How do over-55s like to have fun? Coach trips? Crochet? Crosswords? It’s a common misconception that life has to slow down as you mature in years.
Research shows that people who stay physically active in older age stay healthy and independent for longer. Not only this, older people who maintain any level of exercise are also less likely to feel isolated and lonely.
Life Cycle offers regular group bike rides - affectionately called Silver Cyclists - that help people aged 55+ to re-discover the joys of cycling. Each ride explores green spaces and cycle paths, with routes specially designed to show older riders how to access nearby facilities by bike, helping them stay independent and connected with their local community.
We caught up with Rosy, 67 (name changed) to find out why she loves Silver Cyclists:
“When I saw the Over-55s advertised I was retired and recovering from two hip replacements. I saw cycling as a good way to regain my strength as there were rides of various lengths and distance. The leaders were really attentive to my needs.
“Life Cycle is very welcoming. It has been great to socialise with the other riders, who I probably would not have met otherwise. It is very nice when we stop at cafés for a chance to chat and get to know everyone a little better. The rides have enhanced my physical and mental health, making me go out to cycle when I would not do so on my own”.
Many over-55s have not ridden a bike for years. Our friendly ride leaders offer free tuition to anyone not confident enough to just hop on a bike without support. We can lend bikes to those who don’t own one - and even have an electric bike for those who need an extra boost. This means almost anyone is able to come out on our rides:
“We have gone to places that are new to me, encouraging me to visit at another time on my own or with friends. I have also taken my bike on the train to join rides, which means I now have the confidence to do that on my own, increasing my sense of independence”
It’s not just about helping people to start cycling again: We want to make sure our riders continue to have fun - and stay fit and mobile - for as long as they can. As a result of coming on our group rides for several years, Rosy has built up lasting friendships with other riders, and become part of the Life Cycle family:
“I have continued to go out on the group rides as I find them enjoyable and sociable, and have done some cycling and other social events with a couple of friends I have made there. Since retiring fully at the end of last year it has been nice to be able to be more involved in Life Cycle. I am co-hosting the social meetings at Roll for the Soul and have also started as a ‘buddy’ in the peer support project in my area”.
To find out more and to join our Silver Cyclists on their next ride, go to: https://www.lifecycleuk.org.uk/over-55s