Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

Dangerous drivers force Surrey couple to stop riding tandem after almost 80 years

Lionel and Joyce Joseph, both aged 95, started taking bike rides together when courting during World War II

A married couple from Surrey are being forced to give up riding tandem bicycles after almost eight decades because of dangerous drivers.

Lionel and Joyce Joseph, both aged 95, started riding tandems 78 years ago during World War II, reports Get Surrey.

The couple, who live in Forest Green near Dorking, said that two close passes, the behaviour of motorists including not allowing for the extra length of their bike when overtaking and HGV traffic on B roads lay behind their decision not to continue riding together.

Mr Joseph explained: "The road has been in a dreadful state for ages because the big lorries go round there.

"The trouble is, with a tandem you have to take a bigger turn [to avoid hazards such as potholes] and it is not appreciated by drivers who go around there at 40mph.

"The roads are not designed for that size of vehicle," he said of HGVs.

The couple have been married for 71 years and Mr Joseph recalled going out cycling together while they were courting during the war.

"I was serving on HMS Eskimo, a destroyer,” he said. “We had collided with another destroyer four weeks after covering the D-Day landings, and were in dock for repairs. Hence I was on leave for my 21st birthday.

"I rode my solo bike to Ewell, collected my brother's tandem, then on to the West Middlesex Hospital at Isleworth to pick up Joyce at 2pm on the dot.

"We then rode to Walliswood for a tea party, and returned to Isleworth at 10pm. I returned the tandem to Ewell and rode back to Walliswood on my solo.

"Seventy miles for Joyce in an afternoon and 140 for me on that day, and that was after months at sea, training was not necessary."

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment

7 comments

Avatar
srchar | 5 years ago
0 likes

Totally understandable.  I imagine that an off at the ripe old age of 95 has a high chance of resulting in injuries from which one never recovers fully.

I wonder if they'd be up for continuing to ride their tandem on a track?

Avatar
dafyddp | 5 years ago
0 likes

Entirely understandable.

Above all though, don't they demonstrate why it's so important to encourage people to get socially active outdoors? Whether that's cycling or simply hiking (we've got thousands of miles of public footpaths in the UK), the long term mental and physical benefits are achingly obvious.  In the context of our sport, we definately, need to be investing in proper cycling infrastructure.

Avatar
ConcordeCX replied to dafyddp | 5 years ago
3 likes
dafyddp wrote:

Entirely understandable.

Above all though, don't they demonstrate why it's so important to encourage people to get socially active outdoors? Whether that's cycling or simply hiking (we've got thousands of miles of public footpaths in the UK), the long term mental and physical benefits are achingly obvious.  In the context of our sport, we definately, need to be investing in proper cycling infrastructure.

Lovely story, with a sad ending.

on a point of order, as the story shows with the epic shuttle ride between Isleworth, Ewell and Walliswood, we do have proper cycling infrastructure. The problem is that it has been invaded by motor vehicles driven badly.

 

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 5 years ago
1 like

That's such a shame and is an indictment on the current car culture.

I'd like to think that if I get to be 95, I'd be stubborn enough to just carry on riding despite the harrassment and bullying.

Avatar
ShinyBits | 5 years ago
4 likes

I also totally understand their decision, and agree about the traffic. The couple themselves are the real story here, and I'd love to see an editorial feature about the two of them and their cycling lives, rather than a news piece focussing on the well-documented road conditions around the Surrey Hills.

Avatar
vonhelmet | 5 years ago
0 likes

There’s a tandem club near me for blind and partially sighted people, like sighted pilot, and a blind or partially sighted stoker. I’m keen to help them when I have the time, but I imagine this sort of thing makes it hard work.

Avatar
jasecd | 5 years ago
5 likes

Sad to hear their decision but completely understandable given the behaviour of some drivers.

I absolutely love the story of their courtship at the end of the article. 

Latest Comments