You may never forget how to ride a bike, but you might have forgotten how fun it can be. The good news? With today's high-tech and ergonomic bikes and accessories, you can relive the joy (and health benefits) of cycling without making your joints sore. Here's what to look for:
- A bike designed for comfort. The variety of bike frame styles available today is good news for those with achy knees. Visit bike pro shops to learn about recumbent bikes, as well as "comfort bikes" that are made to ease stress on the body and increase stability.
- A softer seat. Look for a gender-specific, gel-padded saddle. Saddles with a notch forged in the center reduce pressure on the crotch.
- Proper pedals. Take it easy by using larger pedals. Bigger pedals require you to exert fewer pounds per square inch for propulsion.
- The right-width wheels. Wider wheels absorb more of the jarring from bumps and holes in the road. Narrow wheels, on the other hand, require you to expend less energy to propel the bike. A happy medium, such as a 1.5-inch tire, may be best.
- A smoother ride. Front fork and seat post suspension do a great job absorbing shock from pumps, so your joints don't have to.
- Lots of gears. Changing gears allows you to pedal at the same number of revolutions per second, despite terrain changes. The ability to change gears can ease stress on your knees. Make sure your bike offers plenty of gears (five or more is optimal), especially if you plan to ride hills.