Joe – Contributer
Read this inspiring story about Joe who in 2014 decide to was time to saddle up and begin cycling at the age of 56.
My name is Joe(real name, John). I am now 58 years old.
I have 3 grandsons, 2 who are very keen cyclists. They are now 5 & 7 years old.
During the Christmas of 2014, they persuaded me to go out cycling on mountain bikes with them. I hadn’t ridden a bike since my school days. I was fairly apprehensive & a little nervous about the challenge. I wasn’t wrong. They were very accomplished cyclists, for their ages. We covered about 5 miles of quite muddy & hilly terrain, before returning home, covered in mud.
A week later, at a New Years Eve party, I was reliving my cycling experience with friends. After having consumed far too many drinks, the real challenge hit me. The Lady Captain of the Golf Club challenged me to cycle from London to Paris for her charity. In my inimitable way, I accepted the challenge, not thinking for 1 minute that she was serious. Before I knew it, we were signed up for the ride to start on June 10th 2015. The reality hit home.
I would be 57 years old.
I borrowed a road bike from a friend & started training. I spent 5 months in the gym, on the road, & on my exercise bike in the garage. Thank goodness I put the hard work in.
We left London on a cold windy morning on June 10th, to start our journey to Paris. There were 75 cyclists in the group, & we had excellent support from the trip organisers, Discovery Adventure. 80 miles later, we arrived in Dover, ahead of schedule, considering the head wind we had to endure. We boarded the ferry to Calais, feeling extremely sore & tired.
The next 3 days we cycled through the French countryside, visiting the war graves at the Somme, & experiencing a multitude of different adventures & emotions. There were some real low points when you didn’t think you would make it to Paris. There were also many high points. I made many friends & experienced the beautiful scenery, but the highlight of the trip was entering Paris, cycling around the Champs Elysees, then meeting my wife under the Arc de Triomphe after cycling for 314 miles.
I now have my own road bike & cycle 2-3 times a week, as well as attending Spin classes at the gym. I feel fitter than I have felt for years & hope that I can remain that way for years to come.
When my grandsons are old enough, I intend to do a similar trip with them & my son-in-law. 3 generations of the family, quite an achievement to look forward to & be proud of.