Senior Biking Tips

By Jim Hainen

Biking for Kalamazoo south county seniors is as good as it gets especially for seniors. The area is largely flat with excellent country roads. We are also fortunate that by, and large, the drivers in the area are very careful in passing bikers on the road.

When you set out to bike the local roads it is a good idea to check the weather. Check the direction of the wind. Even a light wind can be tiring to pedal head-on into it. So plan your ride according to the direction of the wind. If at all possible do the outgoing ride into the general direction of the wind or close to it. You have your maximum strength in the first part of your ride. This way on your return ride you will have the wind with you as you become tired. This will make for a more pleasant ride.

Be careful when you come to areas where there is a lot of loose stone on the road. Loose stone can put your bike out of control. Be sure to cross railroad tracks at a right angle or close to it as you don’t want the front wheel of your bike to get caught in the track groove. Stop at all stop signs. Use the same rules that you would use in your car. Remember that all the laws for automobiles apply to bicycles. Stay as far to the right of the road as is practical. You do not have to get off the road for any vehicle; you have the same rights as any other vehicle. But remember, they are a lot bigger than you are.

Be sure to carry drinking water with you and stop now and then for a drink. This is especially important as the warm weather will dehydrate you much faster than you think. When you become dehydrated you lose a lot of strength and energy.

I find that the best times of the day to ride are after nine in the morning, that way all the go to work cars are off the road; early afternoon after the lunch rush is over; and evening after everyone is home for the day.

The most important thing I have to tell you is always wear a yellow shirt or one of the bright new fluorescent vests of shirts when riding your bike on the country roads. At the very least, a white shirt. This can save your life. Never wear darker colors like red or blue. You see many multi-colored biking shirts worn by serious bikers, but believe me they are not nearly as effective as the bright colors listed above.

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