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Best Cruiser Bikes for Older Women – Baby Boomers

Maegan-Tintari best cruiser bikes

by Christina Gregoire

You're a Baby Boomer? You want something that's low-impact exercise... because all your bones hurt when it's cold? You want something like your old Schwinn bicycle? Well, look for a cruiser bike with a low step-through.

After reading an article by Helen Smeaton, a fellow Boomerina, I decided to borrow my neighbor’s Amsterdam-style bicycle. Well, her "comfort" bike turned out to be a bit too high for me and I had a minor crash. However, I liked the feeling of being on a bicycle, so I went out and bought a new cruiser bike for myself.

Best Cruiser Bikes Boomerinas.com

Best Cruiser Bikes - Laredoute prshots.com

And, I love my bike.  So, I made a list of great cruiser bikes... so the rest of you Boomer Babes can have the same fun that I have (as long as some racing biker doesn't freak me out and make me crash... which happens less and less as I get more comfortable on my new toy).

Why did I make a list... why don't I just tell you to buy what I bought? Well, everyone likes something different because everyone's bod is different, and everyone rides differently.

Cycling Is Low Impact Exercise

I’ve had two major neck surgeries and I can only walk "so far" before my neck starts to hurt from the impact of each step.  Sure, I am able to mitigate the pain by wearing jogging shoes and walking on dirt or grass, but walking still gives me problems.

Well, I’ve discovered that riding a bike is just about the only low-impact exercise that I don’t detest. I hate indoor cycling on a stationary bike because I feel like I’m “spinning my wheels” and not going anywhere.  I hate walking in a pool because it makes me feel like a dork. And, I can’t swim because moving my arms for the crawl is excruciating and doing the breaststroke is worse because I’m forced to hold my head up in an awkward position.


So, as long as I can keep from crashing into people, biking is my new favorite thing. And, cycling is the only exercise program that I've liked enough to continue for more than a few weeks.  (Note: I should tell you that this is my first bike.  Well, in all honesty, I had a red Schwinn when I was little, but I was only allowed to ride my bike on our "fairly long" driveway.)

What Is a Baby Boomer Bicycle?

The kind of bike I bought is similar to the bikes you see when you go to Amsterdam. My new bicycle is shaped like an old Schwinn girl’s bike…you know…without the crossbar that goes right between your legs. (Funny…wouldn’t it be worse for boys to have that bar there if they jumped off wrong…I’m just sayin’…)
But, these days, instead of calling a bike with no bar “a girl’s bike,” they call it a step-through bike. Hey, I call it a European city bike, because I’ve seen both men and women riding this style around big cities in Europe.

Sbest bikes for women over 50 60tep-Through Bikes

Step-through bikes mean that you can step “through” the frame to get on them. What I mean is that you don’t have to swing your leg over a bar to mount or dismount your ride. Sometimes, the Amsterdam style of bike is called a Beach Cruiser, although I understand that Cruiser is used in a somewhat derogatory and condescending manner by speed-racer cyclists. Well, I don’t give a frog fart what others think. I love my bike because:

  • I can plant my feet firmly (absolutely flat) on the ground when I’m sitting on my bike.
  • The tires on my bike are a bit wider, so I can (almost) totally balance even when I’m stopped.
  • I can get off my bike quickly if I’m about to smash into a guardrail…although I did hit one at a low speed when I overextended my ability and started shaking…I forgot to take the pills that stop my hands from shaking. Don’t do that!

And, since I have almost no cycling experience, knowing that I can put my feet on the ground gives me more confidence. So, I ride more often. And, the more I ride, the better my balance gets.


List of Cruiser Bikes With Good Reviews

Most cruiser bikes for older people are meant to be ridden in an upright position, so look for high handlebars if your back kills you when you’re hunched over for more than a few minutes. And, when researching bikes, you really have to pay attention, because everyone calls their bikes something different. (Please be so kind as to continue to the next page by clicking on the number 2 or by clicking here.)

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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28 Comments

  1. Donna

    Most bike seats are very hurt my burr after a few miles. What do you recommend to void the pain/

    Reply
  2. Christina Gregoire

    Donna,
    I have never had a problem with my bike seat. However, my husband has and he uses a gel seat cover. I will do some research and get back to you in the comments.

    Reply
  3. Brenda Reeves

    I've been thinking about getting a bike. I've sworn that I won't get a three wheeler. People will think I'm old. lol

    Reply
  4. Christina Gregoire

    Brenda,

    I was considering a three wheeler after my little crash, but I went to a local bike shop to see what they had, and I fell in love with the first bike I tried...one of several bikes I researched quite a lot.

    Try a couple of bike stores and see what they show you. My bike is very easy to balance...so that's why I bought it.

    I knew right away it was love at first bike. However, other people like their own types of cruiser bikes better than mine...so you have to see what fits you. The fact that I can put my feet flat on the ground is a big help because I wobble more when I'm just starting up than when I'm going down the trail.

    The only thing I might have changed on my bike was to get one with coaster brakes (pedal brakes). When I crashed my bike it was (partly) because I forgot where my brakes were located. Fortunately, I always go slow around things I might hit.

