Riding rises amongst older adults

More over 50’s are riding, riding more often, and liking it more, according to a recent survey.

The trigger was the COVID-19 outbreak, which motivated many older adults to start bicycling again, or to ride more.

The findings are from a regular survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (ARRP), and likely reflects trends in other countries.

An important finding was that older adults ride more often when they have someone to ride with, again confirming how important the social dimension of group riding is to people.

Other findings include:
  • Older bicyclists want access to a high-quality bike network where “everyday cycling” is supported and there are fewer potential points of conflict with motorists. (Such infrastructure enhancements would include protected bike lanes as well as trails with overpasses and underpasses for safe passage across roadways.)
  • Older adults prefer to bicycle in communities that feature easily accessible places to shop, work and socialise.
  • E-bikes are growing in popularity, with use increasing with a rider's age, especially as a way to continue to cycling when stamina declines.
  • Many older adults consider bicycling to be a staple of their lives and cannot envision a time when they would stop riding a bicycle.

Most of the riders surveyed were riding for recreation, often in formal or informal groups, and quite a few were riding longer distances of up to 60 kilometres.

ARRP tips for cycling at 50+

  • Dust off the bicycle that’s been sitting in storage unused. (Before riding, have the bicycle checked and serviced by a bike shop.)
  • If a bicycle is needed, buy a new or re-used one. Make sure it fits properly and has features that promote cycling with ease, whether it's a three-wheeler, e-bike or a traditional two-wheel pedal bike.
  • Research local cycling groups and join one. Having others to ride with is a great motivator for starting and continuing riding.
  • Invite a friend to ride and explore new places together.
  • Make a plan to bicycle regularly, perhaps replacing one car trip with a bike trip.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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