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Life in the Bike Lane column

Martha Stewart is too old to ride a bike

By: Tom Frady
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I was browsing (that’s what today’s kids call it) on the world-wide web the other day and saw an article about how Martha Stewart had been age-shamed in a comment under an Instagram post she had made. 

“What better way to enjoy a crisp fall day than with a bike ride?” she posted, with a photo of Stewart astride an e-bike. 

While most of the commenters wanted to know where she got her adorable outfit, one curmudgeon said that at 77, she was “too old to bike safely” and that she should set an example for the rest of us (senior citizens, I guess) to “give up thinking we can do it all.”

This sentiment is so crazy that I’m wondering if it wasn’t meant as satire or, at least, said tongue-in-cheek. 

Martha (I like to call her “Martha” because that’s my mother’s name, too) points out she keeps in excellent shape through regular exercise.

When the commenter above says, “give up thinking we can do it all,” he seems to be saying, “We should just stay on the couch, watching ‘Wheel of Fortune.’” 

Do I need to remind you five regular readers about all the proven health benefits of cycling, even short jaunts around the neighborhood with the grandkids?  No, I don’t.  Research shows cycling can slow down the aging process by building muscle, boosting the immune system and stimulating the brain. 

Across the nation, aging Americans are working out in gyms, swimming, playing pickle ball and riding bikes. Bike riding is easier on the bones, joints and knees than running, and (I have found) more fun.   

It is estimated there are more than seven-million bike riders over age 50, three million of which are over 60. Some are just riding around the block on a bike that has been hanging in the garage for years. Others are on finely-tuned, expensive road bikes, riding a couple of hundred miles a week. 

While I have always had a bike, I didn’t start to get serious about cycling until I was 55.  I’m still not the greatest rider in the world or even in my group, but at 71.587 years old, I’ve gotta be in the top 10 percent for my age group nationwide. 

Personally, I don’t have any awe-inspiring story about how I lost 300 pounds or beat cancer or turned my evil life around. But I eat a little better, look a little better (a low bar) and feel a little better.

I’m not too old to be on a bike and neither are the 65 to 81 year olds with whom I ride. Ride in your 90s?  Sure.  I can name 10 people who do.

My friend, who arranges multi-day/week bike tours for Lincoln Hills riders, has encountered vendors who, once they see the ages of the riders, question the group’s ability to do the miles required or to be able to ride every day.  Then the little old ladies and men crush the rest of the riders to everyone’s amazement, except the little old ladies and men. 

Are you over 50, overweight and overwrought?  Get on a bike.  You don’t have to have a pro-level bike.  Not even an expensive bike. You just need a bike.  You don’t have to be a great rider.  Not even a good rider. You just need to be a rider. 

Tom Frady is a Lincoln resident and avid cyclist and driver.