'Cycling is a requirement, not an obsession': how one 46-year-old vet racer stays motivated to keep on winning

Last year, Helen Jackson won two age group national championships, her age group in the Gravel World Champs, and the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross challenge. And she's not slowing down any time, soon...

Helen at the three peaks cyclocross race
(Image credit: Andy Jones for Future)

Cycling is an activity, or sport, you can enjoy at any age. Fitness writer Hannah Reynolds has been speaking to cyclists in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, bringing tips, advice and inspiration from cyclists who are still pedalling as the decades progress.  

How does a rider stay motivated to keep turning the pedals as middle age calls? According to age group Gravel World Champion, Helen Jackson, “cycling is not an obsession, it’s a requirement.” With no coach or training plans, she puts her success down to years of consistent riding. 

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Hannah Reynolds

Hannah Reynolds interest in cycling began while studying for a degree in Sports Science at the University College Chichester and surrounded by elite level cyclists. She is now undertaking a PhD at Sheffield Hallam University investigating the use of e-bikes by older people. 

A committed dabbler whose passion outweighed her talent Reynolds has competed across all disciplines of cycling bar BMX. In the very distant past she has been south-east road race champion, southern cyclo-cross champion and finished third in the European 24hr Solo mountain-bike champs in 2011. She was also the Fitness Editor of Cycling Weekly for 15 years. 

Hannah Reynolds is author of several cycling books, France-en-Velo a guide to the ultimate 1000 mile cycle route from the Channel to Med; Britain's Best Bike Ride. LEJOG1000; A 1000 mile journey from Land's End to John o' Groats and 1001 Cycling Tips