The best bicycles for riders over 60 are all about comfort. Because so many people age 60 and older often have physical issues to contend with, riders should consider bicycles with features that reduce stress on your body. Look for bicycles with comfortable saddles and designs that keep you upright as much as possible.
The most comfortable bikes for the 60-and-older set enable you to ride while seated in an upright position. That means you should look for a cruiser or a comfort bike. These bikes have high-rise handlebars that enable you to sit up and lean back so you won't be hunched over. They also have wide tires for a smooth ride, few gears, and shock-absorbing forks and seat posts. Most importantly, comfort bikes have cushy saddles. .
Understanding Seat Needs
It's not enough that comfort bikes come with cushy seats. The rider over 60 must consider his perineum and his "sit bones" and buy a saddle that will accommodate both. The sit bones make contact with the seat. The perineum is between the sit bones and acts as the junction for vital nerves and arteries that carry blood and nerve function to the entire lower body. Pressure on this area causes numbness and results in everything from sexual dysfunction to prostate troubles.
Types of Comfort Saddles
Comfort saddles come in various shapes and sizes. Riders over 60 should look for seats between 8 and 12 inches wide with extra gel padding to accommodate the sit bones. Consider a saddle that eases pressure on the perineum, such as a horse-shoe shaped saddle, a noseless saddle or a saddle with a deep trench down the middle. Some saddles come in two pads, one for each sit bone. Look also for a cover made of leather or made of a high-tech fabric to wick away moisture and prevent chafing.
Before you buy your comfort bike, 60-year-olds should consider the fit. Try out the bike in the store parking lot first. Make sure the saddle is comfortable and does not put pressure on your groin area. Make sure you are sitting upright, and bouncing comfortably over bumps as those shock absorbers do their job. Set your saddle to a height that allows you to have a little bend in your knee during a full pedal extension.
A great alternative to a conventional bike is a recumbent. Recumbent bikes provide support for your back and reduce pressure on the perineum and sit bones. Paul K. Nolan, M.D. lists the medical benefits of recumbent bikes to include reduced saddle sores, better weight distribution that relieves pressure on nerves, better postural alignment of the spine, reduced low back stress, and relief of stress on the arms and shoulders. Nolan also notes that recumbents offer a better range of vision for the rider, making the bikes safer in traffic than conventional bikes.