My inspiration to live a healthy, active lifestyle is my mum. She died in August 2019 aged ninety two. She was feisty, funny, sweet and cheerfully optimistic. She was an avid cyclist all her life, turning to the turbo trainer in the garage when she got too frail to ride on the road. Her passion was keeping fit with cycling and exercises at home. She watched keenly the Tour de France each year, La Vuelta (Tour of Spain) and the Tour of Britain on television. She understood the complicated tactics of the team riders.
After my mum died I read her diaries covering twenty years up until the last few months of her life. The entries are concise and factual, just a few details of her exercise for that day, any health concerns and major events. It came as a bit of a surprise how much cycling she did each week. She regularly cycled between five and twelve miles several times a week, and more than twenty miles once a week to her brother’s house. She was still doing this into her eighties. I can picture her so easily upon her bike, in all weathers. I am just so astounded to read how far she went, how committed she was to keeping fit, how much she must have enjoyed it.
I got my bike out in September, determined to follow Mum’s example. My first ride was six miles and I was exhausted. Thirty years younger than my Mum riding such distance. I went a few more times, then it started raining, and has hardly stopped. I will get back to it, I promise Mum.
Here is a photo of Mum circa 1947 on a group ride with a bunch of lads. Clearly walking at this point. I like it because the boys’ clothes are so formal, and because I like the idea of Mum keeping pace with the boys.
Sometime in the 1950s my Mum and Dad made quite an exciting trip by ferry to northern Spain, with their bikes. They cycled across north Spain on the hilly coast roads. Here they are taking a rest in Hendaye.
Mum looking moody with her bike in (I think) Monte Carlo.
No helmets in those days!
So, thanks to Mum I am inspired to keep as fit as I can, for as long as I am able, doing exercise I love as much as she loved cycling.