Cycling Past 50 by Joe Friel

by ExperiencePlus! - Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cycling Past 50Read more about Joe Friel and his personal training business at

(Note: Have a look at this review and buy this book for yourself or your cycling companions; it would make an excellent Christmas gift! But if you don’t take your cycling this seriously or you’re not interested in the science behind aging and keeping in shape, then call us or send an e-mail and request the Joe Friel training program which Joe prepared explicitly for ExperiencePlus! cyclists. Designed for those who want some guidance in training for a multi-day bicycle tour, it is custom built depending on whether you are over or under fifty and whether you currently exercise or not. The program is also geared to the level of bike tour you are preparing for (see our web site). Come to think of it, you might want to request Joe’s training packet & buy the book!)

Why do we need a book of our own? (Yes, I’m fifty-three this year!) 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 regular rides.

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 descending.

In short, between this book and his ExperiencePlus! training program, there is a wealth of information here for the over fifty 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 answer the following:

1) Your age

2) How many hours you currently exercise each week (0; 1-3; more than 3), and

3) Which level of tour you would like to prepare for (101, 201, 301 or 401)

(Since this review was written, we’ve made the training programs publicly accessible here in the Reading Room. Click here for a form that will ask you the above questions and take you right to the appropriate plan!