Riding over 50: My Top Ten List

  1. I ride because I can.

Wow! Elephants!
Wow! Elephants!

While I have never been very coordinated, I was given a bike early on and I learned to ride. My body never forget that skill.

Someday I’ll be too old to ride. I’m probably more than half way there.

Right now it turns out I’m a better than average rider.

I never mastered board sports or a guitar, although I desperately wanted to be great at both. So, I ride.

  1. I ride because riding is enjoyable.

Getting on a bike brings joy. Sometimes it’s getting out. Sometimes it’s riding fast. Sometimes it’s working hard, getting sun, breathing fresh air, accomplishing a goal, being with the guys, or being alone. Sometimes it’s simply riding – and that’s better than doing nothing (or doing work). Because Punching People Is Frowned Upon

  1. I ride because riding is something I can do until I can’t.

Not the same as reason #1. Someday each of us is going to have to stop doing what we find enjoyable. I’m mainly thinking that physically getting old will eventually force me off the bike. But, responsibilities to family, friends, and work, or illness, or the seasons, or a broken bike can happen first.

Someday that thing will happen, ‘till then I ride.

  1. I ride because riding changes my body.

Interval training, aerobic zone training, stretching, and just moving all are associated with better health. Regular hard riding burns a lot of calories, builds strength all over, not just the legs, increases muscle tone, builds stamina, is heart-healthy, helps improve coordination, reduces stress, and feels good.

The day is better after a ride.

  1. I ride because riding changes my mind.

Exercise changes the mind. Humans think better when they have been exercising – regularly. Biking is a good way to exercise. Ergo, biking makes us smarter.

But, that’s not what I’m talking about. Riding, especially, fast, hard riding, either alone or in a peloton takes my entire mind. Perhaps this is what is meant by mindfulness. I don’t have extra brain cells to sing, talk to myself, or daydream. The road, cars, my legs, feet, gears, hands, breathing, heart rate, cadence, sunburn, pot holes, the saddle, and what’s happening around me are seamlessly integrated into the moment. Just a few minutes of riding like this changes the entire day.

It is good for the soul.

  1. I ride because riding is simple.

Almost any kid can ride a bike. It isn’t much more difficult for me.

  1. I ride because riding is complex.

For me, as an older rider I’m interested in getting better and more fit rather than just getting older. I used to be sick and physically not able to participate, but now I am riding with the guys—this makes me excited. I push myself physically, read up on and try out riding techniques. I ride with riders that are better than me. I watch and listen to the mechanics working on the bike. I freely admit to being a fan of Strava (a social networking ride tracking website) and love to see each of the improvements that come after working to become a better rider.

I dream of a better bike, but I know the one I have is still beyond my ability – but I research and gather opinions when I can. I have upgraded my bike computer so that I have up-to-the-second performance data to encourage me to be my best and not slack off. I have become a student of the road and can describe several different surface finishings for asphalt and concrete.

Every facet of riding brings with it a complete universe.

  1. I ride because riding is cardio exercise.

The American Heart Association says the maximum heart rate for a guy my age should be around 164 beats per minute. The highest I’ve ever recorded on the bike is 165 BPM. That measurement was taken somewhere in the middle of a ride and I pushed on for miles after and didn’t die, so, I assume there are a few more beats per minute left in me. But 165 is the best I’ve measured.

  1. I ride because riding is strength exercise.

Look at a really good rider.  They are lean, strong, and tough as nails.

That’s my goal.

  1. I ride because I get to wear bike shorts and shoes I can’t walk in.

Bike Shorts & Shoes.
Bike Shorts & Shoes.

Who can’t resist an old guy in bike shorts and shoes he can’t walk in?

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