Retirement brings tremendous opportunity to enjoy bicycling. Retirees generally have more time on their hands, meaning more time to get out on the bike. Retirees also generally have more flexibility in their daily schedules, meaning there is more ability to work a cycling regimen into one’s day-to-day activity. Finally, retirees are often in search of new and interesting travel opportunities. I submit that travel which involves cycling provides incredibly wonderful and intimate means to visit and to enjoy new places.
Let’s talk about daily routines. Even before I became retired, as a home office worker for Hewlett-Packard I rode my bicycle typically 2-3 times a week to the local coffee shop for breakfast, carrying my notebook computer in a backpack, to get a jump start on my work day. This had the dual benefit of providing my morning “fuel” plus getting me into a somewhat social situation for a couple of hours, as opposed to the solitude of my empty house. I do the same thing now that I’m retired, except that my “work day” is now focused on my new bicycle tour business, Buckeye Country Roads Bicycle Tours.
I try to concoct other tasks and chores that I can accomplish via my bicycle. These have included all of the following:
- going to church
- going to the post office
- going to the bank (I LOVE being on my bike among the cars, sitting in a drive-thru teller line!)
- going to the pharmacy or the grocery store (my expandable bicycle trunk pack can carry a number of small food items nicely)
- going to my doctor or my orthodontist (my ortho’s a cyclist and loves seeing me show up on my bike)
- going to the gym with a change of clothes in my backpack
- going for a ride while my car is being serviced at the dealership (the bike goes nicely in the back of my Subaru SUV)
- going to a community parade or other event (often avoiding traffic snarls or detours by using the bike)
- going to vote
Back to the subject of travel, in my mind there is just no better way to visit interesting places than via a bicycle. Especially in foreign countries, car travel, while fairly quick and efficient, presents a whole set of issues and costs around parking, finding and paying for fuel, and keeping one’s concentration fully on the road and not on the great sights to be seen. Have you ever been in a small Italian or French village, trying to negotiate mazes of streets that are just about the width of American sidewalks, and then tried finding a place to park so you can get out and walk a while? It can be very stressful intimidating to say the least. Seeing these kinds of places within the framework of a guided or unguided bicycle tour is just a wonderful alternative. Within Europe in particular, there is an additional benefit: Europeans understand cyclists and welcome them. Many more Europeans than Americans are regular cyclists and I submit that by looking around the streets in Europe, one can see that the general population looks quite a bit more slim and fit than the general population in the United States.
So, the challenge is there. Retirees have a great opportunity to re-tool themselves to give the bicycle a more prominent place in their lives, making them more happy, healthy and productive.