I have been riding my 1984 Cannondale, complete with 1984 Cannondale Panniers, since… 1984! I cycled to work, took off a few years for babies, then continued commuting by bicycle a couple days a week April through Sept. My commute was, depending on where I lived… anywhere from 10 km to 50 km each way. Currently I commute 28 km each way to work. I ride the scenic route in the morning because at 5:30 on a road with no shoulders, the road and view are spectacular with no traffic. This is the view…
For 8 years I rode an old mountain bike to work, with my cannondale panniers, and a Burley trailer attached in which my 45 lb dog rode. The route home has a small detour where I can avoid the highway hill with its increasingly fast traffic and no road shoulder . It allows Shadow to run in safety beside me. Hike-the-bike for 1⁄2 km, and riding with a view.
The commute with my dog (when we lived within 15 km from work) included a hill, which was 5 km up an 8% grade. I would take Shadow out of the trailer, put a leash on her, and we would grind up the hill past all the side roads. She would be off leash on the last 2km running free just ahead of me. Pulling her is what made me strong. Because we are so far away now I cannot take her. She howls when she sees me leave with the bike.
I did several long solo camping tours which was fun, tiring, exhilarating, ending with a sense of accomplishment at completing the distances that people (non cyclists) said I was crazy to attempt.
When I turned 55 I was so happy because I was FINALLY old enough and able to join in on the BC Seniors Games with my mom who is also a cyclist and consistently in the Top 3 in her age groups.
We made a 2-generation team. Mom with her high tech bike and me…… riding my vintage Cannondale. While there very few seniors competing WITH their kids, there are amazing seniors inspiring with their athleticism. I would like to see more two-generation families taking part. I will stay in it as long as mom is able. She is 79 this year.
The first year I kept the fenders and rear rack on the bike, rode with the toe cage on the pedals, and took Gold for the Rookie category. Other riders looked at my bike and made comments like: that’s a classic; you don’t see ‘em like that anymore; you are a strong rider but you need a different bike.
Mom and I were featured in the Seniors Living Magazine in 2015 and hopefully our story inspires others to continue being active in their senior years.
I do weightlifting (Bench, Squat, Deadlift, etc) to help with strength and power on the bike. Because my workplace is so close to the wilderness, I have easy access trails and loops (5km) that I run or walk or snowshoe at noon. I am always active.
I do expect to continue commuting until I retire in 5 years, and then I will continue to ride for pleasure. My husband doesn’t share the same excitement of road cycling or distance goals so it is likely that my desire for a long ride will continue to be solo. Other than my mom, I don’t know any other senior female cyclists. I have a bucket bike-it list that inspires me to continue riding as long as I can.
I did this ride a few years ago starting from home. But…it remains unfinished. My estimate is that it was 80 miles but with Strava now I will be able to get the correct stats. I ended up with a very sore neck and shoulders and had to call for a pick up so was not able to complete the loop. I am stronger now and will do the route again and complete it.
This loop was definitely riding with a view. It was amazing.
Words and photos by @xcountrypearl