Bicycling is great exercise for baby boomers, who may find running to be too hard on the knees, surfing too fraught with teenagers, golf too pricey and frustrating, and hula-hooping just all-around too embarrassing.
With cycling, though, it’s easy to just hop on a bike and take off. Of course, it’s good to have someplace safe to ride.
Ocean City, New Jersey, on the lower stretches of the Jersey Shore south of Atlantic City, knows how to make cycling safe and appealing, which helps keep people out of cars and improve physical fitness and air quality as well. Its longtime slogan “America’s Greatest Family Resort” is morphing into “America’s Greenest Family Resort.”
A bike lane (and walking/jogging lane) runs along the south side of the beautiful new bridge that connects Ocean City to Somers Point on the mainland, offering biking with a panoramic view of the inland waterway, passing boats, and prolific bird life.
Other roadways and bridges with bike lanes then connect back to Ocean City, providing a loop trail that runs for several scenic miles.
West Avenue, one of Ocean City’s main streets, which runs almost the entire length of the city, is outfitted with bike lanes for 40 blocks, while Haven Avenue has a 15-mph speed limit for cars for 25 blocks to offer safe cycling along it.
And until noon each morning, cyclists are allowed to ride the 2 ½-mile-long boardwalk that overlooks Ocean City’s sandy beach, offering another popular route.
In the past, my wife and I have cycled down the shore from Ocean City to Cape May, about 35 miles one way, which makes for a challenging but scenic four-hour run.
During our current vacation here, we’ve enjoyed bike rides of 15 miles on two days and 24 miles on another.
There are plenty of bike shops and rental places, and everywhere you look around town are cyclists — including lots of baby boomers.
All this makes Ocean City is one of the most bike-friendly resort communities in America — and one of the best places for boomers to come for exercise in the summer sun.
And there’s no visible lingering damage from Hurricane Sandy, either.
I hope Ocean City will stress its cycling-friendly nature in all its marketing efforts; along with its beaches and boardwalk, it’s a huge plus for vacationing boomers.