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The Midlife Cyclist By Phil Cavell

Release date: 06th July, 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport

List Price: 13.99
Our Price: 10.99
You Save: 3 (21%)
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For many cycling enthusiasts, part of the Tour de France?s great appeal is that they can hop on their bike and ride the same roads, tackle the same hills and attempt the same perilous descents as elite pros who contest the race every year.

Not surprisingly, such is the Tour?s inexorable appeal that as the race progresses, a burgeoning number of people are seduced by its undulating course, beautiful French scenery and imposing mountains that they decide to either take up cycling for the first time or resurrect a love for two wheels that may have laid dormant for several decades. In other words, many folks converted by the Tour are not in the first flush of youth as you may have noticed over the past couple of weeks.

As Phil Cavell points out in his excellent The Midlife Cyclist, whereas few of our parents and grandparents participated in sport once they reached 30, this is no longer the case. ?Cycling,? he writes, ?is generally gentle on ageing joints, every ride carries a sense of adventure [and] it?s innately sociable.? This explains why 6.3 million UK adults are confirmed cyclists, an activity they follow either for sport or leisure.

Cycling is particularly popular with those in middle age, most of whom recognise their relative physical decline and understand how cycling can both defer that decline and boost cognitive health too. However, there are risks and pitfalls to overdoing matters. Referring to the age-neutral pursuit of speed and stamina, Cavell notes that ?Just because we can, does that mean that we should?? the line resonates throughout the book as he reminds readers to appreciate their physical limits.

Cavell believes we should simplify training, putting more emphasis on low-intensity cycling, while stressing the importance of rest and recovery. Most of this is common sense, a timely reminder for readers sprouting more than a handful of grey hairs that they?re not Chris Frome.

Finally, we must also expect to have our pride periodically bruised whenever we fall off our bike, usually at the most inopportune time. Dr Nigel Stephens, a consultant cardiologist and keen cyclist, pithily observes that ?As cyclists, we trade hugely improved cardiovascular and cognitive health for occasional orthopaedic trauma.? Another memorable line from a memorable book.

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