Age is no barrier for 85-year-old world record holding cyclist Wally

Most 85-year-olds would spend their retired lives relaxing, but Wally Fowler is encouraging more older cyclists to get on their bikes.

Wally Fowler
Wally Fowler

The great-grandfather has taken the World Track Cycling Masters by storm this year, having added both the one-hour World Record and 2 km World Record to his tally of a total of seven World Records gained since 2012.

A keen cyclist since 1950, Wally, from Brindley Brae, Kinver, first took up the sport at the age of 16 when he lived in Sussex.

Wally Fowler in 1950 riding for Brighton Stanley Wanderers

And he's still going nearly 70 years later, and has no plans to stop.

He said: "I'm not going to stop. My philosophy is you are as old as you feel. If you feel able to compete then keep going.

"Riders all around me say 'well if you can do it at 85' it keeps them going. What might seem an old age at age 70 is no longer, I'm not the only one as this age doing this either.

"If you have the determination to eat properly and exercise properly then you can extend your life and competing life. Our bodies are better than we think as long as they are looked after properly."

Wally is a world record holder

Wally has always been a sportsman, as a child representing Sussex sprinting on athletics tracks, swimming and even a stint of boxing.

He had a break from cycling when he was called up for national service between 1952 to 1955, serving as a member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) in Singapore and Hong Kong.

After leaving the army, Wally went to work in London for a number of advertising agencies and eventually moved to the Midlands in 1968 with his wife Margaret, setting up his own powder coating business in 1971.

The father-of-one became quite emotional speaking of his late wife Margaret, who died five years ago.

He added: "If I had not had cycling, competing and targets like world records to concentrate on then I would have been in trouble.

Wally Fowler 85

"I do believe men are their own worst enemy. They don't socialise like women do and often don't last very long after. So staying active and having something to concentrate on is really good for the mind."

Having moved up to the Midlands, Wally resumed his earlier passion for cycling in 1980, joining Stourbridge Cycling Club which he is still a member of.

Along with enjoying sociable club runs to the local countryside he also took on some European cycle tours and in 2000 he along with some friends from the club rode the west coast tour in the United States from Oregon to San Francisco.

Wally's training involves all-round exercise including rowing, pilates and weights which he does every other day, ensuring he takes proper recovery periods in between to avoid injury.

In the age category of 85-89, Wally is the oldest all-round track cycling ‘competitor’ in the world.

There are older riders up to the age of 105, who ride the hour long events for record-setting purposes.

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