With a bit of luck, the riding we do as we grow older doesn’t have to be that much different to the riding we enjoy when we are young.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

"The Park." It's Sydney cyclist shorthand for Centennial Park. It's a meeting point, a relaxing green space and the safest place for uninterrupted riding near the city.

The Park is a place where keen cyclists of all types go if they want to add some extra distance to the end of a ride, or simply spin a few laps without interruption from traffic and lights.

Riding through the Park the other week I overtook a couple of older gentlemen.

"It's good to keep doing the exercise," one said. And then, "We didn't used to get overtaken by the girls."

They accelerated, rode by my side and reprimanded me for not saying hello. Fair call, I was thinking something similar and was grateful for the second chance to say g'day.

A few laps later we'd chatted about riding around Australia, biking holidays in Europe, how riding makes your body so much healthier compared to those who don't exercise, injuries, surgery, riding goals, racing, and one guy whose wife is happier when he doesn't go out on the bike.

There was laughter, heckling, cheeky banter, sprint points, other riders who came up to say hello, bling bikes and the shared happiness of being outside pedaling on a sunny, Sydney day.

I'd never met these guys before but the conversation, and pace of the ride, wasn't much different to social rides with any crew. Only these guys were 70, 73, and 83. If those numbers aren't right, they're close.

Needless to say, it was an inspiring ride. I look up to the way these guys make time for cycling most days of the week. I enjoyed hearing about the different freedoms they have for planning the week's rides when they're no longer fitting them around work.

I admired the high end bikes they were riding and read stories into the jerseys they wore; jerseys with memories of travel, adventures, extended cycling communities and a lifestyle that I aspire to live as well.

Most of all, I enjoyed being surrounded by people who were showing me that riding, as I get older, doesn't have to be that much different to the riding I enjoy today.

I hope that when I reach my 80s there are crews of mates in my local riding community pushing each other like these guys do. Given the amount of women riding for fitness now compared to 50 years ago, I hope there are more older ladies spinning laps in places like the Park as well.

With a bit of luck I'll be one of them. I wonder what the bikes, trails, cycle networks and green spaces will look and feel like then.