Bicycling tips for seniors
Unless you are or have recently been an avid bicycle rider, you will find many things about bicycles have changed over the decades. I started riding again at age 67, after 50 years of not riding, and found it to be just as much fun as it was when I was a child.
I was a part of a neighborhood gaming group that for years met once a month. On a Saturday game night in 2013, the group decided to get bikes and add weekend trail riding to our activities. I spent all day Sunday researching bikes and decided a 2013 Raleigh Venture 4.0 comfort hybrid was the best choice for me since I have had neck problems for years. Then, on Monday I purchased one and that afternoon I went on a 5-mile paved trail ride, and I was hooked. During the year, I rode 1500 miles in 7 months, even after missing a few weeks due to a herniated disk and surgery.
Our group did leisurely rides on weekends, but on other days of the week I did solo, turn and burn rides, usually a 17-mile ride on the Salem Creek Trail/Salem Lake Trail Loop (Marketplace Mall to the dam, around the lake, and back to the mall) here in Winston-Salem, NC. My best time for the ride is 1:07:50. My longest solo ride has been a 36-mile ride on the New River Trail in Virginia, where I had my first flat.
The other riders in the group seldom ride anymore but I still ride regularly. As of 2020, I have ridden 8,728 miles on trails at an average speed of 12 mph.
Biking benefits to seniors
The following are a few of the things I have learned about getting started into biking in your later years:
- You will have fun. The beautiful views, the constant breeze you generate and the smells it brings, and the constant body movements you must make to avoid people and obstacles and keep your balance, the exercise, and the new skills you learn to ride properly make the time fly by. Walking is slow, takes up a lot of time, and is boring since the scenery moves by so slowly. Running is faster, but it is punishing to all parts of your body. Biking is fast enough not to be boring, it doesn’t take much time, and you don’t feel beat-up like you do after a run.
- It is healthy. In general, running burns more calories per minute than cycling, although the differential slims if you cycle vigorously. According to broad calculations from the American College of Sports Medicine, someone weighing 150 pounds who runs at a brisk seven minutes per mile will burn about 1,000 calories per hour. That same person pedaling at a steady 16 to 19 miles per hour will burn about 850 calories in an hour. While walking burns about 360 calories per hour at a 4-mile-per-hour pace.
Both running and cycling help increase your aerobic capacity, which is linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease and a longer life span. Strenuous running and cycling lower the blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone known to stimulate hunger. However, runners are prone to both acute and chronic injuries. Cycling is not a weight-bearing activity, so it is better for your knees and joints and it does not cause much muscle soreness.
Walking, running, and cycling each have advantages and disadvantages. Try them all and see which one or combination works best for you.
- You will fall. It may not happen often, but if you ride a lot, it will happen. Just remember, walkers, joggers, and runners also fall. Most cycling falls will be from a stopped or almost stopped position because you started in the wrong gear or got tangled up while stopping. Most falls only hurt your pride, but you will probably still get injured to some degree, even if it’s just a scratch. If you wear proper equipment, injuries may be lessened when you fall, but when you fall, something must hit the ground first, so you need to learn how to fall properly. Don’t let a fear of falling stop you from biking; people are seriously injured and die in car accidents every day but that doesn't stop you from driving.
- It helps fight aging. Every morning that you wake up, you find you are a day older, and there is nothing anyone can do to change that fact. However, you do have some control over the effects of aging. How you eat, exercise, and keep your mind stimulated have a great effect on the affects aging and your perceived age. Get up and get moving. Everyone has aches and pains as they get older. You can sit a recliner watching TV feeling sorry for yourself or you can be out in nature riding your bike. You will still have the pains either way, but when riding you will be enjoying life and helping extend it.
Where will you be biking?
When you decide to start bike riding, you first need to decide where you will be doing most of your riding. Here are some commonly used areas; there are other places to ride but these are the ones most used by seniors.
- Open road. Seniors bike on open roads for commuting or fitness because that is all that’s available, or because they like to bike on roads. The problem is that they must compete with motorized vehicles for lane space; and, when cars and bikes fight for space, cars always win.
- City streets. Seniors ride city streets for commuting, fitness, or errands, because that is all that’s available or because they like to. Some streets have bike lanes but n most bike lanes you still must compete with large vehicles. Riding on sidewalks gets you off the streets; just remember that pedestrians always have the right-of-way. Check your city’s laws regarding biking on sidewalks, some permit it, some have limitations, and some do not permit it.
- Singletrack off-road trails. Singletrack off-road trails may be fun to ride and a way to get into nature, but you need an off-road capable bike and even an easy trail rating may be too difficult for some seniors to handle.
- Boardwalk/hard beach/sand. These seashore rides are for fun, not so much for fitness. For riding in loose sand, you need specialized bikes.
- Paved or prepared surface trails intended for bike riding. These trails are for fun or fitness and are usually the safest places to ride. Rails to Trails trail rides are fun since they usually run through valleys and the hills have a low grade due to the freight trains that once used them. Many city trails have an under or overpass where they cross streets, so you never have to worry about cars.
Find the best bike for you
There are many other types of bikes for specialized uses, but these are the types most senior riders will use.
- Road bikes. Road bikes have frames designed for speed on pavement. Once you leave the pavement, they become more difficult, or even dangerous, to ride. They are light and have dropped handlebars that keep you bent forward to lower wind resistance, which puts pressure on your shoulder arms and wrists, causes you to have to lift your head to see forward, and may make it harder to breathe if you are overweight. They have small, thin, hard seats made for efficient riding, not comfort. They have narrow, highly inflated, hard tires that have little rolling resistance, but make for a rough ride and the tire will cut down into any soft surface like a knife, which may cause loss of control. The tires are also more difficult to remove and replace in case of a flat. There are no front, rear, or seat stem shock absorbers, so the ride is rough. To help smooth out the ride, the frame is made to flex, which makes the bike feel squirrely. If you have any type of joint or spine problems, these types of bikes will probably not be for you.
- City bikes. City bikes are similar road bikes but are more comfortable and have features that help you deal with common city street hazards, such as storm grates, curbs, and manhole covers. The handlebars are flatter, so you do not have to lean forward as much, and the tires are a little wider and allow lower air pressures for smoother riding. The frames are less flexible than road bikes and feel more solid to ride. They may have front or rear suspensions and may have fenders, bags, or racks.
- Mountain bikes. Mountain bikes are a little heavier and stronger to withstand the rigors of trail riding. They have flat handlebars, brakes that help shed mud, fatter tires with more aggressive tread, and may have front and rear suspensions to help handle obstacles such as rock, roots, and gullies. Many have large 29-inch tires that offer more stability off-road but less agility on the road, and because of their frame design, you may feel as though you are sitting in the bike instead of on the bike. Mountain bikes are suitable for paved or prepared trail riding but tend to be slower.
- Hybrid bikes (this is the type of bike I have now). Hybrid bikes look like mountain bikes but are less rugged. They are like a jeep; they do okay off the road and okay on the road but are not great at either. They let you go most anywhere if you are careful.
- Comfort hybrid bikes. THIS IS MY RECOMMENDATION FOR ACTIVE SENIORS. These are hybrid bikes with many comfort features. They have semi-fat tires with a semi-aggressive tread that gives you good traction on any surface while still allowing you some speed on pavement. They have wide seats with foam, inner springs, springs under the seat, and a shock absorber in the stem. The handlebars are flat or raised, slightly pulled back, and have comfort grips with flared ends that allow you to rest your palms on them to take the stress off the wrists. The handlebar stem has an adjustable neck that allows you to change its angle, which along with adjustment of the height of the stem and the rotation of the handlebar itself, which allows you to adjust for anything from a forward lean to an upright riding position. The frame is light and designed for comfort.
I think the comfort hybrid is the best bike for active seniors since it may be adjusted to fit almost any physical problem you may have, and it is easy to ride on any surface. For me, I was still able to ride with a C5-C6 herniated disk for months, with the help of pain meds, until my neck fusion surgery gave me pain relief. For those who want to push things a little more, it can maintain riding speeds above 20 miles per hour if so desired, but that is beginning to push its limits since it is not designed for speed.
- Cruisers. Cruisers are like the bikes of the 1950s. They are heavy, have fat tires, one or three gears, pull back handlebars, and big seats. They are for casual rides and can be ridden on beaches in the sand.
- Flat-footed bikes. These bikes are cruisers with an elongated frame that lets the seat be lower and allows you to put both feet on the ground while sitting on the seat.
- Bicycles built for two. These bikes allow two riders to ride on one bike with both riders contributing to the pedaling. It takes practice by both riders to learn to ride them safely.
- Trikes. Trikes are three-wheel bikes that practically eliminate the chance of a fall and allow you to carry cargo. They are heavy and difficult to transport.
- Recumbent bikes. These bikes may have two or three wheels and allow you to sit back and have the pedals in front of you rather than under you.
Some advantages of recumbent bikes are:
- They may help reduce wrist or neck pain.
- Since the rider's legs are nearly at the same height as the heart, this reduces the rider's hydrostatic pressure, thus allowing venous blood to return to the heart more easily.
- Recumbent riders are not bent over as are conventional bike riders, which makes breathing easier.
- Their low center of mass and shorter distance from the ground significantly reduce the consequences of a fall for the rider. In a fall, the rider cannot be pitched headfirst over the handlebars.
- Since the rider is lower to the ground, rider visibility is limited, and the bike and rider are more difficult to be seen.
- On trikes, the inherent stability of three wheels allows very low gearing to be used, so hills can be climbed without strain on joints.
- On declines, on the flat, or shallow inclines, the more horizontal recumbent bicycle designs are generally faster than upright bicycles for the same level of effort because the aerodynamic profile of the rider reduces wind resistance.
- Riders may continue pedaling during tight turns without the pedals striking the ground, although recumbents have a larger turning radius than most conventional bicycles.
Some disadvantages of recumbent bikes are:
- Two-wheel recumbent bikes are less stable at low speeds and it’s more difficult to get started from a stop.
- Their large turning radius makes them less maneuverable.
- It is difficult to jerk the front wheel onto a curb and their low ground clearance makes it difficult to get over obstacles such as curbs.
- On hills, since you cannot stand and pull on the handlebars, you must use very low gears and thus climb very slowly.
- Since the frames are so long, it is difficult to transport recumbent bikes or trikes.
- With its extended front end, you have a poor sight angle to see around sharp corners.
- They are more expensive than upright bikes of equivalent quality. Most are hand-built in comparatively small runs by independent manufacturers, usually with high specification components and nonstandard components.
- Since you cannot shift your sitting position very much, you may get a "recumbent butt," a pain in the gluteal muscles caused by their increased effort while being compressed.
- A type of injury that may occur on a recumbent bike is called "leg suck." It occurs when a foot touches the ground and the bike runs forward over the foot.
Things learned from experience
Here are some tips I have learned from riding.
- You get what you pay for. If you get a cheap bike, you will probably have quality problems and things will break, the salesperson will probably not know how to fit the bike to you, and you will probably get little to no support from the seller after the sale. All this means you will probably not enjoy riding and will soon stop riding. Quality bikes will start at about $300. Independent bike shop personnel will know what you need and be able to find you a bike that suits your needs, your body, and your budget, and you will get support and service after the sale since they depend on your patronage.
- Get a frame size that fits your body size. The overall frame size must fit your body and then the seat height, seat position, handlebar height, handlebar position, and handlebar stem angle must be set for your body. If these things are not done correctly, you will not enjoy riding and will soon stop riding.
- Wheel size. Adult bicycle wheel sizes vary between 26” and 29” in diameter. Which size is best for you?
- Bottom bracket location. Another benefit of a larger-diameter wheel is the relationship between the bottom bracket (where the axle of the two pedals is supported) center and the wheel axles. A lower bottom bracket lowers the center of gravity and makes you feel as though you are sitting lower on the bike and gives the chassis a more stable feel while cornering. The bottom bracket center of a 29er bike is lower than the other sizes, which puts much of the rider's weight well below the axles for a greater stabilizing effect.
- Angle of attack. When the wheel contacts a bump, say a two-inch block of wood, a line is formed from where the wheel first contacts the top edge of the block to the point where the wheel; contacts the trail. The shorter this line, the steeper the angle the line will be, and the harder it is to get the wheel up and over the block. The smaller the diameter of the wheel the steeper this line becomes until it reaches the point where the wheel is too small to get up and over the block and stops dead in its tracks. The difference between the strike angle of a 26-inch wheel and a 29-inch wheel (over the wooden block) is only about 5 percent, but the cumulative effect of rolling up and over 5-percent steeper bumps and ditches over thousands of times a mile adds up quickly. The larger diameter 29-inch wheel has noticeably less rolling resistance over rougher ground.
- Wheel mass. A 29” wheel has more rolling mass than a 26” wheel. Theoretically, a 26” wheel will spin up faster, but the 29” wheel will spin for longer. Therefore, a 26er will get up to speed faster, but a 29er will make it easier to maintain speed. Some comfort bikes come with 28” wheel that sort of takes the middle ground.
- Maintenance. Use the Internet to find out how to perform minor maintenance. If you do major maintenance, you will need specialized tools. If you don’t want to do your own maintenance, this is where having bought your bike from an independent shop will come in handy. They have contacts with bike manufacturers that may save you money. I ruptured the sidewall on my rear tire from hitting a rut too hard and my shop got Kenda to replace the tire for free.
- Wear a helmet and keep a snug fit. If you don’t see the need for a helmet, then you are probably correct since there is obviously nothing inside your skull worth protecting.
- Wear gloves. The choice is yours as to how much skin you want to protect. When you fall, you will probably use your hands in some way to lessen the results of the fall, the more skin that is protected by leather, the better for you. Some gloves have open fingers, and some have pads on the palms.
- Tubes leak. Tubes leak air over a day or two, so before each ride, check the tire pressures.
- Flats. You will have a flat tire at some point, so have all the equipment to repair it with you and know how to repair it. Use an under the seat bag or backpack to hold everything you need. Some things you need are a small bag containing two 17-gram CO2 tubes and an inflator, two tire tools, a tube patch kit with stick-on patches, and a spare tube in case it’s needed. Once you get a tire off and the tube out, you must find the leak, keep a small air pump on the frame to use to pump up the tube to help find the leak and ensure it is not leaking after the patch. Then, after reinstalling everything, use the pump to make sure the tube is seated correctly and use the CO2 to inflate the tire quickly and easily. Have a cover over the CO2 tube or use gloves when inflating with the CO2 because the tubes will get freezing cold when discharging. Watch YouTube videos to see how it is done.
- Removing a tube with the tire on the bike. If the tube is not completely flat, press the valve in the tube stem to release all air. Use tire tools to remove the tire from the rim on one side. Pull the tube out leaving the stem in place in the rim. Find the leak and patch it. Using patch location as a reference, feel inside surfaces of the tire at the patch location to try to find something protruding that might have caused the flat and remove it.
- Bags. There are all types of bags you may get to use to carry whatever you need. I use a small bag (from Walmart) that fastens between the top rail and front stem to hold a universal tool and some baggies to keep other things handy and dry, such as a cell phone or map. The bag makes it easy to store and get to commonly used items.
- Install a noisemaker. Walkers, joggers, and even bikers use earbuds playing loud music and they usually have their heads up their asses. I have used “bike on your left,” yelling, a bell, an Ooga horn, and a whistle, to warn them of my approach, but, for some people, none of these things work.
- Use easy fire shifters. Some people may like the twist grip gear shifter, but the easy fire thumb and index finger shifters make shifting quick, easy, and precise. One thing many people miss is that, on the lower, right thumb shifter (that shifts the rear derailleur), if you push it one click, you downshift one gear; however, if you keep pushing it will click again into another lower gear, and if you keep pushing more it will click into a third lower gear. This may come in handy if a hill suddenly becomes steeper and you need to downshift more than one gear. This only applies to this one lever; all the other levers only move one click.
- Make a parking brake. Mount a zip tie around the left handlebar grip. Make it loose enough that you can hook it around the front brake lever to lock the front wheel, but you still will be able to slip it off the lever and push it over the shifters and out of the way. Use it to keep the bike from rolling when leaning it against an object.
- End bars. End bars are the vertical bars mounted on the end of the handlebars to make it easier to stand while climbing a hill. I have found that, if you have neck problems, they let you spread your arms out wider to relieve some pressure that builds from keeping your hands lower and closer together on the handlebar. I've also found they help prevent the ends of the handlebars from snagging on things, such as when getting too close to a chain-link fence of the side of a bridge.
- Pedals. Comfort bikes come with comfort pedals that have rubber treads on them. Even for casual riding they can become slick and cause your foot to slip off. Proper pedaling is to place the ball of your foot on the pedal. With the comfort pedals, your foot keeps creeping forward causing you to have to reposition your foot. It is best to switch out the pedals for pedals with metal teeth on them for a better grip. If you buy them at a shop, the shop will probably install them for free. Even with these pedals, your feet may slip with aggressive pedaling or when you miss a gear while climbing a hill.
Some people use toe clips that have a front stop and an adjustable strap that goes across the top of your shoe to hold the foot in place. Serious riders use clipless pedals that have slots that fit a cleat on the bottom of a special riding shoe and lock the shoe into the pedal. You must rotate your foot outward to release the cleat. Both these keep your feet in place and let you get lifting power on the upstroke, but it is difficult to get your feet free in an accident, which means, if you fall, you will go down with the bike, which means you may land on bike parts that may injure you and you cannot fall properly.
I dislike both the clip and clipless pedals. Due to many years of martial arts training and motocross racing, I have learned how to fall properly, which means getting clear of the bike, not reaching with the hands, hitting as flat as possible, keeping the head up, keeping the arms tucked in, and rolling when possible. I can’t do any of this if I am locked into the pedals. Therefore, I use “U” shaped toe stops that fit on the front of the pedals. Your shoe slips in and out very easily, but they keep your foot positioned correctly and allow some power gain on the upstroke.
- Wash your bike. Wash or wipe your bike after dirty or wet rides, especially after winter rides on road salt. When washing your bike, use a citrus-based spray, and use the shower setting on the nose nozzle, don’t use high-pressure settings. Get a set of various size brushes to get into all the cracks and crevices, toothbrushes, bottle brushes, and specially made long bristle gear brushes work great.
- Chain, gear ring, and cassette cleaning and lubing. On a new bike, the factory chain lube will probably be good for a few hundred miles of normal riding. I ride 50 miles a week, half of which is on a packed cinder trail. I used to use an oil-based chain lube, but it collected the cinders and packed them between the gears on the cassette and wore out the chain in 800 miles. I got a new chain, cleaned the cassettes and front gear rings spotless, and switched to a wax-based chain lubricant. I lube the chain every 100 miles. Now, after 600 miles, the drive system looks spotless and the chain has little wear.
Oil lubes are good for wet rides because they resist washing off and resist rust more than wax-based lubes do, but wax-based lubes keep the drive system clean, since the dried wax does not attract dirt, and thus keeps everything, including you, clean. I use Easy Lube, which you can get at Walmart. If you use an oil-based lube, then use one of the specially made chain cleaning devices to clean the chain regularly. They work great and make the job easy, just use any citrus-based cleaner in them.
To help in lubrication, tie a piece of lightweight string through a link and use it as a starting point, then you will know where to stop after one revolution.
Only lube the ends of the chain rollers between the link plates. After lubing, spin the cranks and shift through the gears a few times. Then grab the chain with a small hand cloth and crank the chain a few times to wipe off any surface residue. Use the same cloth each time and you will always leave a small amount of lube on the chain to prevent rust. DO NOT lube the cassette or gear rings.
- Basic tools. You need a combination bike tool that has all the screwdrivers and hex wrenches you need to adjust a bicycle. If folds into a small size that is easy to carry.
- Chain break. Having a chain break can be anything from a nuisance and a long walk back to the car or a wheel lockup that could cause serious injury or death. Therefore, check your chain for wear every few hundred miles. You can get an inexpensive tool that lets you quickly check the chain for wear. A worn chain may be noisy, not shift well, and may wear the gears, which will be even more expensive to replace. You may buy a chain and an inexpensive chain breaker and replace chain the chain yourself or have it done in a shop. To be prepared on a long trail, carry a chain breaker, and master links to repair a broken chain.
- Maintenance stand. If you do any work on your bike, including washing and chain lubing a bike work stand is a great tool. As with everything else, you get what you pay for. Cheap ones are unstable, shake, fall over, scratch your bike, are difficult to adjust, and are difficult to store. The Best I have found is the Spin Doctor Pro G3 Work Stand sold by Performance Bicycles. It costs $200 but it’s frequently on sale for $150 or below. It is stable and easy to set up and store.
