Lifestyle People

Never Too Old To Learn – INTERVIEW

A relationship with cycling. It’s no fling, it’s long term. Us, you – we’re both in it for the long haul.

There are ups and downs, like any relationship, of course. An ill-timed puncture, a painful get-down, one hill too many. These are feelings that are easily forgotten. Replaced with thoughts of riding camaraderie, a new cake at your favourite café stop, a Strava PR.

A quick conflab amongst the pines of Cannock Chase, UK. It’s January 2017, and the first encounter with Alf and his mountain bike. There’s a chill in the air. Don’t stop for long.

We shoot the breeze and exchange some small talk. How are the trails riding? Hasn’t it been cold recently? We snap a picture and part. Seed sown.

senior mountain biking

Nearly two years later back at Cannock and Alf is here again with some words of wisdom on life, mountain biking and what it means to be 82 years young.

“I started mountain biking when I was 70 years old. I had just had cancer and I decided I needed some exercise to keep me well or try and get me fit again.”

“My youngest son, one day he turned up with this second-hand bike and said, ‘here you are Dad, have a ride on this, see how you feel just riding the canals.’”

“While I was riding the canals, I met one or two other riders on what seemed like different bikes to mine. Mine was very old-fashioned. I got talking to them and they said, ‘have you been to Cannock and tried the mountain bike courses?’ They asked me to go over with them one day, and I did, I fell off, they picked me up and that was it, I was hooked.”

 

Three times a week, four in summer.

“You only have to look around you. Fresh air, exercise and good friends. It’s good on your body, it’s not harmful on your knees, everybody should try it.”

“When I’m riding around here and I see families riding around with their little ones and see them achieve something for the first time, a jump or a drop or getting over a hill. The look on their face is what makes it.”

 

Age, it’s just a number.

“The general reaction when people see me riding is: ‘oh he’s been riding sometime.’ And when we get talking and I say I’m 82, most of them want to shake my hand or have a selfie taken with me.”

“I know lots of 70-year-old riders, who are really, really good and obviously much better than me, but it’s not too late to start at 80, you don’t have to go mad, just enjoy it.”

senior mountain biking

Starting out.

“My advice really if you do start taking a real interest in biking, you don’t have to do anything difficult, just ride around, with the children if you like, and soon after you’ve done it a few times, you’ll think, well, I’d like to do this a little bit more.”

“Get some experience from more experienced riders. Once you get a buzz for it you’ll want to do more. It’s just tremendous.”

 

A final word.

“All I say is, I enjoy it and I’m OK for my age.”

 

Original story was published at Cycle Republic.

Jason Lorch

Chief Editor at Tyres and Soles
Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. I'm also a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).

I hope what we do here at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them. So, pump up those tyres, don your favourite boots. Grab a mate, a partner, a pet… and head out into nature. But tell us all about it when you get back.
Jason Lorch
Follow @tyresandsoles
  • The MTB @deuter backpacks have been designed from the ground up to handle the specific needs of mountain biking such as; load carrying specifications, comfort, hydration and all-day performance on the trails. | Riders: @karen_eller_mountainbike and Tanja Hendrysiak riding the amazing trails around Lake Molveno! 💪🏼 -----
#deuterbackpack #itsgreatoutthere #traveladventure  #traveltales #outdoorlife #bicycletouring #bikinglife #mountainbiking
  • Dreamy loam is hard to beat when it comes to riding surfaces and the Aquila feels right at home digging through it! 💥 #onzatires #loam
  • Check out the full review in our bio 👍. Have you tried merino? Generally, you can get a bit smelly with synthetic fabrics whereas @monsroyale merino handles body odours very well. We experienced zero odours on the trails or in the car on the way home where it usually starts to pong. We felt as fresh as when we first pulled them on. The beauty of this is that you don't need to bring a change of clothing with you. You can hop off the bike and into the local bar or cafe without clearing the place out. | Photo: @richardmcgibbon
  • Fusing function and form, @monsroyale merino clothing is a natural, biodegradable and sustainable fibre that outperforms man-made fabrics. Mons Royale clothing is continually tested and refined to ensure it's the best match for your body and performance. | Photos: @richardmcgibbon
  • Testing the Michelin Wild Enduro tyres. Praise the knobbly gods. 🙌 These things are gripper than spider-man’s palm gunk. @michelinbicycle |  Photo: @richardmcgibbon
  • Topping up sealant made easy with these bad ass @peatysproducts tubeless valves!😍 Swipe to remove the core🔥
~
#peatysproducts #valves #yourholeisourgoal #tubeless #tubelessvalves #mtb #mtblife #stevepeat #mountainbike #roadbikes #bikeporn #trails #mtbtrails
  • For the hard-charging ladies out there...styled footwear that never disappoints on the trail. The Session Trail shoe.  #RideConcepts #RideEveryDay
-
#mountainbike #mountainbiking #mountainbiker #mtbtrail #mtblove #enduro #enduromtb #downhillmtb #mtblife #bike #freeride #dh #cycling #bikelife #ride #bikes #bikeporn #bicycle #mountain #shoes #footwear #likeagirl #ladyrippers #ladieswhoshred
  • We LOVE this photo from photographer @richardmcgibbon . This is what he gets up to on the weekends. A very familiar face at most of the MTB events in Australia, he’s a talented guy and we’re honoured to have him shoot for us. 🙌
“Lightspeed!!! After shooting for 4hrs at the @rockytrailentertainment @shimanomtb Gp I tend to start playing around with camera settings a bit and see what else I can achieve in the camera.” #MTB #mtbpictureoftheday #sportsphotographer #Sportsphotography #mtbracing #mtblife #mtbinsta #mtbdaily #cannaetakeanymorecaptain #lightspeed #zoomzoom
  • A wave of @burgtec engineering goodness. 😜 ・・・
🌊 #burgtec #beautifulthings
  • 20% Lighter than the original Zenbivy Bed and competes with the lightest blankets and mummy bags out there. Not only that, but you can take the ZENBIVY ultralight beds anywhere. All Light Beds compress to between 4 and 5L.
  • Superior fit. Rugged construction. Clean style. Welcome to the “Flow” series from Ride Concepts. An uncompromising performance shoe for all-terrain riding. #RideConcepts #RideEveryDay
.
#mountainbike #mountainbiking #mountainbiker #mtbtrail #mtblove #enduro #enduromtb #downhillmtb #mtblife #bike #freeride #dh #cycling #bikelife #ride #bikes #bikeporn #bicycle #mountain #shoes #footwear
  • Carrying everything you need for a little daytrip⁣. Check out the EVOC pack range. There’s a pack to suit every rider and every situation. 📷 @paulmasukowitz⁣

#hippackpro⁣ #evocbike⁣