At any age bicycle riding can be a fun activity. For seniors, this low-impact, aerobic form of exercise is easy on joints that, over the years, may have seen some wear and tear. It’s also a great way to maintain equilibrium and balance. Bike riding studies confirm that regular riding helps with weight loss, improves heart, lung, and brain health, and tones muscles. Getting out into the fresh air and sunshine is a recipe for boosting anyone’s mood, as is the old-fashioned practice of waving at one’s neighbors or joining a bicycle club.
With the rise in construction and use of urban bike paths and lanes, biking also offers a viable alternative to commuting by car or bus or train. Depending on where a person lives, he or she may be able to use a bike to run errands or get to work, earning the fourfold benefit of healthy exercise, potential savings in time, less expenditure on gas and car maintenance, and zero carbon footprint.
Bicycles for Beginners and Others
Aside from the high-end racing varieties, today’s marketplace offers a wide range of both two and three-wheel bicycles built with beginners and seniors in mind. Better designed with more comfort-based features than the fairly basic models of the mid-twentieth century, electric and even standard bikes greatly expand the potential for riding enjoyment.
Some popular types of bikes for beginners and seniors include cruiser bikes, step-through bikes, adult trikes, recumbents, and electric or e-bikes. They generally range in price from $500 to $4000. Cruisers typically have hand brakes, three or more gears, and come in different wheel and frame sizes. Step-through models make it easy to get on and off—a boon to Baby Boomers who may have hip or knee issues. Adult trikes may not be the fastest with their third wheel, but they’re great for running errands over short distances, and they accommodate people with balance issues. Recumbents feature a third wheel, a sleek design, and a lower riding position with comfy seats and good back and hip support.
Lastly, electric or e-bikes are possibly the fastest-growing category because they require less effort to operate, resulting in the desire to ride further and more frequently. Built with an electric motor and battery, they feature a pedal assist or throttle operation or both, enabling the rider to climb hills easier or go at a faster pace. The most prevalent styles of bikes with electric configurations are the cruiser and the recumbent.
Bicycle riding has evolved and transformed over the last few generations to include critical safety accessories that especially benefit children, beginners, and seniors. Chief among these is the bicycle helmet. As an experienced Florida bicycle lawyer, Jim Dodson has seen how serious the impact of not wearing a helmet can be. Even though bike riding is done at generally low speeds, accidents can have serious consequences, particularly when the head is involved. Whether you’re a senior, a beginner, or an advanced rider, it’s important always to wear a helmet because concussion is a frequent result of falls or crashes, not to mention the possibility of a permanently debilitating traumatic brain injury.
Mirrors are another important component of bike safety. They may be mounted to the bike’s handlebars or attached to helmets. This goes for reflectors as well. And invest in high-quality, highest lumens lights for the front and rear. They are required at night and highly recommended during the day to make sure that drivers see you within a safe time frame.
Since it’s not a good idea to hold phones or drinks or food or anything else while cycling, it’s practical to have a mount for water and/or a basket for carrying small items. Pannier bags are handy when riding longer distances or cruising around doing errands. There’s no need to break the bank on fancy shoes or clothing items for cycling purposes, but wearing brightly colored shirts or blouses and closed-toed footwear increases any rider’s safety factor.
Some Helpful Tips
Since there are so many buying options for beginner and senior riders, choose one that best fits your unique biking needs and is comfortable for your age and body type. “Test drive” a number of models—whether conventional or electric—before purchasing one that’s right for you. Consult with a local bike shop on how to wisely invest in equipment that will enhance your riding experience and deliver all the enjoyable benefits of cycling in safety.