into a bike shop and wanted to buy a bike when he was getting in to it. The shop salesman steered him to some "old man beach cruiser", and he walked out. He wanted a serious racing-type bike to do some serious riding. I guess his point was that if you plan to be serious about it, don't get some piece of crap that will make you hate riding. You don't need to go over board, but at least get something decent.

Explain "float", this might help. (nm)Sharky
Apr 17, 2002 2:50 AM
Explain "float", this might help. (nm)Me Dot Org
Apr 17, 2002 8:27 AM
With apologies to the original poster (mduell) float is roughly analgous to 'yaw' in an airplane. Speedplay pedals allow you to pivot to comfortable angles. See
re: Cycling at 60netso
Apr 17, 2002 4:04 AM
I will be 60 yo 6/16/02. I have Parkinsons Disease. I still ride, in fact I ride 150 to 200 miles per week. I also have a bad knee. I use Speedplay pedals which solved this problem. I will ride until I cannot do so, which I hope will be about 120yo.
re: Cycling at 60JimP
Apr 17, 2002 8:16 AM
Ok, I have to admit that I will be 60 in a few months. I had knee problems caused mostly by running and had surgery on both of them 9 years ago. One of the exercises during the physical therapy was riding a stationary bike. I asked the therapist about road riding since I had been riding for a long time. He replied that riding was good exercise for the knees if you didn't hammer big gears all the time. I have had some knee pain since the surgery and traced some of it to the pedals so I changed to Speedplay pedals and have had less pain. I still can't get out of the saddle and climb like I used to but I can still ride. I belong to a local club that has all ages and levels of riders. Last Saturday we had a fellow recovering from surgery that has worked up to riding 20 miles with us. We rode at his pace to the cutoff point for his distance. Most clubs are very encouraging for beginning riders. Tell him to get on this discussion if he has any questions or needs any encouragement.
Couple more thoughts on 60-year-old kneescory
Apr 17, 2002 8:23 AM
A neighbor of mine is a cycling orthopedic surgeon, and I ran your question by him last night. He suggested gearing the bike low to avoid mashing big gears, and being careful about seat height. If it's too low, you get more knee flex and have to push from a more bent position.
Partly on his advice last year, I built my Atlantis with a 46-36-26 triple and 11-28 cassette. That gives me a nice granny to spin up the mountain passes, but still a 113-inch high gear, which is plenty for most people