Sylvia Briercliffe has been a happy cyclist for more than 85 years, having learned to ride at the tender age of three. Throughout her teens, 20s, family life and even later years, she has regularly taken to the bike for health, fitness and socialising.
However, the impact of Sylvia’s cycling has grown in her ninth decade as she has combined her love of riding with her support for local charity Live! Cheshire to great effect.
In 2015, at the age of 85, Sylvia decided that she wanted to use her passion for cycling to raise money and awareness for local charities. Sylvia and her bike ‘Ettie’ - named after her friend Betty - cycled 1,000 miles in a year. She completed the challenge by cycling the final mile with other riders from Live! Cheshire.
Cycling saved me and allowed me to give something back, so I hope to still be cycling aged 90 and encouraging others to take up cycling, as you are never too old.
Sylvia said: “At the age of 85 I was in a position where I needed to rebuild my confidence and character. After 30 years I was on my own and it was a real struggle, so cycling became my focus and I decided to take on this challenge.
“Live! Cheshire works with young people and adults who have disabilities and one of the projects they run is ‘Give it a Spin’, a project with adapted bikes for people with disabilities. I volunteer there every Monday offering my help and support.
“Cycling saved me and allowed me to give something back, so I hope to still be riding aged 90 and encouraging others to take up cycling, as you are never too old. My love for cycling is still as strong as ever!”
Cycling UK development officer Chris Alston, one of the people who nominated Sylvia for 100 Women in Cycling, said: “Sylvia is 89 years of age and cycles daily. She has been a volunteer bicycle pilot at Live! for several years and rode 1,000 miles in a year to raise money for Live and Alzheimer’s UK.
“Sylvia travels all over Wirral and beyond trying to encourage people to continue to cycle after retirement. I think she truly deserves this recognition for her passion and inspiring work.”
What is 100 Women in Cycling?
Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling is an annual list celebrating inspirational women who are encouraging others to cycle.