Is Age Just a Number or Should You Start Slowing Down in Your 70s and 80s?

Video Transcription:

Jim Dodson: Hey it's Jim Dodson The Florida Bike Guy. Welcome to our live stream. For those of you who might not know me I'm a bike injury lawyer, my practice is located in Clearwater but I represent cyclists throughout Florida.

So do you really have to slow down in your 70s and 80s? Particularly in talking about riding our bicycles. You know I was drawn to this topic today, and I want to introduce you to, really to, I think seven people, who I think have kind of set an incredible example for us. Who want to remain active and want to not let the calendar dictate exactly what we should or should expect to do in terms of enjoying this wonderful sport of cycling. I've come to believe, quite frankly, that our lives are what we expect them to be. And I meet people constantly who expect to be old and they are, and I meet people constantly particularly in the cycling world who expect to be and act young, and they are.


So the first person that I was sort of drawn to, there was an article about, this had been circulating on Facebook I think. This record breaking grandma and great-grandma. And she's in her 80s and still competing. It's and interesting story, the lady's name is Patricia Baker. Patricia is competing, as I said, in her 80s in bike racing, really internationally, and has set all kinds of records for her age group. I think she's, at the time this was written, I think she's 80 or 81. She comes at it from a history, of having been involved in cycling and cycling racing going back to when she was in her 30s and 40s. Interestingly enough she had an injury and she kind of was pushed off the bike because of back pain for over 20 years. Didn't get back on the bike until she was in her mid to late 60s. Just a little observation about that this is a woman who was a high performing athlete but she had back pain which the doctors never could diagnose anything specific that was causing it from what we read in this article. And yet it was enough to keep from riding her bicycle competitively for over 20 years.

Later she got a different bike at a different geometry and had some treatment which gave her some relief and really was able to resume her career and you know the article talks about what a great run she's had and continues to have in terms of competing at a very high level and setting records. She has the record for her age for distance in a mile which is over 17 miles. Excuse me, distance in an hour, she did over 17 miles in an hour. I think she has broke her own record that she'd set previously. So this is an interesting person, you know, but I think that another thing that I found kind of fascinating about her is the level of training that she does. She and her husband drive about 45 minutes three days a week for her to be on a track under the supervision of a trainer doing very specific bike related activities. Including weight lifting, and training, and riding three days a week. She's got a very specific regiment that most people who are in their 80s wouldn't consider to be something that they would think about doing.

And I think it was just really inspiring to me I also sort of looked online and I found an article called "10 Old People Who Will Inspire You To Never Stop Biking" written by Evan McKenzie for Carefree Living. And Evan did a nice job of introducing or featuring some wonderful people with a mixed variety of backgrounds who are really enjoying high-level of activity into their 100s. The first guy is Robert Marchand who is a French gentleman. At 103 he set his own distance record for distance traveled in an hour. He didn't start riding until he was 60. Which is a pretty common theme. A lot of these people that Evan talks about in his article were not competitive, they had their life, they worked, they retired, and they started riding after they retired in their 60s.

He also talks about a Benjamin Piovesan who was 80. What I really loved about the feature that he did on Benjamin, he rides because it brings him joy. It's like, isn't that fantastic? He loves it, and he just continues to ride. He started late in life, he still rides between eight and nine kilometers, I mean thousand kilometers per year. Although he's not competitive but he's, like I say, 80-years-old.

He also featured Tony Stramipz, a Canadian. Now what I liked about Tony's story is that he lives in Vancouver, he's 90-years-old. He has been riding for about 10 years. He still rides between 14 and 15,000 kilometers per year, which is pretty amazing. But he does it all in Stanley Park in Vancouver. He rides this park six to seven times each day and he does it because he just wants to keep busy. I think it's fantastic. You know the other thing about that is he's not on the road. I don't know Stanley Park, I've been to Vancouver, but I don't remember Stanley Park specifically. But you know it's one of those things, that at his age he's not exposed at least to traffic on the road, which is a great thing for him.

There was a phenomenal, and each one of these articles, these people that are featured in this article. There's an accompanying video on many of them. That shows the person doing some amazing things and this one guy, they didn't have his name. But he's featured as the Art of Zen. He's a guy that allegedly is 76-years-old. The video shows him sitting on his seat on the bike with his feet on the handlebars ahead of him and his arms raised up in the air, he's shirtless. The article describes him as being 76 but having the body of a 16-year-old. And it really just describes this person who's riding with sheer joy to be on the bike. Just like our friend Benjamin. And obviously, from the back, he doesn't have the body of a 76-year-old. He's pretty chiseled.

There was also a George Christensen, who is 70. George is a guy who has this encyclic knowledge of past Tour de France races and winners. But what he did, he is now 70, he tours the world. He has just taken it upon himself to ride his bike virtually everywhere in the world. They talk about him riding on what is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world in Bolivia. He's done Cambodia, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Columbia, you know, all across the United States. And it's like, it's just so inspiring, you know again, to me perfectly inspiring about just deciding what you expect your life will be and making that happen.

He talked about a Darby Roach. Who began touring the world when he was 62-years-old. Darby is an author, he's writing blogs, and writing books about his adventures on the road. So you know, I like this because in my non-cycling practice, I tend to run into people, and people just in general around me at church and what have you, people get to a certain age, particularly when they get close to 60, and they start complaining about this and that and feeling old. And I just feel sorry for people that have that mentality because if you expect to do something extraordinary the odds are you will. And I think that we in the cycling world expect to do more than the average person expects to do with their life.

In looking at these articles they also talk about some of the benefits of cycling and I know Doctor Mirkin talks about this all the time in his ezine and he's an inspiring guy riding at 84, 85-years-old at a very high level. We had Ruth Husky down in the Sarasota Manatee who rode into her early 90s. But some of the benefits, like they site that a person who rides a bike four miles a day has a 50% reduction in coronary artery disease. Cyclists in their 70s typically look much younger, physically than anyone who is one of their contemporaries. And there was an interesting report I found, and I've seen this before by the BBC. That cyclists in their 80s have the immune system of someone in their 20s. Like how important is that for enjoying a full and active life as the years click off? So I was inspired by this, I hope you find it inspiring. Life gives us an opportunity to do something special everyday. And I hope that we all take advantage of that.

You know in our cycling practice we represent cyclists across Florida who have been injured because of the negligence of a driver. My promise to cyclists is if you know if you have an injury, and you need me, we'll be there, it doesn't matter where you are. But I think a lot of people fail to remember that you probably have a more likely opportunity to be involved in a car accident, be injured, than a bike crash fortunately. And we represent cyclists and drivers in auto cases as well. So if you or a family member has been involved in an auto crash and need a lawyer. Same rules apply, if you need me, we'll be there for you regardless of where you are in Florida.

So I want to make an offer today. I think Kati's got it on the screen. "8 Steps to Take After a Bike Crash" It's got a bit.ly link there 8StepsReport, I hope you found our talk here a little inspiring. Not to let the years drag you down and let's keep at it and keep our expectation level exactly where you want it to be in your life. All right, I'm Jim Dodson The Florida Bike Guy. Be safe out there, take care, bye.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.