My husband Chris rides his road bike when he can with a Saturday morning group that starts in Almondsbury and finishes a few hours later, each rider’s loss in weight from sweat equalised by a cake and coffee at the half way stop. This group, kitted out by Giant, consists of national youth champions, some ex-pro’s, and 79 year old Ron. Ron broke his collar bone, a rib and hip 8 weeks ago, falling off his bike and is now just getting back on the bike. Previous to that he had a triple heart bypass a couple of years ago, then fell off his bike a few weeks after the operation, resulting in a broken hip! This has not deterred Ron. He rides despite severe losses in hearing and sight and he looks the picture of health. Clearly not much gets in the way of him riding his bike. I had the chance to meet this modest youthful man to ask him a few questions about his motives for continuing his sport.
1. What does cycling do for you Ron?
“A combination of things. I’m not one for sitting down indoors. If I stop cycling, that’s the end for me. Mentally there is nowhere else to go. Cycling has always been a big part of my life, and it is very important for me to stay fit”. Ron has been very involved in helping younger riders come through the ranks, and two of his grandchildren are national youth champions.
2. How often do you ride, and how far?
“I cycle every day for between an hour and 90 minutes. Now I am just back on the bike I am building up again, and introducing hills again soon to get stronger”.
3. How many bones have you broken through riding?
“I have broken ‘everything’ over the years. I am the worst bike handler in the world. I try hard, but I’m not a good cyclist. Both my legs have been broken, and lots of other bones”. Ron has had 3 heart attacks, plus one since his bypass. (He is very fit, and the heart attacks were due to genetic reasons).
4. You must be an inspiration to your family; what do they say about you?
“My family don’t really talk about me in that way. It’s just an accepted way of life for us all. There have been some younger riders in Majorca [where Ron trains regularly] who have said that I’m an inspiration to them [he shrugs this off], and my son wants me to keep at it.” Perhaps Ron’s family know that he won’t ever give up cycling, and he is in it for life, come what may. I imagine that although Ron says he isn’t an inspiration to them, that his family may think otherwise. Who could fail to be impressed by this man’s passion and resilience? Long may he continue.