AFTER a two-year lay-off following a hip replacement, Max Youngs got back in the saddle for a 61-mile ride at the age of 80.
But the veteran cyclist from Northumberland wasn’t satisfied with his time, so he’s going back next year in an attempt to do better.
“It was seven hours and 10 minutes from Bellingham to Kielder in the Bellingham Blast ride, and to be honest I was a bit disappointed with that time,” the Hexham man said.
“So I’m going in for it again next year with the aim of knocking about 40 minutes off.
“My son Timothy, who’s 33, set off with me this year but he blasted away and did it in five hours something. Now I want to improve my time.”
The fact that Max will be 81 next year doesn’t faze him.
“Age won’t matter,” he said. “I’ve been cycling regularly for 40 years and feel fine again after the hip replacement.
“I had the left hip replaced three years ago and had a couple of years’ lay-off, but then the doctor recommended I should do swimming or cycling to complete the recovery, and I must say I was rather pleased to hear him say that.”
So it was that Max got back on the road, and even used his annual holiday in Majorca to do a 96-mile ride, something he will repeat next year.
Insisting “I’m only an average cyclist”, Max added: “When you get up to 80 your general strength isn’t as good, but the secret is to do it regularly and keep your fitness up.
“Now what I tend to do is shorter rides, but making them as hard as possible. My favourite ride is around the Whitley Chapel area in the shires near Hexham, where you can do various loops.
“I was a bit down on mileage prior to the Bellingham Blast, so I took it steady, but next year I intend to trim my time. I’d be disappointed if I didn’t, all being well and shipshape.”
Max has half a dozen bicycles to choose from, ranging from a “wonderfully crafted” 1950s mountain bike to a modern turbo-trainer.
He goes cycling at least twice a week, but insists: “I’m no great cyclist, to be honest. There’s fellas older than me who do better than me.”