    Reply
    • Christina Gregoire

      ps I looked in the area where my daughter moved (Phoenix) and I found several Electra bikes similar to mine on Craig's List. (I wanted to get my daughter a Townie bike but she's younger and wants a mountain bike instead.) So, you should try Craig's List in your area and see what you can find.

      Also, if you have an REI near you, my next stop was going to be REI. I like working with local companies (REI started in Seattle and I recommend them for any type of sport). However, I bought my bike at Gregg's another local Seattle store.

      Reply
  5. Christina Gregoire

    Donna

    Here is a link to an article that will tell you more than you will ever want to know about bike seats.

    (And, I would like to point out that some of the European bikes in my list have springs that you can see under the seats. Look at the photos.)

    Click here for Bike Seat Info

    Reply
  6. Karen Smith

    Hi Christina,

    I just purchased a Firmstrong 3-speed beach cruiser. I fell off the bike after I'd been riding for 15 minutes. Well, it's been many years since I've been on a bike. My husband adjusted the seat so that just my tip toes touch the ground whenever I'm on the seat. I think that's one of the reasons I fell. He said that if my feet touch the ground I'll end up having knee problems, but for me there seems to be a lack of control if I can't firmly touch the ground. Right now I'm icing a swollen and sore hand/wrist as that's how I broke my fall. What are your thoughts on seat height and knee related problems?

    Thanks, KaREN

    Reply
    • Tina

      Karen,

      I don't really know the answer. I'm afraid to go very far on my bike if I can't touch the ground because I once had some speed demon coming straight at me and I crashed into a guardrail because I freaked out. And, crashing hurts your knees (and your hands and your wrists) too! After that, I lowered the seat and I felt more confident because I knew I could jump off my bike if that happened again.

      My best guess - and I'm no freaking expert - would be to lower your seat for now so that you feel more confident while you're getting used to riding again. Then, when you know what you're doing and you feel like you have more control (if ever), you can raise your seat the way your husband wants you to.

      It's kind of a difficult choice... a Catch 22. Your husband is right, and the wrong height, seat tilt, and whatever can cause problems. But, if you freak out because you feel out of control, you could end up with something more immediate, like a broken wrist or a tear or a hairline fracture or whatever... and that would probably make you want to sell your bike on Craig's List.

      However, if you don't find an exercise you like, you will gain weight... and then just walking around will wear out your knees. Hence, the Catch 22.

      All the info that I see online seems to be for people who go long distances, in stretchy cycling gear, while riding titanium bikes, etc. The following info is fairly straightforward:

      http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bikefit/2011/11/knee-pain/

      What you should do is ignore everything I have said, go to a good bike store (a bike specialty store which sells nothing but bikes... or maybe an REI), and have someone at the store find the best settings for you... Hey, if you crashed, your bike might need a slight adjustment anyway.

      It doesn't matter where you bought the bike. There might be a slight charge, but those people know their stuff, so it's worth paying a few bucks... and they may not charge you anything if it's a quick fix.

      You should tell the bike guy (or girl) that you still feel wobbly and you like being able to plant your feet on the ground. They've heard it all before. And, having the guy at the store make the adjustment will take the husband-wife dynamics out of it. Husbands (and wives) always want to be right. The bike guy will be more objective than your husband or me or your mother-in-law.

      Personally, I like knowing that I can stop my bike without falling over. I like knowing that I can jump off my bike... just in case I'm heading towards a cliff... or some a-hole isn't watching where he's going.

      If I ever get to the point where I'm biking for really long distances I might change to a higher seat... but I'm not there yet. Right now, I would be happier if I had training wheels... if you know what I mean... but I would be laughing so hard that I would fall off the bike and REALLY hurt myself.

      Hey, you never really forget how to ride a bike, but my (very coordinated) 25-year-old daughter just broke her collar bone when her bike flipped - thank God she was wearing a helmet or she would have been in a coma or worse. So, in my opinion, the most important thing is safety. After that, the next most important things are long-term knee problems and wear and tear all that. But, I have to tell you that I once hurt my knee doing water aerobics, which was supposed to be impossible. So, you can tear your knee doing just about anything. That's life. Nothing is risk free.

      Take your bike to a bike guy... even if your hubster is a bike expert... and get another opinion. Those bike guys know everything. (Consider going on your own if you can get your bike into or onto your car without help.)

      Reply
  7. Rosanne

    I'm 67 and bought an Electra Townie 21 speed last December. Hadn't been on a bike in years, but rode 15 miles the first day out with absolutely NO knee pain or butt pain!!! I was so surprised and thought sure I would hurt. Recently rode a 15 mile fun ride to raise money for local bike trails. Was able to shift gears and remain seated for all the hills. This bike is wonderful. Am trying to figure out all the gears-so far only used the back ones. Plan to do the KATY Trail here in Mid-Missouri in the next month or so. Don't know what my maximum per day mileage is yet, but it is so nice to be back on a bike. I did get biking gloves which help with that "death grip" I seem to have, but no crashes and I can load the bike onto the bike carrier myself. Definitely get one of those! I LOVE my Townie, but am curious about checking out the TREK verve 4 hybrid, since there is a dealer locally and I am just curious. Also impressed with the philosophy of the Trek Company--but the Electra is still tops in my book. Happy trails!

