'The clinicians said my physical fitness was a key factor in my ability to recover from the cancer': Cycling's amazing veterans

Older cyclists don’t only extend their healthy years, they keep alive the passion to strive. Rob Kemp meets eight indomitable over-50s

Walter Flower poses with his time trial bike
(Image credit: Andy Jones/Future)

Cycling offers a multitude of benefits for older adults, including bolstering the immune system, maintaining muscle mass and strength, and regulating body fat and cholesterol levels, as revealed by multiple studies. The low-impact nature of the sport makes it ideal for those with joint issues – unlike high-impact exercises such as running. Because it’s so accessible and kind on the body, cycling is easy to take up later in life and to continue for decades. In a society of increasing isolation, the social interaction and camaraderie cycling offers can help combat mental health issues and loneliness too.

For many of those who’ve cycled since childhood – progressing to club and elite levels – the positive impact upon their health and wellbeing means they’re still smashing PBs and picking up medals in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. 

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Rob Kemp
Freelance Writer

Rob Kemp is a London-based freelance journalist with 30 years of experience covering health and fitness, nutrition and sports sciences for a range of cycling, running, football and fitness publications and websites. His work also appears in the national press and he's the author of six non-fiction books. His favourite cycling routes include anything along the Dorset coast, Wye Valley or the Thames, with a pub at the finish.