"Jamais s'arrêter de pédaler" - meaning "Never Stop Pedalling" - is the personal philosophy of an 82-year-old French cyclist and skier whom we met in the early days of Silver Grey Sports Club. Coming across this film about 80-year-old cycle racer Sydney Wilson the words have a literal as well as metaphorical meaning. The need for PR must be one of the least appealing aspects of modern corporate life so it was a pleasant surprise when it produced something really quite exciting - this video about Sidney Wilson, who was filmed as part of a PR campaign for a milk brand. The campaign was a competition to find the brand's local area's fittest grandparent.
Having been at one time a semi-pro racer and having also represented his country competitively, at the age of eighty Sydney still believes that physical fitness and sporting achievement have a place in his life. He doesn't take it for granted that that will be the case, so each week he does a couple of gym sessions as well as cycling up to 150 miles for training. Although now an amateur Sydney still rides competitively, over distances of 50 miles, and given his commitment to keeping fit sees no reason why he won't still be doing it at 100.
He realises that he's a very lucky man in that his wife of over 50 years is at 75 an equally enthusiastic cyclist, and having that kind of support and partnership makes the necessary hard work that much easier.
We found Sydney while looking for a story about Silver Grey cyclists as a lead up to a film we hope to do about another cyclist - 62-year-old Tony Baker. Tony is more of an ultra-distance cyclist than a speed racer and one of the things we'll be asking him about is the Audax 600km bike race that he has been taking part in in his an attempt to qualify for a longer, 1200km race. Audax races are ultra-distance races which have set amounts of time within which to complete them, 40 hours for the 600km and 90 hours for the 1200, so as we said, more about endurance than speed.
We had heard about Tony from a physiotherapist who helps us recover from the stresses and strains that any Silver Grey athlete will experience. "You really need to speak to my chum Tony Baker" she said. "He has just cycled to his sons's house and back to return her mobile phone".
Not that impressive, we thought. Then we found out that Tony lives in Hampshire and his son is in Dublin! OK, we said, what's his number?