The Midlife Cyclist

Grow Old. Ride fast. Don't Die. The Book is out now on Bloomsbury

Posted by Philip Cavell

Midlife Fabian Cancellara

Damned with faint praise?

"Exercise is the finest drug that the pharmaceutical industry never invented"

The Midlife Cyclist

Power to Hurt

I had been thinking about The Midlife Cyclist for a while. Long before we hosted the two Midlife lecture Series at Cyclefit in 2017 and 2018. We had been tracking a trend for over a decade where our clients were both getting older but also training and riding harder - expecting more of both body and bike. And then in a handful of years, few things happened that lit a bonfire under midlife performance - power-meters, Strava and Zwift. Not only could we quantify and track our pain, but we could now also compare it to our friends and rivals pain all around the world. There were no limits now.

FTP to Crash-Test Dummies

FTP became the unabashed god. And we had become the crash-test dummies for future generations who wanted to explore elite physical fitness into middle-age and beyond.

Which posed quite a few questions:

  • Just because we can - does it mean we should? What are the health risks of intense training into middle-age and beyond?
  • If exercise is fundamentally healthy, is more exercise necessarily more healthy?
  • Is the advice different for male and female athletes?
  • Is the advice different for new-to-exercise athletes?
  • Is cycling sufficient on its own? Do we need to supplement with other activities?
  • Is there such a thing as too much exercise or training too hard?
  • Should middle-aged athletes change the way they train, eat, sleep, drink, live as they age?
  • Is alcohol harmful or beneficial as we age?
  • Is the research-based advice different for men and women athletes? (spoiler alert, it is)
  • How important is stress/inflammation as we age and train? Is this burden different for men and women?

The Midlife Cyclist is my attempt to square the holy triumvate of age, speed and good-health, using the very latest clinical and academic research.

You can buy The Midlife Cyclist here from Cyclefit or here from Amazon.


Signing a book for Fabian was bizarre - his jersey looms large!


The first books arrive at home

Quotes and Reviews

I am blown away by the level of detail Phil Cavell brings to his work ― Elinor Barker MBE, multiple world champion and Olympic gold medallist

Phil is eminently qualified to write the Midlife Cyclist. Well, he is certainly old enough ― Fabian Cancellara, Tour de France rider and two-time Olympic champion

An amazing accomplishment... a simple-to-understand précis of your midlife as a cyclist - you won't want to put it down. ― Phil Liggett, TV cycling commentator

A must-read... this brilliant book shows you that getting older doesn't mean getting slower! ― Alan Murchison, The Cycling chef and masters cycling champion

I'm determined to grow old gracefully in lycra, and Phil Cavell has been helping me to do it successfully for years ― Gary Kemp

Phil's book can help you be as good today as you always said you were ― Carlton Kirby, Eurosport commentator

The Midlife Cyclist is entertaining, insightful, well researched and vital reading for all youngsters over forty who have a love affair with the bike ― Norman Foster

He has an impressive ability to write about the subject in plain, unequivocal language. happy to (metaphorically) hold his hand up to personal foibles and predilections, he is also rarely dogmatic in his presentation; here are the facts, and here's what might help you cope with them. my only gripe is that he didn't write this ten years ago. - Brian Palmer -The Washing Machine Post


76 minute podcast with industry legend - Carlton Reid for The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast

About the author

Philip Cavell, Co-founder

Co-founder, bike fitter and bike designer, author. Phil rides a Seven Axiom XX custom titanium bike and an Airnimal Joey folding bike. He wrote The Midlife Cyclist and enjoys walking his dog, reading, politics and the outdoors. Phil's specialism is working with clients who have complex and frequently chronic issues. Phil is most at home working in a collegiate, multi-disciplinary team, to help clients resolve intricate issues.

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