French 102-year-old to attempt to break his own Hour Record

Mighty M. Marchand aiming for 25km, but can he crack the very first hour ever recorded?

by John Stevenson   January 30, 2014  

Robert Marchand (picture credit UCI)

A 102-year-old Frenchman is about to try and break his own record for the greatest distance ridden in an hour by a centenarian.

Robert Marchand holds the record of 24.25km in a category specifically created for him by cycling’s governing body, the UCI. He set that record on the track at the World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle on February 17, 2012.

Tomorrow, almost two years later, he’s aiming to exceed 25km on the new velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, just outside Paris, according to The Connexion.

If he makes it, he won’t be far off the mark set in the very first recorded bicycle record attempt. In 1876 Frank Dodds covered 15.85 miles (25.51km)  on an Ordinary (high-wheeler) bike at Cambridge University athletics ground.

Later in 2012 M. Marchand also set a record for the fastest 100km ride by a centenarian, when he covered the distance in 4 hours 17 minutes and 27 seconds.

His first record attempt came about at the urging of Gérard Mistler, Président of the Ardéchoise Cyclo-Promotion sportive.The centenerian is a perennial entrant to the ride, launched in 1992 when he was a sprightly 79 years of age.

He started racing when he was just 14 years old, entering his first event under an assumed name because he was too young to compete.

In his long life, the remarkable M. Marchand has been a gym instructor to the Paris fire department, worked as a lumberjack in Canada, and lived in Venezuela for several years. He now lives in Mitry-Mory near Paris.

As well as cycling he has turned his hand to boxing, gymnastics and weightlifting. He puts his longevity and ability to be active at an advanced age down to luck with his health and keeping moving. 

“My advice to anyone, young or old, is to keep moving. I do ‘physical culture’ every day. It works out my whole body and keeps me supple. Some people when they reach 80 years old, start playing cards and they stay immobile. Not me. I’ve never been able to keep still…”

15 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Very well done. No one is allowed to say the french 'hat' word, cheesemongers!


I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1631 posts]
30th January 2014 - 13:18

16 Likes

Casquette?

posted by farrell [1769 posts]
30th January 2014 - 13:38

15 Likes

'in a category specifically created for him'
Brilliant. Can I have a category specifically for me please? I'll have tonnes of records in no time.

*clearly I am in awe of M. Marchand. This just made me giggle.

posted by andyp [1331 posts]
30th January 2014 - 13:41

21 Likes

Applause

posted by lookmanohands [114 posts]
30th January 2014 - 13:56

16 Likes

farrell wrote:
Casquette?

I think they mean he's Beret good.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [1125 posts]
30th January 2014 - 14:12

21 Likes

Chapeau Applause

posted by pmr [184 posts]
30th January 2014 - 14:54

22 Likes

Chapeau Applause

posted by mikeprytherch [220 posts]
30th January 2014 - 15:46

13 Likes

good grief, well done that man! best of luck with this latest attempt.

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
30th January 2014 - 17:16

14 Likes

I love the French!

posted by Quince [315 posts]
30th January 2014 - 18:24

13 Likes

Applause

Bravo, monsieur. Formidable!

"It's my way, or the wrong way" - Mark Cavendish

SirCav's picture

posted by SirCav [39 posts]
30th January 2014 - 19:12

12 Likes

Yes Boss!

posted by Matt eaton [648 posts]
30th January 2014 - 19:16

11 Likes

Awesome guy. There's a lot people half his age, hell a third his age, who'd struggle to average 23.34 km/h for a 100 km ride. That'd hold true even amongst regular cyclists!

posted by Paul J [752 posts]
30th January 2014 - 19:37

17 Likes

Bonnet de douche! Cool

posted by ChancerOnABike [20 posts]
30th January 2014 - 20:28

16 Likes

What a dude.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2492 posts]
30th January 2014 - 21:49

12 Likes

I'm going to go for that record too. Should be achievable, after all I have over 50 years to train for it! Silly

posted by mbrads72 [151 posts]
31st January 2014 - 13:26

5 Likes