For this Baby Boomer, road cycling is my major pastime. Club cycling is what I do most. I love it.
I do not enter any competition, nor am I extremely fast. Yet, at 73 years old, I do well. But, I love to have the wind blowing by my ears as it did when I ran track and cross-country back in the ’60s and ’70s.
Baby Boomer Club Cycling
I have been riding for almost seven years. I was a long-distance runner most of my life. When my knees began to bother me, I switched to cycling. In the beginning, I would only ride about seven or eight miles a couple of times a week. I thought I was achieving something significant. I even assumed that I was going fast, despite coming to a halt at a dozen stop signs and signals around town.
Join a Cycling Club
Six years ago, a friend told me that he was a member of a cycling club in town. He encouraged me to show up for one of the club rides.
I was excited to meet the club members at the local bike shop. I joined the Texoma Cycling Club by paying my twenty-dollar annual membership fee.
I was somewhat nervous that I would not be able to keep up with them. However, the worry turned out to be for naught.
They road farther than I had been riding on my own. The club members also road faster than I was able at that time. But, they never left me behind for more than two or three miles. They always stopped and waited for me. They shouted encouragement as I met back up with the pack.
I increased my distance per ride to 14 miles on the club’s Wednesday night rides by riding with the club. Soon Charlie Jenkins, club President, and the local bike shop owner, told me I could improve my speed and ease my effort by replacing my mountain bike tires with slicks. Wow, what a difference that made.
After my third Wednesday night club ride, daylight savings time ended, I joined the group on a Thursday, all-in-the-dark 15 mile ride. What an experience that was. Everyone, including me, wore jerseys with fluorescent stripes. We also had our front and rear lights turned on. Again, I felt like I was part of something special.
Soon Charlie’s wife, Pat, told me I should raise my seat (the one on the bike, lol). The adjustment “will improve your efficiency,” she said. So, I had the saddle raised. I was surprised at how much faster and longer I could ride.
This baby boomer rode all bundled up throughout all that first winter. I loved it. Soon I was on my bike four times a week, putting in 70 miles.
I remember when I would RUN that many miles in a week back in college. That was a long time ago. I am now 72, had triple bypass surgery fifteen years ago, and five stints added over the years. Seventy miles on a bike in a week is just great.
I was much safer riding with a group. The warning shouts of “car back,” “holes,” and “dog” make me aware of hazards that I might have missed if I were rolling alone.
I encourage you to take up road cycling. You would be surprised how many baby boomers are doing it. Join a club, the comradely and advice is a real plus. You will not regret it.
Find Club Cycling Near You
Here are some great resources to assist you in finding a cycling club near you:
As a senior cyclist (over 50 years of age), you will not be alone on club rides. You will be surprised to know that many of the club riders are in your age group. Some of the most consistent riders in the Texoma Cycling Club are over 50 years old. Often there are three or more of us in our 70s.On our Saturday morning group rides, we usually cover 30 to 60 miles.
We hang in there most of the time. One of the great things about group rides is that most often, they are no-drop rides. That means every 7 to 10 miles, we regroup.
At this point in my riding experience, I only ride by myself when I am at home spinning on my trainer. But, even then, I am not alone. I join other riders on virtual rides on Zwift. The rest of my rides are club rides.
If you are not part of a cycling club, I encourage you to find a group near you. Safety, comradeship, and encouragement are all pluses of club cycling.
Read about this senior cyclist who was club cycling up to 100 years of age.