Scotland’s oldest cyclist, 96-year-old Neil Sinclair from St Martins near Perth, says he’s hanging up his wheels, but plans to keep fit by using an exercise bike.
Mr Sinclair, who will be 97 this month, told the Daily Record: “I’ve cycled all my life and it’s kept me fit. But I’ll be 100 in three years time and at my age, I think it’s safer for me to keep off the roads.”
“I’d love to get back on a real bike but with all the potholes and cars going so fast it’s not sensible.
“I got the exercise bike from a neighbour and it means I can keep on cycling. I still do thousands of miles, I just don’t go anywhere.
“I used to stop off at hotels for my lunch. Now, when I’m hungry, my wife Elizabeth brings me out a piece of fruit cake and a cup of tea.”
Mr Sinclair took up cycling when he returned to Scotland after the Second World War.
“Cycling has been my hobby my whole life,” he said. “When I was younger, I used to cycle to work in Perth every day. I took my bike everywhere. I’ve had a few mishaps but I’ve always bounced back.
“And my family has always felt I’m sensible enough to know when to stop.
“I used to do over 10,000 miles per year but in recent years, that’s come down.
“But I’m healthy thanks to cycling. I could never think of sitting in front of the television doing nothing.”
Landmarks of Mr Sinclair’s cycling life include completing a charity ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in eight days when he was 70 and celebrating his golden wedding anniversary with a 62-mile ride to Pitlochry. His wife Elizabeth drove while he rode.
Elizabeth, 85, said: “Neil has always loved cycling and has done hundreds of thousands of miles.
“We used to take romantic trips and I’d drive in front and meet him at our destination.
“I’m sure he’ll cycle the rest of his days on his exercise bike.”
He’ll probably go out singing, his other great passion. “My mother was an operatic star so I sing opera – La Donna e Mobile (The Woman is Fickle) and other songs,” he said. “I sing anything I can think of. I also love Ave Maria.
“I can also talk to people because, as fast as I pedal, I’m not going anywhere. People I used to see on my travels now come to visit me at home.”
England’s oldest cyclist is thought to be 100-year-old Richard Howard, from Winslow in Buckinghamshire.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.