More and more Americans are staying physically active well into their later years. The benefits of lifelong exercise include better health and improved quality of life. Cycling is an especially good activity for older persons; it’s low-impact and has terrific cardiovascular benefits. Many seniors are on tight budgets, however, and can benefit from the cost savings associated with secondhand bikes. So here are some tips for choosing a great bike with the needs of mature persons in mind.
For most seniors, the best all-around choice will be a “comfort” or “cruiser” bike. These models have features such as high handlebars, wide tires, and well-padded seats. They also feature fewer gears for ease of riding and front- and rear-wheel suspension.
Most seniors will be comfortable with saddles that are between 8-12 inches wide. A layer of gel padding is a good idea as well. It provides enhanced comfort and protects the coccyx and perineum. Another important consideration is saddle design; horseshoe-shaped ones are especially comfortable and supportive, as are noseless ones or those with a deep indentation down the center. Leather is a good exterior material, as are the various moisture-wicking fabrics. They help to avoid chafing and keep the saddle dry.
Do a Test Run
Before buying any bike, take it for a short test ride in the parking lot. The handlebars should be set at a comfortable height, the saddle should not put undue pressure on any part of the body, and the knees should have a slight bend as the pedal reaches the bottom of the down stroke. A good bike shop will make sure that the cycle fits the rider comfortably.
If you’re an older person and live in or near San Antonio, then we encourage you to drop by Alamo Bike Shop soon. We’ll be happy to match you with the perfect secondhand bike for your needs and your budget.
With the economy still weak in many parts of the country, secondhand bikes are more popular than ever. Buying one can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars off the cost of a new model. However, as with any secondhand purchase, it pays to exercise a little extra caution when choosing one. Some things to look for include:
- The frameset – Chipped paint and a few tiny oxidation spots are fine, but pass up any bike with dents in the frame, especially if it’s made of aluminum. Look for cracks or bends where the wheel attaches to the frame (known as the “dropout”). The front fork should have no play in it whatsoever.
- Saddle – Torn ones should have been replaced; avoid the “duct tape quick repair.” Make sure there’s no play in the saddle; it should be parallel with a level floor. Sit on it; your leg should slightly bend at the bottom of the down stroke. Check the seal post clamp for cracks or other signs of wear.
- Brakes – Dried-out or worn brake pads are a huge safety risk. The bike might still be a good deal, but be prepared to replace the pads ASAP. Rusty or frayed cables, bent or cracked levers, or “mushy” braking are all signs the bike needs replacement parts.
- Drivetrain – There should be no play in the crankset. If there is, the bike probably has worn bearings. Spin the flywheel; any chattering or knocking is a sign of bad bearings. Shifting should be smooth and crisp in each gear; you’ll need to raise the rear wheel to check for this.
- Wheels – Check for side-to-side play. If you notice any, then the hubs may be worn. Squeeze the spokes; tension should be the same at every spot. Loose or broken spokes are a huge red flag. Tires with worn tread, dry rot, or damage to the sidewalls should be replaced. Check the air pressure in the tires. If they can’t hold the recommended level, then the bike has leakage problems.
- Bike shop check – if possible, have a local bike shop inspect the cycle before you purchase it. Here at Alamo Bike Shop we’re happy to perform that service, but we also stock a number of secondhand bikes that are in excellent shape. Come by and browse our selection soon!
San Antonio and surrounding areas are prime real estate for cyclists; the city’s rich history and scenic beauty make it a perfect location for a relaxing bike ride. Unfortunately, it only takes one accident to turn a pleasurable ride into a tragedy. So here are 6 bike safety tips that can help ensure a pleasant trip and safe return:
- Always practice road awareness – This means being aware of vehicles, landmarks, potential obstacles, and pedestrians on all sides of you—not just directly ahead. Knowing what’s behind you is particularly important; some cyclists have bar-mounted mirrors for this purpose.
- When traffic slows, move to the middle of the lane – This is important both at intersections and when you’re matching the speed of surrounding vehicles.
- Obey road markings – Just like motorists, you have a legal obligation to follow all traffic laws. Don’t go straight when a sign says “right turn only.” Don’t turn left from a right turn lane. Don’t rush to beat red lights. Be a good rider and a good citizen.
- Always be ready to come to a stop – Even highly observant cyclists can’t always predict when a child will run out in front of them or when a car will cut them off. So keep both hands ready to operate the brakes at all times, just in case the unexpected occurs. Remember that braking in wet weather requires extra stopping distance.
- Use hand signals – Motorists can’t read your mind. Taking a second to signal your intentions can spare you a lifetime of suffering and regret.
- Dress weather-smart –San Antonio’s weather may range from chilly to wet to hot. Dress in layers on cold days, wear a waterproof riding suit when it rains, and wear light, moisture-wicking clothes to beat the heat during Texas summers.
With the holidays approaching, lots of people are in the market for a quality bicycle. Did you know that Alamo Bike Shop offers layaway terms? All it takes to start your account is a 20% down payment, and you can take up to 90 days to pay off your purchase. Drop by today to browse our great selection of new and second hand bikes.