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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 has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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