How to Start Bicycling When You are Unfit Over 60

Looking to start bicycling when you are over 60 and not in the best shape? While it’s definitely possible, there are a few things you should consider before getting started.

I began my own bicycle journey at 60 to replace my running routine that I absolutely loved but had to give up due to a knee injury.   

My doctor actually recommended cycling to me because it’s easier on the joints.

I assumed it would be easier than other forms of cardio, but boy was I wrong! Cycling is actually quite challenging.

Despite the fact that I was lifting weights 4-5 times a week, it didn’t take me long to realized that I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was.

While weightlifting provides bursts of cardio, cycling requires continuous cardio for longer periods of time – big difference!

So, bicycling when you are unfit and over 60 might require a different approach.

In order to be successful and have an injury-free experience, it’s important to build up your endurance and stamina gradually.

So if, like me and you’re just getting back into cardio with a cycling program, I have some helpful suggestions that I picked up along the way.

These tips will help you ride your bike without feeling completely exhausted or discouraged.   So, before you get started, you may want to give these suggestions a try!

5 Essential Steps for Bicycling When You Are Unfit And 60

As we get older, staying active becomes increasingly important. And what better way to regain fitness than through cycling?  

However, it’s important not to underestimate the challenge that may be awaiting you if you haven’t been active in years.

Trying to hop on your bike after years of not being very active and thinking that you can ride like you’re 10 again can make you fail or cause an injury. 

To give you a better chance at success and avoid setbacks that could keep you on the couch, it’s essential to plan ahead before starting a cycling program especially when you’re unfit.

This planning phase will help you prevent soreness, injuries, and ultimately, give you the confidence to stick with it.

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to make minor adjustments or consider a complete lifestyle change. Not only will this benefit your cycling program, but it could also contribute to aging gracefully.

Don’t worry, it’s completely doable!

Take some time, a few weeks even, to plan your cycling program before you even hop on a bike.

I found this to be incredibly helpful because it allowed me to feel more prepared and mentally ready to face any challenges I came across during my first few months of riding.

1.  Make Sure You Are Strong Enough To Begin Cycling

Are you ready to make the switch from being a couch potato to bike riding? Before you hit the road, it’s important to check your balance and strength. Balancing your bike is very important if you want to avoid any falls.

It’s no secret that our balance can become an issue as we age, which can begin around 40-50 years old. There are several factors can contribute to this, such as eyesight problems, inner ear issues, and changes in blood pressure, muscle mass, strength, and reflexes.

In order to be successful, you should consider incorporating a balance or strengthening program into your daily routine for a few weeks before starting an outdoor biking program. This can make a huge difference in your biking experience.

Additionally, don’t forget to prioritize safety by getting a helmet for your bike. Any fall can result in head trauma, so it’s better to be prepared.

If you feel unsteady or are unable to ride your bike in a straight line, it might be a good idea to start on a stationary bike. It can still provide you with a great workout while reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

2.  Take A Look At Your Diet 

Did you know that what you eat can greatly impact your performance on the bike? A poor diet can leave you feeling sluggish and unable to keep up. Don’t let a bad diet hold you back from reaching your goals!

It’s often said that “you can never outwork a bad diet,” and this is true no matter your age. As we get older, our metabolism naturally slows down, making it even more important to fuel our bodies with the right nutrients.

Now, I’m not suggesting you go on a strict diet. I personally don’t believe in them either. Instead, focus on making healthier food choices and staying hydrated.

By incorporating nutritious proteinsfats, and carbs into your meals, you’ll have the strength and energy to conquer your rides.

Remember, it’s important not to starve yourself. Your body needs fuel to perform at its best. Without proper nourishment, you’ll lack the energy needed to finish your rides strong. So, eat well and don’t forget to stay hydrated!

Water is your best friend, both on and off the bike. Make sure to drink enough every day, even when you’re not riding. Staying hydrated will help you power through your rides and make the most of your training.

3.  Make Sure Your Bike Fits You And Is Comfortable?

Find the perfect bike for you. Whether it’s new, rented, or secondhand, make sure it fits you and your body type and size.

Take some short rides around your block. Get comfortable on your bike and familiarize yourself with the feel.

Don’t be discouraged if there are a few things that need adjusting, like the seat or handlebars. Most bike parts are adjustable, so just tweak them a little until they’re right for you.

Pay attention to your seat height. If it’s too low, you may experience knee and hip pain. Adjust it so that it doesn’t strain your joints.

Make sure your seat is comfortable. A hard or uncomfortable seat can make your back and butt ache after a ride, so find one that suits you.

Check the angle and distance of your handlebars. If they’re not right for you, you may feel discomfort in your hands and wrists, and it can even cause back issues.

If you need help with the fit – check out this article – Bike Fitting Basics

Aim to get it close to what you think you need for your first ride and adjust from there.  It may take some trial and error to get everything just right.  For me it was a whole week to find the perfect fit. 

You can also go to your local bike shop – they are always happy to help you find the right fit.   

So, don’t worry too much.  After a few rides, you’ll quickly figure out what works best for you.

4.  Find A Familiar Route

Start your biking journey off on the right foot by choosing a route that you’re familiar with. It’s up to you whether you want to drive or walk it first, I personally drove it first to gauge the distance.

I would suggest keeping your ride under 5 miles, and maybe even sticking to 2-3 miles for the first week or so.

Once you’ve found your route, take a walk along it.  This will give you a better sense of the inclines, which can be even more challenging on a bike.   Try to avoid steep hills and inclines during the first week or two, if possible.  This will help ensure that you’re physically prepared for the challenge.

Before you start tackling any hills, get to know your bike on a flat, comfortable route. Take some time to become familiar with the brakes, gears, and overall fit of the bike. Understanding how to change gears is super important, especially when you encounter hills. Remember to decrease the tension when going uphill and increase it when going on flat or downhill sections.

Address any issues or discomfort early on, so that you can feel more at ease mentally and physically while biking. If you’re not comfortable, it’s unlikely that you’ll stick with it.

Prioritize your comfort and make adjustments as needed.

Get out there and start your biking adventures with confidence! Remember, it’s all about taking small steps and gradually building up your skills and endurance.

5.  Setting Up A Plan and Sticking To It!

Take a moment to understand the significance of this step – it’s super duper important!

To achieve success, you must establish a plan and commit to it.

Let’s face it, riding can be tough, and it’s tempting to come up with a million excuses to postpone starting – excuses like “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

But ask yourself, will tomorrow be any different? Will you continue to put it off?

By creating a plan, you’ll increase your chances of success.

Start by determining the best time of day for you.  Maybe a morning ride is best for you – just get out of bed and hop on your bike to get it done before your brain wakes up enough to resist.

Or maybe taking your bike out during your lunch break works better – the encouragement from your coworkers can be a great motivator.  Alternatively, right after work might be the ideal time for you, as long as you make it a priority before other distractions come up.

Once you’ve chosen the best time for you, mark it in your calendar and stick to it.  Treat it with the same level of importance as a work project or family commitment.

Remember, prioritizing your health and well-being is absolutely okay.


You can start bicycling when you are unfit and 60, you just need to do a little prep work and maybe even a few lifestyle changes.

This could be the best thing that you can do for yourself to begin a healthy active lifestyle.

I have been riding now for a while and I am totally hooked!

I look forward to the 60-90 minutes of me time. A little fresh air, vit D, hormone release – just all of it!

It can make you a happier, healthier version of yourself. So don’t be afraid to give that bike a try!

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