Lifetime Cycling

Golden Years

65“Some 75-year-olds like to ride rocking chairs, but Charlotte Hamlin prefers a bicycle. ‘A healthy lifestyle can set you free,’ she says. Following these simple principles literally keeps her conquering mountains, showing the world what one woman walking with God can do while riding a bike.” Article about Charlotte Hamlin, Bicyclist & Senior Citizen

Ride for life and have fun with it

In this colorful season, we emphasize riding in the golden years. Instead of becoming elderly, an active bicyclist flaunts endurance into “old” age. Our subculture embraces not just a sport but a way of life. We can pursue this way of life, Lord willin’ until our end of days.

One dream that I had to let-go-and-let-God was cycling greatness through competitiveness in the bigger tours. While participation was a reality, winning stages of these events was for me – fantasy cycling. By the numbers, I did not lack the talent or the strategic insight. I simply lacked time and resources. It took five years for me to get the legs and five more to know how to use them. I was in my early forties by then. While Longo was setting new hour records, I was floundering. I had a few good rides but was unable to gain a stable opportunity. At my age, teams were picking up superstars with experience and lots of palmarès. By comparison, I didn’t measure up.

I’m not a legendary bike racer. This conclusion was reached painfully, but its final realization didn’t devastate me. I have other contributions to make to the sport. Masters racing has categories as old as available participants, but it’s not even racing that is the appeal for a lifetime. I was enormously comforted by a moment of acceptance when I realized my passion for riding was meant to be pursued for as long as I have breath. What happened to me was an encounter with a pair of beautiful legs that passed me swiftly. Until I caught him, he was just another rider having some afternoon tempo. Turns out he was eighty years young; and while his face was a bit lined and his hair a bit silvery, his legs were like any other young cyclist’s – and so was the light in his eyes.


Prayer for Lifetime Cycling

  “They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old. And they will say about you, ‘The LORD always does right! God is our mighty rock.’” 66Psalm 92:14-15

We admire greatness. We confess only a few leave a racing legacy but we all leave some legacy. We pray to ride for life for life to ride.

Ponder What is my very long-term view of cycling? Affirm I want to ride my whole life and be that geezer who makes a younger rider breathe a little harder. Watch my body age but still my legs and lungs live strong.

65“Charlotte Hamlin – 75 year-old long-distance cyclist – Aging Gracefully,” by Pam Mellskog published in Vibrant Life  Nov-Dec-1994

66The Bible, Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society


2 Responses to “Lifetime Cycling”

  1. Another geezer jock conquers aging!! I started serious cycling about 5 years ago when I was 65. I had been since graduation from HS a commited couch potato until my late 40s when I began a very conservative aerobic regimen of 20 minute sessions 3 to 6 days a week.

    I went into high gear 5 years ago, doubling and intensifying my exercise sessions. I had to plan it myself because no research seemed to exist on the PHYSICAL capacities of geezers. Worse, doctors fake that they know and wing it. They are invariably dead wrong (although I never consulted sports medicine experts who may know something from direct experience).

    My advice to seniors: 1) ignore any formulas for computing max and 80% max HR. It’s already well known to produce at best a first guess. It only exists because we all love to reduce measures to simple numbers. 2) Don’t be afraid to gradually increase intensity. I now comfortably maintain a 180bpm cycling for 1 hour; I easily spike to 200bpm. 3) If you plateau or decline your capacity, the first culprit might not be the number 1 diagnosis for geezers, “the usual process of aging”. I solved the problem by eliminating my cholesterol control pills (simvastatin) and quickly improved my up hill performance by an astounding 30%.

    On the latter, all statin based drugs came with warnings that muscle problems are “rare”, but “serious”; the warnings now describe the problem as “rare” AND “sometimes” AND “common”. I think they are getting worried about a legal assault. I know ***many*** seniors with this problem, one of whom suffered permanent muscle damage.

    Note: the original studies justifying statins showed a tiny (1.5%) difference between control and experimental groups.

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