Senior looking for bicycle advice

Facebook Twitter More...

Occasionally people reach out to this blog for advice about bicycle routes, bicycles, or bike accessories. I’ve researched these topics for myself in the past, but with so many new products coming on the market, my personal knowledge isn’t that extensive or up-to-date.

That’s why I’m putting out this question about the best bicycle for a senior to this website’s readers.

Karen is a 70-year-old active senior living in Washington state. She’s looking for advice or recommendations from others about the best bicycle for her condition.

She writes: “I am short – barely 5 ft. and I have had a hip replacement and very little flexibility for getting on and off a bike. I am 70 and do not have a lot of arm strength so a heavy bike would be hard for me to load into my car or on a rack. I can’t ride with a group if I can’t keep up on a too small bike.. I am active – did a lot of hiking but thought cycling might be easier on my joints.  Is there someone similar in your club and what kind of a bike do they have?  “

“Bike shops have their recommendations but stick to the bikes they sell. Would rather hear from folks in the same situation about what has worked for them.”

My initial reaction would be to recommend a recumbent trike, because they are stable and a friend of mine says they scoot along pretty good. In fact, I usually get dropped by a recumbent trike or two on long, group bike rides.

But that same friend says it’s difficult to break down his trike and load it in a car.

Perhaps there are recumbent trikes, or other bikes, that are easier to load onto cars. Or, maybe there’s a recumbent/rack combination that would work.

Please leave a comment if you have any ideas. I’d hate for Karen to miss out on some bike rides this summer because she can’t find the right bicycle for her condition.

Permanent link to this article:


Skip to comment form

    • Rick Akin on May 29, 2019 at 10:11 am
    • Reply

    I would recommend a Bike Friday. They handle as well as any road bike. The frame allows for step through mounting. The company has a long history of fitting bikes to shorter individuals plus they now offer an E-Bike option.
    The fact that the bike can be folded makes it very easy to unload or load into cars.


    • Karen L Jurasin on May 29, 2019 at 9:46 pm
    • Reply

    Sounds wonderful but they are very expensive.

    1. Yes. They can be expensive, but you might find these “used” selections on Craigslist a bit more affordable.

    • Süs on June 2, 2019 at 7:27 am
    • Reply

    Aloha! As a biking senior (with similar physical constraints) I have been using the share bikes. I would love to bike more and take longer rides, but for now, these work really well for me. They are easy to use (& to mount); the height is easily adjusted; I don’t have to ride up hill (I just park my ride & catch a bus to the next one); AND I don’t have to store it in my small apartment. I’ve taken rides all over the city in all seasons. I DON’T use a helmet (don’t lecture me).

    The share bike give me such freedom, since I now find walking distances so painful. I imagine If I ever decide to join a group for an long/overnight trip I guess I could rent a long-term bike … maybe someday. Right now this works, and I still have many, many more city trails to explore.

    (Both Jump & Lime have special offers for seniors.)

    • Tom Phillips on June 5, 2019 at 9:49 pm
    • Reply

    I’d suggest Karen join the Cycling Past Fifty group on Facebook and post her questions there. There are 25K+ senior cyclists in that group, all ability and injury levels. Give it a shot!

    1. Great idea, Tom. Here’s the link to Cycling Over 50 on Facebook

    • Dave Mills on June 30, 2019 at 4:07 am
    • Reply

    My mother-in-law, who has had both hips replaced, developed an interest in riding a bicycle in her late eighties after not riding for decades. She is still very active and mobile so I thought she might be able to make it work. I helped her test ride some bicycles at a local bicycle shop. She still remembered how to ride, but had a lot of difficulty pushing the pedals across the top of the cranking circle. In Karen’s note she mentioned that she hiked but she never indicated that she had ridden a bike after her hip surgery. Before she gets too excited about selecting a particular bicycle I’d suggest practicing the general motion on a stationary bicycle. Make sure she has the flexibility and strength to push the pedals in a complete circle. She may detect that she needs a specific setup or perhaps some additional physical therapy to make it comfortable.

    • John Brooks on July 14, 2019 at 10:43 am
    • Reply

    So very cool to see this conversation and all the helpful ideas! I’m 20+ years (hopefully) from needing this type assistance but it’s completely heartwarming to see people jump in to offer such great coaching and advice!

  1. If you’re looking for bikes for a specific condition, I’d recommend first asking a doctor if it’s alright to bike with the condition. If yes, then go ahead and get the ones like people have mentioned in the above comments. But wherever you go, you should have someone for assistance. Even if you happen for be on a vacation, you can use biking experts to assist you like they do in Hawaii at Botanical World Adventures.

  2. ​Recumbent tricycles have been out on the roads in force over the past few years thanks to the wide range of advantages they offer over traditional bicycles. Recumbent tricycles can allow adults and seniors alike to ride more easily with less stress on the knee joints while also ensuring the stability that having only two wheels simply can’t provide.

    • Moria on January 31, 2022 at 5:41 pm
    • Reply

    Hi I am recommending a catrike recumbent or ice adventure. I am 4’11 tall and ride an ice adventure with 20 inch wheels and a shimano 6100 e assist. The catrikes are also very good with a bafang e assist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.