How to Ride a Bike at 50 Years Old
For those who are physically fit, riding a bike at age 50 isn’t much different than it was at 15. Most 50-year-olds aren’t as fit as they once were, however. They may have heart, knee, hip or back problems to consider. If you’re in that group, don’t let physical challenges stop you from enjoying the sport of cycling. Just consider your physical needs, talk to your doctor, get the right equipment, and then and you’ll be ready for a great ride and a sport that provides a low-impact aerobic workout.
Buy a Bike
Check into buying a comfort cruiser, which is designed for a comfortable ride.
Purchase a bike that has wide tires for shock absorption on park paths, high rise handlebars that allow you to sit upright, and just a few gears to make pedaling easier.
Test the bike before you buy it. Take it outside to the store parking lot and ride it around. Be certain you are comfortable before you bring the bike home and find out you don't like it.
Upgrade the Saddle
Buy a saddle designed for extra comfort. Look for seats with gel pads, high-tech fabric seat covers to wick away moisture and body-conscious design.
Look at seats that relieve pressure on the perineum as well as the prostate. These designs have deep channels down the middle and unique designs such as noseless saddles.
Test the saddle before you buy it. Attach the saddle on your new bike or try it on a store model. Ride it for a few minutes in the store parking lot. You should be comfortable immediately.
Buy Bike Gear
Choose the right clothing. Invest in cycling clothes. Look for a bike jersey made in quick-drying high-tech fabric with underarm vents to release heat.
Buy cycling shorts made of stretchy high-tech anti-moisture fabric. Look for shorts with a padded liner made of gel foam that will fight bacteria growth, provide extra padding and keep your groin area from suffering the chafing after an hour’s ride.
Look at shorts cut for both men and women. Base the fit on your body shape. Try on men's shorts that have wider waists and shorter rises as well as women's shorts that have smaller waists and longer rises.
Check the way you fit on your bike before you go for a ride. Ask a friend to hold the handlebars while you sit on the bike.
Make sure the the saddle allows your knee to bend slightly when your leg is at the bottom of a pedal stroke.
Adjust your saddle so that it's parallel to the ground. If you have arthritis or knee problems, tilt it forward slightly to relieve pressure on the perineum and hips.
James Roland started writing professionally in 1987. A former reporter and editor with the "Sarasota Herald-Tribune," he currently oversees such publications as the "Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor" and UCLA's "Healthy Years." Roland earned his Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Oregon.