Long distance cyling as we age has its challenges
Age can become a barrier to many activities, not least those that require physical strength, flexibility and endurance. Although ageing is an issue for most people eventually, the wonderful thing about cycling is it can be enjoyed in much later years than can more impacting sports.
Key to doing long distance cycling at a more advanced age is preparation, continuity and nutrition.
- Preparation. Before a long-distance ride, it’s sensible to have a good sense of your fitness levels. It’s not a good idea to suddenly decide to enter a 60-mile sportive if you haven’t cycled in months or weeks. But being aware of your own fitness levels will inform you capability to complete an event.
- Monitoring – monitor your blood pressure and rest for the period before you do a long distance event. This will give you confidence that you’re in good shape and ready to do the ride
- Be realistic – it’s no shame to choose routes that are less demanding from a traffic and elevation point of view. Choose routes that are flatter, on quieter roads (or on cycle paths) and if possible, picturesque routes with plenty of rest points.
- Keep cycling reguarly – this is the best preparation – several short rides a week is better than one long blast every Sunday (followed no doubt by cake/latte/beer etc.!)
- Cycle with others – it’s always sensible to have a companion on long rides as we get older. This way we’ll always have someone to remind us where we live and how to get back home….
- Enjoy it – try not to see it as a competition, whether against yourself or others. Enjoy the ride!