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Best Cruiser Bikes for Older Women – Baby Boomers

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.

beach cruiser bikes for older women

Best Cruiser Bikes Boomerinas.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.

Some people call these bicycles cruisers, some say comfort bikes, some say commuter bikes…and you have to figure out what all these similar words mean to the person describing various types of bicycles.

The kind of bike you want will have a shock-absorbing seat, a comfortable saddle, and a pair of wide tires. If you like old-school handlebars, those are called "sweptback" handlebars.

read about cruiser bikes with good reviews

List of Cruiser Beach Bikes

Not everyone feels comfortable on the same bike, and you need to actually sit on (and ride on) a bike to determine if the design is a good fit. For example, my husband has tried my absolutely wonderful Electra Townie bike and he doesn’t like it. On the other hand, I don’t like his bike. So, with that in mind, here are several bikes that get good online reviews:

  • Electra Townie: The Townie has a padded seat and is designed to be ridden in a comfortable, upright position. The bike I bought is a baby-blue Townie with 7 speeds. I also considered the Electra Amsterdam.
  • Giant Lifestyle Cruisers: I would try the Giant Simple Women's Bike or the Sedona.
  • Public Cruiser Bikes: Public bikes get great reviews and recommendations...and they are super cute.
  • Sun Bicycles Streamway: Sun Bicycles have the lowest, easiest entry I’ve ever seen, and if you have hip problems, this bike might be your best solution. From what I've found during my research, it looks like these bikes can only be bought in a "real" store, although one site said they had delivery.
  • Johnny Loco Dutch Delight: Johnny Locos are Dutch designs made in China.
  • Torker Big T Cargo Bike: The Torker site calls this an industrial-strength bike and it would definitely be good for transporting groceries or other necessities.
read about comfortable cruiser bikes for women over 40

Comfort Bikes for Women

Good Comfort Bikes Under $500:

If you have limited funds, you will have to decide if you are better off getting a new bike or a used bike.  I suppose it depends on the condition of the used bike.  Note: If a bike is difficult to pedal, it might mean the frame has been bent in a crash.

  • Novara Jaunt XX Women's Bike: Anything sold at REI will be good quality.  Even though I've never tried this bike, I would not hesitate to buy any product sold at REI.
  • LL Bean’s Runaround Cruiser Bike: I've read that this is actually a Schwinn bike, but the seat and handlebars are fully adjustable, and they move up or down and tilt backwards or forwards.
  • Specialized Low Entry Sport Expedition: Another good Specialized bike is the Women’s Globe Carmel 2.
  • Nirve Women’s Cruiser Bikes: Nirve has several different styles and the Nirve Lahaina Women's Bike gets good reviews overall.
  • Diamondback Serene Citi Classic: I’ve read that the seat tilts back, so this bike is easier on your knees.
  • Felt Women’s Cruiser Bicycle: Felt is well known for great quality racing bikes.
  • Schwinn Women’s Cruiser Bikes: If you need a cheaper bike, a new Schwinn can be bought for under $200, but I understand that they are not the same quality as the bikes of our youth.  On the other hand, they are easy to find and they get fairly good reviews.
  • Trek Cruisers: Trek has discontinued making cruisers, but their 2012 bikes are still online.  Also, you might find a used Trek on Craig's List. Treks get great reviews.

European City Bikes

If you've seen the Amsterdam train station with its zillions of bikes, you might want to try something like they use in Europe.

I've never ridden any of these bikes, but I understand that they are very sturdy and they can be quite heavy.  However, the people in Amsterdam are bike crazy and they've been using bikes for transportation forever, so they might know something we don't.

Everyone Likes Different Kinds of Bikes

You may love something like my Electra Townie bike or you may prefer a different bike design. For example, my bike has hand brakes not back-pedal (coaster) brakes...and you may only need one speed if you always stay on flat, paved bike paths.

To get specifics and more reviews, try googling different combinations of the following phrases, because all the sites use different terminology:

  • * Comfort Bike
  • * Step Through or Low Entry Bike (Technically, recumbent bikes and tricycles are also step throughs.)
  • * Beach Cruiser Bike or Cruiser Bike
  • * Commuter Bike or City Bike
  • * Amsterdam Bike or Dutch Bike
  • * Lady Bicycle or Old Lady Bicycle (seriously)
  • * Upright Bicycle
  • * Cargo Bike

If possible, you should go to a local bike shop, get fitted, and ride your bike around the parking lot (at the least).  Actually, you should try more than one store.  Tell the bike people your concerns, such as: arthritis in your hands, problems with your hips or knees, spinal stenosis, etc.  Also, let them know if you will be lugging your bike up the stairs or lifting it into a car.  Someone once described dragging a bike up the stairs as, "Like to trying to get your drunken friend home."

After you know what you want, go home and look online to see if you can get the bike at a cheaper price.  Basically, you will have to decide if you prefer a cheaper price or attentive, personal service from a local dealer.  Note: I've already taken my bike in to be realigned after my fender-bender.  However, now that I know my size, I might buy my next bicycle online.

I'm fairly certain that one of the bikes on this list (or something similar) will make you happy.  Most of us just want to ride.  We don't care how fast we go.  We just want some kind of exercise that doesn't hurt.

