Open road cycling for people past seventy

Mule Pass on the Way to Bisbee

Mule Pass on the Way to Bisbee

In late summer, I presented a program at the bimonthly meeting of the Vancouver Bicycle Club. The title for my talk was “Open Road Cycling for People Past Seventy.” My intention was to encourage club members, especially those in their fifties and older, by insisting that most of them could continue aggressive cycling well into their later decades.

I based my presentation upon my own open road bike trips during the dozen years since I crossed over the biblical boundary line of “three score years and ten.” Two aspects of the evening stood out.

On to the Grand Canyon

On to the Grand Canyon

First, their willingness to listen was directly related to the fact that I was already past seventy and thus was offering experience-based testimony and counsel. Second, they were encouraged by the prospect that while they would gradually diminish in their performance capabilities they could anticipate many more good cycling years.

In preparing for the evening, I jotted down a lot more ideas than could be discussed in half an hour or forty five minutes. I gave club members copies of the full list but talked about only three or four of them.

When I finish my current book—which is in the field of religious history—I would like to do a bicycling book, and these notes might be the launching pad for that project. The first step is to project these notes into the cloud for whatever good they might do. The next step would be to develop a précis for each chapter in order to organize my thoughts and serve as the starting point for the fuller treatment that the book would require.

In the process two things could happen: The bike book project might take on real life and pull me forward to do the manuscript in the next year or so. Or, the project might turn out to be like a bike tire with a slow leak that soon leaves me at the side of the road with no way to finish the book.

For now, however, the nearly finished book—An American Church That Might Have Been—is taking all of my time and energy. You are welcome to the notes about the bike book in the back of my mind. I’d love to hear from you. Tell me about your experiences and the counsel you would offer to old timers who still want to ride hard all day long. Read more . . . Open Road Cycling

7 Responses to Open road cycling for people past seventy

  1. kevinmayne says:

    A few years ago we organised for a CTC member in the UK to ride on the back of a tandem with TV commentator Phil Liggett……..for his 100th birthday. Now that’s what I call ambition.

    besides, if some of the cycling groups I have been out with in the UK didn’t have the over 70s they would fold.

    Look forward to the book!

    • The aging of cycling groups is clear in the US, too. I don’t know if this is because younger adults don’t bicycle as much, or if they find other modes of getting together for cycling activities. Are you aware of literature on this subject? Do you have opinions about it yourself?

      • kevinmayne says:

        I also know some booming clubs with younger riders in the UK but they tend to offer a much greater diversity of activities, especially MTB and BMX and they are geared up for the youngsters.

        In Belgium club riding is iconic, the groups are huge.

        I also see a lot more riding in 2s and 3s in the UK and here in Belgium, it seems that institutionalised cycling may not be as popular and the idea of riding in small numbers suits the social media driven world.

      • I’m confident that what you say about younger riders in the UK is also true in the US. Institutionalized riding is an interesting phrase. Except for century rides and some of the classic longer rides, like TOSRV in Ohio and RAGBRAI in Iowa, people here seem to shy away from organized events. I’ve been a solo rider most of my life.

      • kevinmayne says:

        I have been a social rider almost all my life and I am very fond of what we might call “club life”.

        However like many I suspect I still do most riding alone.

  2. Joe Culpepper says:

    I hope you proceed with the next book project. As the article I emailed from the NY Times on the 79 year old CEO of Giant Bicycles in Taiwan so aptly gives testimony, even though he didn’t start cycling until he was 73, he now bikes 25 mi. per day, has lost weight, is much healthier & is energized by his regular cycling. May that continue to be the case for you & for all of us past the age of 50, 60, 70, 80 . . . !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: