Returning to Cycling with a Stoma: Share Your Stories


In my younger days, I used to be a keen cyclist - I was even a Cycling Proficiency Examiner for primary schools - my parishes labeled it 'funeral prevention'!

Twenty years, weight gain, and a colostomy later, I'm thinking of getting a bicycle again. I'm realistic about how hard it is going to be physically at first to get fit (though I walk a LOT), but please would you share with me your experiences of getting back on a bike (a long time) after a stoma?

Thank you.


Hello Chris.
Thanks for posting your thoughts on getting a bicycle as this is something that I have some experience of.
Firstly, I don’t think that the stoma had anything to do with whether or not I took up cycling again, apart from the fact that my backside was sore and I had to ponder on which would be the most appropriate saddle.
My previous cycling days were split between cycling to work, which meant cycling to and from the train stations at either end on my fold-up; and cycling across country for pleasure on my mountain bike.
Since I got (much) older, the mountain bikes have been used less and less and I have converted my fold-up to electric powered. The electric bike was a preparation for old age, but once I started using it – I have to admit that it is addictive and I now prefer cycling to using the car.
I will also admit that it has been an extra pleasurable experience, watching all those vehicle drivers queuing up at petrol stations for fuel that cannot be delivered because of a lack of lorry drivers.
An interesting and unexpected bonus, is that cycling to work (for my latest job) now takes me less time on the bike than it did in the car and I don’t have to find (or pay for) a parking space.
Oh! I nearly forgot; for someone of my age, what was putting me off cycling a bit was the fact that we live in a valley so, almost every direction meant an uphill struggle. The electric bike takes care of that problem and the whole of these journeys are now most pleasurable. The electricity kicks in when the pedals are turned, so what exercise I get is gentle and relaxing rather than hard and sweaty. Just the job for avoiding hernias and the like.
Getting fit as we age, has to be placed in a slightly different context to that which we might have envisaged in our youth. For me, it is much more about enjoying life, rather than putting myself through a punishing regime and making it ‘hard’. After all, I am not likely to win any competitions at my age, so I look for things to do that will satisfy my desire for ‘contentment’.

Good luck with your choice of bike, but if you are thinking ahead, then I would definitely recommend considering going electric!

Best wishes

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Hi Chris P, absolutely get back on that horse (I mean bike). I recently did the same thing and love it. It took awhile to order a mountain bike due to COVID supply chain issues, but I finally got one. I have been doing a 9.2 mile mountain bike trail. My philosophy is I control the stoma as it is not going to control me. Good luck! Penguins7


Thank you both for this encouragement. Bill - electric bikes have come on a bit in recent years, haven't they? Your advice very much chimes with my wife's opinion.


Hi Chris, when I was taking care of my parents, I needed something to do. So, at a flea market, I bought a 1973 Peugeot 10-speed to restore and ride. I took it around the block once and said, "That's all, 40 years for me since riding." So, I decided to restore it and sell it. Each item I fixed, I would take it for a small ride. As I continued this, I found myself riding longer and longer. It really didn't take long. Hope you enjoy your bike.

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Hi Chris

Can't advise on proper bike because I can't ride one, unfortunately. Wish I could; it's something I really regret not being able to do. Even managed to fall off an exercise bike in the house. Good job there was a bed at the side. Good luck xx

Reply to Caz67

Hmm, thank you Caz! Sounds a bit like the old joke: 'Will I be able to play the piano after my operation, doctor?' Of course you will!' 'That's great, because I can't play the piano now!'


Chris, I have been a road rider for 45 years. I had an ileostomy 37 years ago and it hasn't stopped me. I know a lot about bikes and riding. If you have any questions, I would be happy to give you ideas.


Hi Chris

I've had my stoma (ileostomy) for 20 years, and the memories of my surgery and recovery - all successful - are as current as ever. I'm just 65 and live in London, and recently (2020) purchased a bike, primarily for daily trips to the supermarket. My first venture on a bike, since my surgery, was five years ago, when I hired one in Spain, for trips to the beach.

I avoid cycling on busy roads, preferring back streets, and sometimes take the bike on the train, and cycle in the area of the destination of my train journey.

My stoma has never presented a problem during my cycling trips.



Newbie Dana

It wasn't the stoma that put an end to my bike riding, it was the neuropathy in my feet from the chemo. I was having difficulty keeping my feet on the pedals properly. And to cap it off, I developed some intensely painful areas on the bottom of my left foot right where it goes on the pedal. I still have hopes for getting back on and riding - I have another appointment with my neurologist in January. (Don't you just love how long it takes to get an appointment anymore?)

But do get back on the bike. If you have no foot issues, there's nothing that the stoma will throw at you to prevent your riding.