Having recently started riding at 62 I’ve wondered how many years I might be able to enjoy my new hobby. I was surprised to see so many mature riders on the forum(I initially thought it was a kids novelty) but I notice only a couple in their early 70’s. Anybody aware of older riders? If I’m lucky with my health and remain active I’m curious what is reasonably possible and am looking for examples. Inspiration might be a better term.
As you continue riding your technique and balance will improve making it easier and less strenuous.
When you achieve resting your weight on the saddle (and handlebars for distance riding) it will be a bit like riding a bike.
I got talking to a bicyclist one day and he was a young looking eighty five year old.
So perfect your riding technique and you may be still riding into your eighties.
Hope this helps.
I’m sorry, but your balance will not improve at all. It works or it doesn’t.
You probably will become confident to deal with the signals.
Balance won’t improve? A rather dreadful sentence I’d say. Is there any evidence to back that up?
Been there, thought that. It is a matter of semantics; of what is being referred to by the word.
Yes, you are right in that your sense of balance, as provided by your semicircular canals, either works or it doesn’t. However, most people are referring to the entire system, from that sense (and others) to what you do about it, and the feedback loops in between. Establishing and fine tuning that system is what we develop with practice.
To borrow an example from another discipline, If you are balancing a club on your chin (or on a finger, for that matter), sure, you use your sense of balance to remain standing, but the trick is mostly about keeping the forces acting on the top of the club in equilibrium or precisely managing just how they are not.
“Maintaining balance requires coordination of input from multiple sensory systems including the vestibular, somatosensory, and visual systems.” Wikipedia
A few years ago I got vestibular neuritis and lost my sense of balance for more than an year. It was awful. As my condition slowly improved I decide to challenge and improve my balance by taking up unicycling. While my vestibular system was damaged (and will remain that way) I can now balance through my somatosensory and visual systems. This summer I was able to ride my 29" uni through an old dark train tunnel that’s 2 miles long with only a bright light on my helmet. That ride proved to me that my balance had improved. There is no way I could have imagined doing that three years ago.
IMHO, it is possible to improve your balance if you have the physical ability to do so.
Reid, My 82 year old father-in-law is still riding his bike nearly every day. I hope to be doing that well on my unicycle when I’m his age.
For people like yourself who have difficulty reading in context, let me explain.
What is balance ? Balance is an even distribution of weight allowing someone or something to stay upright.
Do humans have balance when they are born ? No, they do not. A baby doesn’t have strong enough muscles and hasn’t yet trained his senses to achieve balance. He cannot stand upright.
A baby first learns to crawl. Eventually, after many months he can stagger around as his sense of balance improves. His sense of balance continues to improve until he can stand upright, walk, run etc.,
Achieving balance depends on many things as has been pointed out already.
For a unicyclist the equation becomes even more complicated by mounting a very unstable machine. Now the brain has to learn to make multiple new calculations to accommodate the unique behaviour of the unicycle and to convey the relevant information to the muscles etc.
Eventually some balance is achieved delighting the unicyclist. But balance whether it be standing or unicycling is hard earned. Having the faculties required to achieve balance is not in itself balance. These faculties have to be trained and nurtured.
Hope this helps
Yes, you have to be more tuned-in to your riding surface than a bicyclist, and on longer rides sometimes your brain even gets tired from making so many calculations and from having to stay so alert. When I walk on a slackline, though, I am far more conscious of actually balancing -keeping my spine straight, adjusting my arms, sucking in my stomach- than on a unicycle.
Once, when I was on a slackline, an old lady approached me and said “One day you’re gonna be glad you did that because when you get old, your balance is the first thing that starts to go.” She probably would have said the same about unicycling, but just to be sure, maybe try a slackline, too.
I was hoping that there might be a few elderly uni riders around. If there are they are evidently well hidden. Hopefully the current surprisingly large group of mature riders will produce some elderly ones. Time will tell.
Well, I got a year on ya, Reid, so I’ll let you know how it goes.
There’s another guy on the forum (forget his name) in the UK who’s a couple years older yet, and still does century rides. I’ve seen one or two youtube videos of older (70s) guys riding, but just plain riding, nothing like muni.
I’ll keep riding as long as I can! As long as I push myself, I still keep getting slightly better over time, so that seems like a positive. When the day comes that I’m pushing hard and going backwards (and I don’t mean riding backwards), then I’ll start to worry.
There’s an “Over 40” group on Facebook, maybe we should start an “Over 60” group just to keep track of each other. Just kidding. Kinda. Cheers!
wobbling bear is about 74
pat moore is about 77
google happy birthday wobblng bear
You must be talking about Monocyclism who recently moved to France and is 67.
I don’t think Wobbly Bear is 74, or he looks amazing for 74!
This guy from Southern California rode his bike until he was 100 and switched to a trike until 103, unfortunately had his front wheel stolen ( from some damned bastard) then died at 106.
Any records of the oldest unicyclist dead or alive, or willing to come forward on here to claim the title, or does somebody know of?
I am optimistic and certainly can imagine of a centurion such of a person like this guy, still be able to mount and ride a 24/26er.
That’s right! Monocyclism is the guy I was thinking about that still does big distance rides. Great rider!
I forgot about wobbing bear, I didn’t realize he’s in his 70s. I met him in Moab last year, and he still rides muni. He’s a great guy!
So that should give us older guys some hope!
Considering how many forum members are in the 50 and 60 age brackets(which I initially found surprising) I’m a little surprised now at not seeing a few more riders in their 70’s. I get the impression the sport has ‘matured’ only in the last 10 or 15 years. That could have some bearing on the rider ages.
Lance- how far from Long Beach do you live? I just became a grandfather this week and that’s were my son and his family live. I expect my wife and I will be frequent visitors to the neighborhood. My skill is improving enough I’d be interested in riding with you one of these days. I would, by the way, be the ‘youngster’ if we do get together. Except for a couple rides with my brother who lives in Oregon I’ve always ridden alone. I hope to meet Waalrus when I get home. He rides with a local club. Although I a little intimidated by anyone who can coast!
An ‘over 40’ group hardly seems necessary. Those guys are a dime a dozen. A over 60 group to help keep track of each other sounds good. Especially with my failing memory.
Of course you can probably which group I’d rather be in
Leo has some difficulty reading in context, as his native language is Dutch. Also he likes to be contrary. That was a very good explanation.