85-year-old grandma takes up cycling after 65 years

85 year-old grandma gets back in the saddle
Joan Reynolds first ride in the saddle
Joan Reynolds first ride in the saddle

85-year-old grandma takes up cycling after 65 years

Daredevil 85-year-old gets back on the saddle after 65 years thanks to Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival.

They say you’re never too old to try something new and this is the case for Walsall’s senior speedster Joan Reynolds (85) who turned her attention to riding a bike when she heard about Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival. 

The Big Bike Revival is a programme run by Cycling UK, it helps hundreds of community groups and organisations across the UK by offering free bike repairs and maintenance, as well as training and led cycle rides. Supported with small grants from Cycling UK, community groups put on cycling activities that aim to encourage everyday cycle trips. 

Joan, 85, is an advocate of health and adventure, and lives in Walsall not too far from the Walsall Arboretum but hasn’t cycled since she was in her teens. 

She was out walking with her friend Janet one afternoon when they learned about Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival events and felt inspired: they wanted to push their boundaries and try something a bit different.

But it was Joan who really thought she would go for it and when the next session was on, and made her way to the event, for a free session to get back on two wheels after a 65 year break. 

She said: “Sometimes I get these funny ideas and just ride with them.

“The Big Bike Revival events helped me with advice about the right type of bike to get which is important for me to stay safe – especially at my age. If I get injured it could be much more serious.

"I’ve got quite short legs and even though they gave me their smallest adult bike to try it was still almost too big for me.”

However, that didn’t stop Joan, she was back for the next Big Bike Revival "Get Back into Cycling" at Walsall Arboretum to try her first ride with volunteer Gary and Lesley from Cycling UK. 

She said: “There was only one other rider, who was learning from scratch so we were lucky enough at this event to get virtually one on one tuition. At the same time, there was a bigger group of slightly more experienced riders being taken on a led ride and they sped past us.

"I was a bit wobbly at first, but soon started to get the hang of it. We went a short distance around the Arboretum, I can’t remember exactly how far but up to the large gate. I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed doing it and trying something different. I’m chuffed to bits. 

"When I look back I can’t believe I actually did the bike ride. Lesley and Gary were really good at guiding me and looked after me throughout the ride. I was lucky to have them there.” 

When I look back I can’t believe I actually did the bike ride. Lesley and Gary were really good at guiding me and looked after me throughout the ride. I was lucky to have them there.

Joan Reynolds

Joan really surprised her family when she told them she had started cycling.

She said: “My daughter said whatever are you going to do next. She was really chuffed for me.”

Although Joan struggles with back problems, she is keen to carry on her cycling escapades, and hopes to make it all the way around the arboretum on her next ride. 

Lesley who rode with Joan said: “Joan is an inspirational lady. She had no fear and was determined to ride that bike! When she set off down the pathway in Walsall Arboretum two of us ran alongside her but after a couple of wobbly moments she started to sing which helped her relax and she was off! In fact, we had to tell her to slow down as we struggled to keep up with her. "

So, it`s true to say you are never too old to ride a bike! 

This October Cycling UK are holding Big Bike Revival events across England and Scotland and they are easy paced rides, open to everyone. Find an event near you

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