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Scotland's oldest cyclist hangs up his wheels - at 96!

Crediting cycling with his health and longevity, Neil Sinclair switches to an exercise bike.

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.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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