Ride On: Biking and Cycling Tips as You Age
For cyclists, what do you think is the age range with the largest amount of injuries and accidents? Give up? You may never guess it, but the biggest increase in bike-related injuries in recent years has actually been adults 45 and older.
The University of California, San Francisco recently reported that between 1998 and 2013, injuries among cyclists aged 45 and over increased by 81 percent and hospital admissions from biking accidents increased by 66 percent.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that cycling has become an incredibly popular way for the 40 to 79 crowd to stay active. It’s just important to remember that there are ways to stay safe while still enjoying the wind in your hair and push of the pedals.
With Michigan Trails Week going on through Saturday, September 26th, it’s a great time to get out and ride your bike. Just keep in mind that a little awareness and some tips to stay safe can go a long way. Here are a few important things to remember before you hit the bike path:
- All trails aren’t created equal: Rather than traveling off the beaten path (where the terrain would be more uneven and it may be difficult for people to find you, should an emergency occur) check out trails that are public and easy to get to (there are great options in Traverse City, near the Dequindre Cut or near the Marquette Marathon Course). Certain spots like Copper Harbor are beautiful Michigan locales to bike, but also have more rugged terrain.
- Travel in packs: Ride with a friend, family member or a cycling group. They’ll be able to help if an accident happens and they make for great company! Slow Roll in Detroit is a great start, as are other group-biking events all over the state. Take-a-Kid Mountain Biking Day is also coming up on October 3rd if you have little ones to ride with!
- Find a stable bike: Shopping for a new bike? Seek out an extra-stable frame that has wider tires for added protection. It will reduce your risk of falling and incurring an injury.
- Bicycle vs. tricycle: Comfortable bikes that put you in an upright position—sometimes called hybrids or cruisers—are better suited for older adults and provide an easier workout. If balancing on a two-wheeler isn’t for you anymore, a recumbent bike or tricycle may be the right alternative. They’re cooler than they sound–check out what one looks like here. Tricycles are also great if you want to exercise with less joint pain and take the bike farther distances.
Looking for more about staying physically fit as you age? Read on:
- Cardio Doesn’t Have to Hurt: The Best Low-Impact Workouts
- 5 Important Reasons Older Adults Should Exercise Daily
- The Keys to Living Beyond 90