- Water. Carry and drink lots of WATER regularly when you ride; when you feel thirsty, it’s too late. I had a bad collision with a brightly painted yellow pipe that I did not see because of dehydration that had caused me some disorientation. On hot days, or hard rides, you will need to drink at least one liter of water an hour. That’s’ a lot of water. Water backpacks make carrying and drinking the water easier. With a water pack, you will find you drink much more water on a ride since it is so easy to do.
- Extra things to carry on a ride:
- First aid kit. I carry a plastic zip food bag with some alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, large band-aids, aspirin in case of a heart attack, ibuprofen for pain, and a long strip of Velcro for a tourniquet.
- Power bar. Good for a burst of energy and may be useful when riding with a diabetic.
- Bike lock. A small cheap one may be used to lock several bikes together when making quick stops. If you need to lock your bike for long periods, get the best lock you can afford.
- Phone. Cheap mobile phone programmed with emergency numbers to park offices and such.
- Legal knife. Type and blade length varies by state. Use a tool and for self-defense.
- Pepper spray. For use against people or wildlife.
- Concealed firearms where permitted. North Carolina legalized their carry when on trails and greenways and in parks. There are bad people everywhere.
- Emergency whistle. If you fall into a ravine, yells may not he heard. Three rapid tweets on a whistle are an emergency call.
- Extra clothing. Prepare for possible bad weather and weather changes.
- Rain parka. They are light and help keep legs and shoes dry.
- Maps or GPS. If you are going into unfamiliar territory.
- Clothes. You may ride in almost any type of clothing. You don’t need to buy expensive cycling clothing that makes you look like a road racer. In warm weather wear shorts and a tee-shirt. Shirts and shorts that don’t absorb moisture are great for keeping you cool, even in worn under other clothing. Compression shorts worn inside regular shorts let you slide around inside the regular shorts and make it easy to move around on the seat. For men, they help keep important things out of the way.
- Mirror. When riding a bike anywhere, a mirror is especially useful. It lets you see approaching riders and stragglers in your group. I use a Mirrycle mountain bike mirror that fits inside the end of the handlebar, is unobtrusive, is highly adjustable, and makes it easy to glance over and see what is behind you. The mirror’s horizontal bar easily folds inward out of the way when in tight areas or for storage. With the mirror in its ideal use position, use white touch-up paint to make a line down across the swivel joint; using this line may swing the mirror back into the perfect position.
- Bike carrier. Most people must transport their bikes to their riding locations. There are many types of bike carriers to choose from. For women’s’ bikes without an upper frame bar, you must purchase a detectable bar to use with many types of carriers.
I have used a Saris Bones two bike unit. It fits almost any vehicle and is easy to install. The trunk can still be opened with it installed. Once adjusted, it is easy to uninstall and reinstall for the next ride or to uninstall and store in the trunk to prevent theft.
I ride about every day so I leave the unit attached to the car. To prevent theft, I run a 15-foot rubber coated braided cable through the center bar of the unit, under the bumper, around the car frame, and back up to the center bar where I lock the two ends of the cable together. When bikes are loaded, I just unlock the lock, route one end of the cable around the bikes, and then relock the ends of the cable. It’s quick and easy. It’s not going to stop dedicated thieves so it is not for long-term stops, but for trail parking lots or at food stops it works great.
Some other tips are to spray silicon spray on the bike mounting straps to make them slide easier; the silicone does not attract dirt. After mounting the unit to your vehicle, fold over the loose ends of the mounting straps and use short Velcro tie strips to secure the ends to the straps. To remove the unit, loosen the side and bottom straps; don’t loosen the top straps; then when you reinstall the unit, you may quickly install it in its last position.
- Wind. Studies have shown that wind that comes from any direction within a 200-degree arc in front of you, hinders you. Wind that comes from any direction within a 200-degree arc behind you helps you.
- Handlebars. Handlebar width should equal shoulder width.
- Railroad tracks. Cross railroad tracks near the side of the road; it is usually smoother there. Always cross tracks perpendicular so your wheels do not get trapped beside a rail.
- Tires. The rear tire wears twice as fast as the front tire, so should switch the front and rear tires every 500 miles for more even wear.
- Potholes. When hitting a pothole, railroad track, or other obstacles, stand and jerk upward on the handlebar just before impact to lessen the chance of a crash.
- Coasting. On descents, your bike is much more stable when you are pedaling than when you are coasting.
- Thieves. Thieves will steal your bike, or anything attached to it, so be aware.