Bert’s 101 and still enjoys cycling as much as ever
Tour de France and Olympic glory may have eluded Bert during his time with the Peterborough Cycling Club, but at 101 years old he is leaving friends and family trailing in his wake with his remarkable stamina.
As many take part in the daily grind of school runs, shopping and work, Bert hops onto the exercise bike in his kitchen in Westwood and pedals away for half-an-hour practically every day in a stunning display of endurance and resolve.
Explaining his dedication, Bert said: “I make the effort to do it, but it comes naturally when I get on the bike.”
Bert, who enjoys a whiskey or brandy every night with dinner, only stopped cycling on the roads when he was in his 90s.
And in his younger days he won medals through time trials and even took part in night rides from Peterborough.
“I used to leave at 11pm then have breakfast in Yarmouth,” he said.
But despite Bert’s zest for life he relies on help to keep him in touch with his friends.
Every Saturday and Sunday a member of the Royal Voluntary Service comes to pick him up from his house then take him to the New England Club in Occupation Road where he enjoys a pint with his mates before returning home.
Bert, who is 102 next month, said: “I find the service very good. They come inside and take me in the car. I feel safe with them.
“I would miss it if I didn’t go.”
Bert’s daughter Patricia Bate said the personal touch given by the drivers makes all the difference to the former carpenter, who would not go to the club if he had to take a normal taxi every time.
She said: “He would be lonely if he did not see his friends. It would be disappointing to lose touch with them.”
Patricia is also deeply impressed by her dad’s exercise routine.
She said: “Everybody is amazed. I play golf a couple of times a week but could not motivate myself to play that every day, or even regularly.”
David Griffin (69) of Elter Walk, Gunthorpe, drives Bert to the club on Sundays after deciding that volunteering with RVS would get him out of the house.
He said: “I think Bert’s a wonderful chap. When you see him you would not think he’s 101.”
The RVS is holding a Volunteering Fair on Tuesday, February 23 from 10am to 3pm at Van Hage, Peterborough Garden Park, Peterborough Road. People can meet with local charities and voluntary organisations, which are looking for volunteers.
Just turn up on the day or for more information or to discuss transport, call Julie Gibson on 01733 307304.
David added: “Give it a go. They are always looking for volunteers.”