You’re Never Too Old to Start Biking Again

Remember when you were twelve and you would just get on your bike and fly? It was so liberating, propelling yourself ever forward with the wind sweeping through your hair. Do you ever miss that feeling?

Unless you are a diehard biker, you probably have a bike from the 80s stashed in a dusty corner of your garage, not used since that vacation a few summers ago. The tires might be flat, the chain starting to stiffen, the paint slowly chipping. You always talk about picking it back up again—going for long rides on country roads on Sunday mornings—but it’s a little intimidating, especially going at it alone.

I know a lot of people, especially 50+, who love the idea of biking, but haven’t actually found the momentum to get started. They biked in their youth, but family, work and life simply just got in the way. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can and should start biking again, and it’s not as intimidating as you make it out to be.

Biking is an easy skill to pick back up, even if you haven’t biked since you were twelve. (And if you’ve never pedaled in your life, never fear! There are plenty of resources out there in the world, and even online on sites and forums.) Here are some basic tips to help ease you back in to the wonderful world of cycling:

Tune up your bike (or get a bike). The most important thing is to make sure your bike is safe to ride. Bring your bike in to your local bike shop for a tune up. While you’re there, ask them if they could give you a rundown on basic maintenance, like changing a flat and lubing your chain. Otherwise, there are plenty of internet sources that can be helpful. Believe me, as someone who has little interest in mechanics, it’s easy.

Don’t have a bike? Borrow a friend’s who is similarly sized, scour Craigslist and Pinkbike, or check in with your bike shop. It’s your choice, whether to get new or used. I always recommend starting out with something really affordable and gently used. That way, when you want to buy a bike in the future, you can skip the expensive entry-level steeds that most people outgrow within a few months of riding.

Be prepared. Get your kit ready. Always wear your helmet. Carry a spare tube, a tire lever, hand pump/CO2 cartridge and tiny patch kit in a pouch or backpack in case you get an easy-to-fix flat. And make sure you have plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you are leaving your bike in town, you’ll probably need a basic U-lock. From there, you can always add more and more accessories, depending on what kind of rider you are, but those are the necessities to get you on the road and moving.

Get a crew. If you want to ride alone, go for it, but it’s easier to build a new habit if a friend is in it with you. Find a supportive community, whether it be your family, friends, neighbors, church, social media or coworkers. Odds are, someone you know is a bike lover and would be happy to ride with you, or at least give you a tip or two on the weekends. And if not, hey, that’s what your local bike shop is there for.

Don’t worry if you’re out of shape. The beautiful thing about biking is anybody can do it. It doesn’t require a ton of intricate muscle activation and is based in a simple seated position. If you are coming back to biking after years of a non-fitnesscentric lifestyle, go easy on yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard too fast, or you might get discouraged. Just the simple act of getting outside and rolling down the block for 10 minutes is a great start. Just focus on pedaling and enjoying being outdoors.

Bike regularly. Biking is an exercise people of all ages love and stick with simply because it’s fun and easy. You don’t have to go to a gym—just hop on and go. Join a community ride (ask your bike shop) or have a friend meet you on bikes at the farmer’s market. Just keep riding and you’ll soon wonder how you went so many years without it.

If you feel like you might want to start cycling again, you should absolutely do it! Cycling is fun and healthy, whether your twelve or seventy two. Don’t be intimidated. It’s all about getting out there in the fresh air, moving your body and having a blast!

Have you been on hiatus from riding? Have you toyed with the idea of taking it up again? Share your story and support below.

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55 comments

Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE1 years ago

Thank you

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Krzysztof J
Krzysztof J1 years ago

Ty

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Marzena B
Marzena B1 years ago

Thanks

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Marcin J
Marcin J1 years ago

Thanks

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen1 years ago

Thank you

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen1 years ago

Thank you

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Jetana A
Jetana A1 years ago

A lot of us older folks are a bit wobbly, and many don't have safe lanes like the one pictured to bike on. I felt dreadfully unsafe when I tried biking in my 30's, because I no longer had the family neighborhood streets of my childhood, nor the sense of immortality of youth. Traffic has only worsened in the last 35 years, so I'm not restarting this childhood activity now!

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Lee J
Lee Juslin1 years ago

I've been biking regularly for years and I'm now in my 70s. Most of these tips seem to be aimed at folks who are going to do competitive racing or some sort of serious biking. One point missing is male or female get a bike that is what we used to call a girl's bike. I had a serious hip injury in '12 that almost finished my biking. Thanks to a great physical therapist I'm back, but he told me to sell my boy bike and get the girl style as swinging a leg up and over is hard on older riders. He, a fit guy in his 30s, rode a girl style bike. Also, a helmet yes, but you don't need fancy outfits. I ride in shorts and a tee, one that is often beyond wearing anywhere else except maybe gardening.

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Winn Adams
Winn Adams1 years ago

Thanks

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