Too old to cycle

Kenneth Taylor, from Bolton in Lancashire and 92 next March, has finally thrown in his cycling helmet. Ken was a keen cyclist in his youth and took the activity up again in his 60s when his knees gave way as a result of many years of fell running and climbing all the Scottish Munros (often accompanied by his wife Françoise). A few falls off the bike from losing his balance, he decided enough was enough.


Here's Ken in 2008 cycling in the Lancashire lanes. At the time, he was cycling over 10 miles per day, but he cycled longer distances during regular holidays in Wales and Scotland. In fact his recent falls were nothing serious, usually going sideways into the hedge without injury, but at that age it's confidence as much as anything, and he lost it.

Oddly, he didn't cycle for fitness but only to 'collect' the miles – a numbers game with his daily totals recorded in a notebook. The ten or so daily miles would be achieved in several outings, including shopping, visiting the local library, etc. Even more oddly, Ken now cycles his ten 'miles' per day on an exercise bike in his living room, purely for fitness.

It's a characteristic of riding a bicycle that for older people it's often easier than walking, and it seems a pity that so few take advantage of this encouraging fact. A lack of funds is no excuse either. Kenneth Taylor's bike – a ladies' model – was given to him for free by his LBS, the Green Machine in Horwich, Lancashire, who also maintained it at very low cost.

[ Ken died aged 93 on June 7th, 2011 ]

6 comments on “Too old to cycle”

  1. Hilary wrote:

    Shame he had to finally give up but great that he kept going for so long. I regularly see a guy in his 80s whose 12 mile daily circuit coincides with part of my most frequent ride.

    PS Love the socks!

  2. Alan wrote:

    Patrick wrote: "It's a characteristic of riding a bicycle that for older people it's often easier than walking, and it seems a pity that so few take advantage of this encouraging fact."

    Yes, certainly. I hobble on crutches or speed (relatively speaking) on a bike, powered by one leg. The NHS should lend recumbent trikes to anyone with walking difficulties.

  3. Mike D wrote:

    65 here and just got back into cycling after a thirty year lapse. Just home from actually doing a 50 miler. Crawled in the door vowing never again – too old, you silly old fool, etc.

    Now, a couple of hours later, I'm wondering where next to go!

    What an inspiration kenneth is to all. Good luck to him and to all us lot over sixty, gasping up some hill thinking 'I should never have chosen this way....'

    Hope he manages to get out on the bike again.

    Good luck Ken.

  4. Patrick wrote:

    Mike, well done with the 50 miles. Now, after a thirty year lapse you've another thirty years of cycling to look forward to.

    Thanks for your comments about Ken (my late father). Cycling probably extended his life but he died in June aged 93. Apologies... I should have updated the article.

  5. Chris wrote:

    Mike, you'd be considered as being one of the youngsters on some of our group's rides. Well done, and keep it up, that man 🙂

  6. Kern wrote:

    Apparently cycling at a cadence of 90 (or maybe it was 80) relieves the symptoms of Parkinson's disease – no idea why. There's a hidden benefit in there somewhere.

    Regrets, Patrick.

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