More Articles for Baby Boomers:

What to Wear if You're a Pear: Fashion Tips for Pear-Shaped Women

What to Wear for Cruise Formal Nights

Women Over 40: Mountain Bike Holidays for Low Impact Fitness

Yoga for Women Over 40: Stay Fit Flexible and Full of Energy

Photo Credits: Prshots.com & Flickr Creative Commons.

  • Main Photo: Maegan Tintari.
  • Best Cruiser Bikes Boomerinas.com: LaRedoute.
  • Best Bikes for Baby Boomers Over 50: Photo Vintage Schwinn ad with Doris Day.
  • List of Cruiser Beach Bikes: LaRedoute.
  • Comfort Bikes for Women: White Stuff.
  • City Commuter Bicycles for Women: Mayhem.

What do you think of this article? Leave a message at the bottom of the page or give me a Google Plus or put this article on Facebook. Thanks.

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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  1. Donna

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

  2. Christina Gregoire

    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.

  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

    • Ewa Gersin

      Haha! I have a thricycle, but it is stored away. My 25 year old son asked me not to wave to him when I pass him by. One of these days, I will dare to inflate the tires and take the tricycle for a spin.

    • Lola

      I have a Schwinn Town and Country trike that I really enjoy riding and get lots of complements on.

      The Schwinn bikes and trikes sold at places like Walmart are not the same quality of the ones sold only at authorized dealers. This article states "a new Schwinn can be bought for under $200, but I understand that they are not the same quality as the bikes of our youth". Check the ones sold at bike shops before making your own decision about buying a Schwinn.

  4. Christina Gregoire


    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.

    • 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.

  5. Christina Gregoire


    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

  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

    • Tina


      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:


      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.)

  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!

    • Tina


      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.

      • 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.

  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.

  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

  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? : )

    • Tina-Boomerina


      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.



  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.
    s observe some main types of driving which is a departing point for those who buy mountain bike.
    If this describes you, if you thought that you
    couldn't feel such pain as you do when you try to sit down on the bicycle saddle even
    another minute, then this article is for you.

    • Tina-Boomerina


      I'm sure you know way more about bikes than I do. I run into trees and I fall over when I ride. I'm hopeless, but I like riding anyway.

      Tina Boomerina

  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.

    • Tina-Boomerina


      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.

      Tina Boomerina

      • 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!

        • Tina-Boomerina


          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.

  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!

  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

  15. Loretta

    Please provide me information where I can find a 24" woman's cruiser bike. Thanks! Also, I am fooling forward to exporling this website.

  16. Tina-Boomerina


    Sorry for delay. I would actually go in and have yourself fitted for a bike. If you have an REI store where you live, that would be a good place. If not, go to a local bike store.

    If you want to buy online, you can get a "girls" 24" Schwinn bike that's probably similar to what I had as a child in the early 60s, but I've read that it's made in China now. It looks like they sell the Schwinn Catalina and similar bikes at Sears and Wallymart, however... I would recommend getting fitted for the correct size at a bike store. I don't know if the minimum wage salesclerk will be as good as the owner of a small store or a specialized store.


  17. Baby Boomer from 1950

    So shaking while riding my new Townie 3i is not unusual? What I seem to understand from this forum, is that the bike is not causing the shaking, but I am? It has been probably 15 - 20 years since I have ridden a bike, but I didn't dream it would shake and I would be scared! I bought it just to cruise and get some exercise. Thanks for any help, as I am trying to decide whether or not I should just sell it.

    • Tina-Boomerina

      Baby Boomer,

      Well, it could be the bike, of course. Take it into a bike shop and see if something is making it shake. I would go to a place that actually sells ONLY bikes or a sports place like REI. Also, make sure the bike is adjusted correctly for your height.

      I've had my bike checked out. Lots of places will do it for free, but it depends on who you get. Truly, my bike shakes because I'm nervous... haha. ... I'm still nervous when I see another bike coming toward me on a narrow path.

      Fortunately, I've found a cool area that's basically deserted and FLAT.

      If you decide you can't ride your bike, take a look at the adult tricycle at Walmart. There may be something else similar, but I was at Walmart (a place I dislike intensely) a while back and there were two big tricycle things parked in the bike rack outside.

      I'm considering one of these because I still get nervous with cars around and I wobble. The Walmart-ish tricycle looks like you're taking it to the store because it has a big basket in the back for groceries and such. So, it's a good disguise for someone who's unsteady on a bike.

      I just looked it up. The adult tricycle at Wallymart is by Schwinn. They have similar bikes at Sears and Target. You might also look on Craigslist.com if you live in a place with retirees or you live in a big city.

      You'll get good exercise, but I don't think you'd want to go up or down hills with most adult tricycles.


  18. Robin

    Thank you so much for all this info. At 50, I'm dealing with a herniated cervical disc. Since all exercise is too painful, I'm in need to try biking (want to ride with my daughter). Need a pain free ride and didn't know where to start. I went from no idea to too many. There are so many great choices!! Thanks for doing all the leg work!

  19. Tom

    I just saw a really low step-over bike called Biria. it's called the Easy Boarding. will check it out soon.

  20. Lola

    Check out the Schwinn tricycle at a real bike shop. The ones sold at Walmart and Target are not the same quality of the ones sold at an authorized dealer.