    Reply
    • Tina

      Rosanne,

      I'm so glad you like your Electra Townie. That's what I have. I've tried other bikes but I don't know anything about the TREK verve. I'm sure the dealer will let you ride it if you leave your credit card with him/her.

      Personally, after my minor mishaps while trying other bikes, I'm a little nervous about figuring out something new. But, I'm a really really really bad cyclist... and I don't think I could stand any more neck surgeries... yikes! So I haven't tried most of the bikes on this list. However, I like anything that's solid like those granny bikes in Amsterdam.

      Tell us what you think of the verve after you try it.

      Reply
      • Tina

        actually I think my bro might have that bike. if it's the bike I just looked up, it has a bar that goes between your legs and I can't do that type of bike because I panic. But, most people aren't like me.

        Reply
  8. Bob Medlock

    For me after total knee replacement the Citizen Bike Barcelona is perfect. It is lightweight, sturdy, and has the lowest step-through. I am 67 . I've reduced all of my mefications over the last year. Over 1,000 miles with no maintenance or adjustments. I have no connection to this company other than being their happiest customer.

    Reply
  9. Tami

    Hi Christina.

    I want to thank you for the information on selecting a bicycle. I found it very informative and I enjoyed your sense of humor. I've been kicking around the idea of getting a bike, and your article helped me decide to "take the plunge". I wanted to read reviews before buying and found you, Boomerina (love the terminology!) I haven't ridden a bike since I was a teenager. I went to the local bike shop, and the recommended the Electra brand. I went home and researched their web-site and I could view all the ladies' bikes. I was happy to read how much you like your Townie! My first choice is their cruiser model, although I will need to try out the model at the bike shop first, to make sure I like the "feel" and more importantly if I can mount/dismount with ease due to my knee problems. Any problems and I will select the Townie! I explained to the bike shop manager, I don't need a bike for speed or to do "tricks" (LOL), I just wanted a bike for the sheer enjoyment of riding. And I feel a good quality bicycle, like what I hear about the Electra brand, is worth the price because it's an investment in my h

    Reply
  10. tami

    (Sorry Christina, I have a "touchy" keyboard)... last sentence... And I feel a good quality bicycle, like what I hear about the Electra brand, is worth the price because it's an investment in my health! I'm hoping the low-impact of cruising up and down a near-by bike path will not just improve my over-all health, but help (not hurt) my knees. Also plan to wear a helmet, because anything can happen even on a cruiser, right? : )

    Reply
    • Tina-Boomerina

      Tami,

      I definitely recommend a helmet if you are anything like me. I fall all the time, but I generally do okay... and riding a bike is the only exercise that doesn't kill my neck. I hope it works for you. Let me know.

      Cheers,

      Tina

      Reply
  11. shimano mountain bike

    Since I had spent about $40 fixing up the wheels, the pedals, and the brakes on the used Roadmaster bike I had, I decided to try to sell it on Craig's List for the same $40 that I had paid.
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    Reply
  12. Jennifer

    Thanks so much for all the useful info! Bicycle riding was always the one form of exercise I didn't hate, and between being overweight, recovering from herniated discs, and just needing some low impact movement, now that I've read this article I at least know what to look for.

    Reply
    • Tina-Boomerina

      Jennifer,

      I have a lot of disc problems, too. Just make sure you can put your feet on the ground if you start to feel wobbly. Hitting a tree will not help your discs... oh, and go slow until you feel steady.

      Cheers,
      Tina Boomerina

      Reply
      • Jennifer

        Tina, that's exactly why I don't feel comfortable using my old "English racer" that's sitting in my garage. Last time I took it out, I found that either a) the bike grew; b) I shrank or c) neither of those, but when I used to ride it the feet on the ground wasn't an issue for me. It sure is now!

        Reply
        • Tina-Boomerina

          Jennifer,

          I was never very good on those English racer bikes. I liked my old-fashioned Schwinn because I could jump off.

          Fortunately, there is a whole cottage industry of new bike designers... and many of the new designs are made for people like me. If you were comfortable on an English racing bike at one time, you will have no problem learning to ride again. You are MUCH more adept than I am.

          Reply
  13. Joanne Karstens

    Great take on the bikes. I recently bought a "cruiser" at Walmart for the simple pleasure of casual riding which I used to love when younger. I'm 75 now and waiting for a basket to come by mail in which to put my oxygen tank! Yes, I'm pretty brave but the bike will help me strengthen leg muscles with low impact exercise and enjoy riding our local Prairie Path for miles and miles. Thanks for all the info. I was lucky enough to find the perfect bike BEFORE I read your article and was spot on!

    Reply
  14. jane

    Thanks so much! I'm so encouraged to be brave, and get a bike!! I've so wished that I could find one that I felt somewhat safe on, and you have done a wonderful job helping me think I can do this. Regards,Jane

    Reply

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