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A Review of the Book
Cycling After 50:
for fitness and performance through the years
By Joe Friel
Reviewed by Rick Price, PhD.
Note: Rick, a long time cyclist, is the owner and founder of Experience Plus! bicycle and walking tour company.
Joe Friel is widely know among bicycle racers and triathletes for his book,
The Cyclist's Training Bible: A Complete Training Guide for the Competitive Road
Cyclist, first published in 1996. The book bears the imprint of Joe's experience of more than
30 years of bicycle racing, coaching and training of athletes. So is it any wonder that as the author saw his book go to press at age
53, he looked at himself and the baby-boomers around him and thought "they need a book like this of their own?" Hence, the origin of
Cycling Past 50.
Why do we need a book of our own? (Yes, I'm over 50, too!) Because, as Joe demonstrates in the opening chapter, our systems begin to slow down, we tend to get slower, fatter (my word, not Joe's), and grayer. Take heart, though, fifty-plus readers, as only about 25% of our slowdown is physiological due to the inevitable aging process. The remainder is due to social/psychological factors. In short, we can stave off the aging process by following a "sensible program that combines high-intensity training, such as hills and intervals, with strengthening, stretching, a sound diet, and adequate recovery." As with anything, it takes time, focus, and good habits.
The book goes on to include chapters on basic training, advanced
training and racing (for those interested), and a chapter on "Rest and Recovery." In his view, Joe feels these last two points are
"the most important pieces of the training puzzle for the serious, past-50 rider." He concludes with advice on avoiding injury (through warming up, cooling down and stretching), food and
nutrition, and psychological preparation. His final chapter is called "Fit Forever." In it he addresses life style decisions that you might want to make to incorporate cycling and fitness into your everyday life. Bicycle commuting to work is just one of those. Other choices include making cycling a permanent part of your social routine by joining a cycling club or group that schedules
Joe's book on Cycling Past 50 leaves out some pointers that I would have included. But don't despair, many of those omissions are included in the brief guidelines that Joe has prepared for
ExperiencePlus! They include the ten-point Joe Friel list of "reasons to ride," a rationale for exercising and losing weight, and a list of seven points on how to get out of procrastination mode
and into pro-active cycling. Finally, Joe has given us his list of bike skills and short explanations on each. They include pedaling, balancing, aero positioning, braking, cornering, climbing and
In short, between this book and his ExperiencePlus! training program, there is a wealth of information here for the over 50 rider who wants to take charge of the aging process and become
a better cyclist at the same time.
If you would like to receive a free copy of the Joe Friel training program (not the book, the ExperiencePlus! training program) you should visit our bike tour ratings page, and send us an e-mail telling us the following:
How many hours you currently exercise each week (0; 1-3; more than 3), and
Which level of tour you would like to prepare for (101, 201, 301 or 401)
We'll send you the plan!
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