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New Zealand's nonagenarian roadie – is he the world's oldest sponsored rider?

Club rider Bruce still going strong at 91

A couple of weeks ago we brought you news of a 103-year-old cyclist, albeit one who uses a tricycle to pootle around the pavements of his neighbourhood in Long Beach, California.

And while at 91 years of age, New Zealander Bruce Christopher may not match his Californian counterpart in years, he is closer to what most of us would recognise as bona fide road cyclist.

A member of the Manukau City Veterans Cycle Club, Bruce has been riding bikes for over 80 years reports the Manukau Courier.

He recalls being a youngster and seeing a man park his bike outside a local shop. Unable to resist, he jumped aboard and took it for a spin. "I was hooked from then on," he told the Courier.

Bruce still manages to ride about 25 miles a week on the country roads near Papakura just south of Auckland.

“I must admit I don't get as motivated as I used to," he said. "I liked the days when I had people in my age range to race against. I do it for the camaraderie these days."

For his 90th birthday Bruce was given an Avanti bike by the maker and his local bike shop, making him, in effect, the oldest sponsored cyclist in New Zealand if not in the world

That £1900 machine is a far cry from Bruce’s first set of wheels, a Canadian National Cycle Company bike for which he paid two shillings and ten pence, which he’d earned sweeping office floors in Auckland after school.

His first bike was the gateway to a lifetime's cycling which he says has stood him in good stead, health-wise.

"Doctors told me I'd eventually get arthritis. That was 40 years ago and it hasn't happened yet," he said. "There are a few plates and screws here and there and I'm on all sorts of funny heart pills but I'm still getting by."

And long may that continue, Bruce!

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