The Daily Bike, February 21, 2012

Surely this is the cycling quote of the month: “I haven’t cycled on a track for 80 years,” said Frenchman Robert Marchand. “You have to get used to the fixed gear! I prefer cycling outside but that is impossible at the moment [due to snow]. I don’t want to catch the flu. So I am short on training.”

You’re forgiven, dude.

If you’re lucky enough to live 100 years, a bicycle probably looks like a hip fracture waiting to happen, but Marchand, the stud, celebrated his centenary by breaking the one-hour distance record for his age group in a velodrome at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland. He rode 24.251 kilometers without getting his heart rate above 110. “I could keep going for another hour,” Marchand said. “I’ve been told not to raise my pulse too high so I’m not even tired.”

Marchand’s last competition was 10 years ago, at age 90. He rode (and finished) the 600km Bordeaux-Parise race. But then he decided to notch it back.

“For the last five years I have decided not to go for rides of more than 100km. There is no point going overboard. I want to keep cycling for some time yet.”

He claims no secret to his longevity, but being on a bike certainly hasn’t hurt.

“Basically, I am like everybody. I am lucky that I haven’t had any major health problems. My advice to anyone, young or old, is to keep moving. I do ‘physical culture’ every day. It works out my whole body and keeps me supple. Some people when they reach 80 years old, start playing cards and they stay immobile. Not me. I’ve never been able to keep still…”

Photo by UCI

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