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Balance, Safety, and Mirrors

June 25, 2019 12:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Balance does not remain constant with age. For a variety of reasons (OTC drugs, eyesight, cognitive losses, arthritis, etc, etc) as we age we lose our sense of balance. And as we already know, we lose our sense of hearing. What you say? Hearing I say.  Why do I bring these annoying facts up? 

Your safety while riding in a group depends on your motor functions. Here is a test. As you ride your bike down the street, turn around and look behind you, like you would if you heard a car. Are you still in the bike lane or did you just wander into traffic? I bet you wandered.  And if there was someone riding to your left they probably needed to swerve into traffic to avoid your swerve. And that is why you’ll often see two riders, riding abreast, separated by 6 feet! Not good. 

The issue of balance is compounded by hearing loss. Without good hearing, you will not sense the car behind you. So the car is near you, you turn to see, you swerve, your riding partner swerves, and we have a mess. I see this happen way to often.

Part of the problem has to do with the dynamics of time. We don’t view ourselves as creatures who change. The world changes, but not us. You might still think you have the balance and hearing that you did just 5 years ago.  Do the swerve test.

What can you do? The most immediate solution is to do is buy a mirror so you don’t lose your balance when looking behind you. Most people like the nickel sized mirrors that fit on sunglass frames. But if you are far-sighted you’ll probably need a different type of mirror. Any mirror is likely to help.

The long range goal is to improve your balance. I provide two articles that describe the balance issue and suggest plausible improvements. You’ll read that cycling helps your balance a bunch.

https://www.berkeleywellness.com/fitness/injury-prevention/article/keeping-your-balance-you-age

http://theconversation.com/explainer-why-does-our-balance-get-worse-as-we-grow-older-48197

Since we are a group riding club, we don’t want swerving riders, we don’t want riders separated by the width of a lane, and we don’t want car-oblivious riders. If you don’t stay in your lane when you look behind you, consider purchasing a mirror. Thanks from me and your riding buddies. 

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