Baby boomers can have fun, improve their fitness, and create or strengthen friendships with bicycling. And riding an electric bike makes getting back into bicycling even easier.
Here are five tips to help you get back into riding a bike.
Tip No. 1: Decide to Ride
You’re online reading an article about how to get back into biking, so odds are good you are “thinking about” riding again. Now stop thinking and decide.
“Decision is the ultimate power,” according to motivational expert Tony Robbins. “Making a decision puts you in control.”
Once you have committed to biking for fun, fitness, and friendship, nothing will stop you.
- Fun. Bicycling is fun. Riding an e-bike even more so. Listen to this podcast with Pete Prebus.
- Fitness. Riding an e-bike could combat type-2 diabetes, improve cardiorespiratory performance, and boost brain function.
- Friendship. Bicycling is social. You’ll meet new folks or spend more time with loved ones. See Bill’s comments about e-bikes and couples.
Tip No. 2: Get the Right Bike
Riding a bike, particularly an e-bike, is going to be a great source of pleasure. It should be easy on joints, flexible in intensity, and a significant benefit to your health and wellbeing.
But many of these benefits can go south in a hurry if you don’t have the proper bike, set up in the right way. So take the time to find a bicycle that fits you and the sort of riding you’ve decided to do. If you have knee pain, try moving your seat up. If you have neck or back pain, try a more upright handlebar position. Here are some resources.
- The Complete Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide
- The EVELO Electric Bike Fit Consultation
- Bike Seat and Handlebar Position Video
Tip No. 3: Find a Riding Companion
“Now if you think about being on a traditional bicycle, you’re like ‘hey honey, let’s go for a bike ride,’” said EVELO’s Bill Cummings.
“Naturally, one person is stronger and faster than the other and typically it turns into this situation where somebody is three blocks ahead going ‘ah, hurry up.’ The other person is behind going ‘I feel bad and would you slow down.’ Then they finally meet up and then there’s maybe a little bit of conflict and that romanticized view of a bike ride together suddenly turns into a conversation and nobody’s having any fun.
“That changes on an electric bike. You could choose, one person could use the motor less, one person can use the motor more and suddenly you’re rolling down the beach together going look at the beautiful sunset. It really is transformational and it becomes that idealistic view of a bike ride together that we all think of when you head out.”
Bill was speaking specifically about riding as a couple, but some of the same things apply for riding with friends or family members. For example, imagine trying to ride with an 11-year-old grandson. He is likely to want to ride fast and tackle some serious hills.
Electric bikes balance out the differences in riding ability and let you really enjoy riding with friends and family. In turn, riding with friends and family will help to motivate you as you get back into bicycling again.
Your goal then is to find a riding companion. This might be your spouse or partner. A relative could be a great riding partner. You could recruit a friend from work. Or maybe join a local bicycling club.
Tip No. 4: Find a Good Place to Ride
Bicycling in heavy traffic in the United States is, frankly, not terribly safe. The U.S. sometimes lacks good bicycle infrastructure, and while this is changing significantly, you want to be mindful when you plan your rides. This is especially true when you’re just getting back into bicycling.
- Look for local riding groups. They may have route or trail recommendations.
- Check out the Rails-to-Trails Conversancy. They have many trail guides.
- Check with the parks and recreation department in your community.
- Finally, consider a bike route planning app. You might choose the Strava Route Builder, the Komoot Planner, Bikemap.com, Google Maps, or similar.
Tip No 5: Track Your Progress
Few things feel as good as success. So as you get back into riding, track and monitor your progress.
The aim is not to start out as a great distance cyclist, but rather to get just a little better every week. The good news is that there are plenty of apps available to help you. Here are a few to consider.