A man who as travelled more than a million miles by bike since he started in 1946 is believed to Britain’s oldest cyclist.
Grandad Ron Longstaff might be 93 but he has no intention of stopping and he still cycles over 150 miles most weeks.
The pedal-powered pensioner, who has a collection of 11 bikes, gets out on the road three times a week.
The grandfather-of-seven, from Humshaugh, Northumberland, now pushes the pedals for fun, but raced competitively until he was 80.
In 1997, he won the Veterans’ Road Race World Championship in Austria, beating ex-professionals.
A decade later he completed a lifetime’s ambition and completed a 24-hour time trial in which he covered 326 miles despite losing 90 minutes due to sickness and crashing near the finish.
Retired surveyor Ron said: ‘I go out three times a week and ride around 150 miles a week.
‘Where I live, it’s very rural so it’s quiet but it’s quite hilly, so whichever direction I cycle in, I have to take on a hill cold. That’s the hardest part of it, taking on the hills.’
He started when his father bought him his first racing bike back in 1946.
He said: ‘When my father was demobbed after the war, he bought me a lightweight racing bike.
‘He had been a cyclist before the war and I enjoyed riding a bike as a child.
‘I began racing when I was 20 and I was still racing at 80.
‘I went across to Austria with my friend and stayed in his caravan and won the world championships on the Monday and the European championships on the Wednesday.
‘I enjoyed the competition. I loved racing against the clock.
‘I still have 11 bikes, including one that cost me £3,500. You can pay up to £10,000 for one.
‘One of my favourite bikes is my old racing bike. I did all my best times on it.’
Ron cheated death while cycling three times after an accident during races in Northumberland and being knocked off his bike in Thailand, where his son lives.
When he was 74, he suffered a fractured skull after being hit by a car driven by an 81-year-old woman.
Three years later he was taking part in a race when a lorry braked without warning in front of him.
Biking has been a part of many aspects of his life, including with his late wife Marjorie, who he married when he was 26, as the pair once toured Scotland on a lightweight tandem.
Ron said: ‘She accepted it, she knew it was a healthy hobby to have and we managed to lead a normal life.
‘It never got in the way of anything, it was a thing I liked to do and she was very supportive of that.
‘She wasn’t particularly into cycling, but we had a lightweight racing tandem and we once toured Scotland on that.’
Ron, who lives on his own, said that cycling was one thing he could do during lockdown and it helped him get outside.
He added: ‘It didn’t affect me in the slightest, I had no contact with anybody and once the cafes re-opened it was brilliant, I could stop and have a break and a cup of tea.’
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