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

Author: Jason Lorch

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.

Chief editor at Tyres and Soles.

Follow @tyresandsoles
  • The @pnwcomponents Loam lever and Rainer dropper post is the goldilocks of set ups. With buttery smooth motion and an incredibly light lever action, this is a premium grade system that won’t blow your budget. 😊 | 📸 @richardmcgibbon
  • We’ve been testing the new Seral, Savu and Kitsuma packs from @ospreyaustralia. All three packs offer something different and are aimed at day rides where you can carry the bare minimum such as the Kitsuma, or pack a little more with the Seral and Savu. The Kitsuma and the Seral use a bladder system. The Savu is a lumbar pack that has been designed to carry two bottles (no bladder). Whichever style of pack or riding you do, there’s now a great range to choose from. It’s good to see Osprey focusing on more mtb specific designs and what riders are looking for. 📸 @richardmcgibbon
  • Are you whinging about this hot and humid weather in Sydney? We’d highly recommend you go and get Frankd! | 📸 @richardmcgibbon |@frankdmtbapparel
  • Taking the men’s and women’s @frankdmtbapparel out for a spin. A full review of these awesome jerseys coming soon!🤟 | 📸 @richardmcgibbon
  • The Airborne 15 MTB pack from @uswesports is a cut above other packs with its unique cross over harness system. (No dancing monkeys were harmed in the making of this post) | 📸 @richardmcgibbon
  • In near 100% humidity and 35 degree heat, we were incredibly thankful to be testing the @frankdmtbapparel jerseys. The men’s “Blue Wheeler” and women’s “Tori” both have mesh side panels, designed just for a day like today. 🥵👍 | Photo credit: 📸 @richardmcgibbon | #mtblife #mtbgear #activelifestyle #mtblifestyle
  • Socks for your pedals!?! No f&$king way? Yes way 😜👍 | 📸 @richardmcgibbon
  • We love heading into wild places, what about you?
📸 @richardmcgibbon
  • What’s your favourite camp food?  Do you use the pre-made shop stuff or dehydrate your own? | 📸 @richardmcgibbon  #campfood #campcooking #hikinglifestyle
  • The new @uswesports ‘Pace 12’ runner vest sets a new high-end standard for Trail & Ultra runners. | 📸 @richardmcgibbon | Athlete: @hanporteous
  • The rise of the hip packs have been impressive over the past couple of years. This is the Hip Pack Race by evoc, what’s your favourite? | 📸 @bayercb for @enduromag
  • @rocday have really impressed us with their range of MTB apparel. Amazing quality, excellent fit and all the style you’d expect from a European brand.