At 76, Mick Ives is probably in better shape than you, and he can probably ride a bike faster and farther than you too. He can probably out-ride most people actually.
“I’ve never stopped racing, since the autumn of 1956 till the present day,” says Ives, a native of Coventry, England. “I ride summer and winter nonstop, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t really know.”
Some of the guys he went to school with are now “real old guys who can hardly walk around, if they’re still here.”
Prime & Fire recently profiled Ives as part of “a series of short films that want to prove that it’s never too late to buck the trend and also inspire all of us to pick up a sport disregarding our age and respective abilities.” Business Insider followed up with Ives to learn more about his impressive lifelong passion for cycling.
“I’m very lucky,” he told Prime & Fire. “I feel like a 40-year-old most of the time. I just don’t realise how old I am.”
Read on to see how age has done little to deter this septuagenarian from pursuing a life of sport:
'I've had very few crashes in total -- mostly on the track and in cyclo-cross,' he told Business Insider. 'I went through the barriers in the World Cyclo-Cross Masters Championship in Kentucky in 2012 and hurt my back. I crashed bad in the 1989 World Mountain Bike Championship in Belgium when I hit a photographer who stepped out on a descent. I broke two ribs but got up and fought on to take bronze in the veterans' championship.'
'I had a broken arm, in Florida, a broken leg after a hit-and-run, broken ribs -- I've lost count -- but most were from mountain-bike racing,' Ives told Business Insider. 'I had a displaced pelvis and broke some toes after dropping a log on them. And I had broken fingers after a crash.'
In 2005, Ives, at age 65, became the first pensioner to complete the Tour de France route solo, according to his team's website. He started out one day ahead of the actual race and finished in Paris two days before the pros got there, pedalling 3,608 kilometers (2,241 miles) and raising £20,000 for charity. To this day, according to his site, he is the only rider in the world to complete the Tour de France route solo.
'I've worked in the cycle industry most of my life as a sales manager, and I owned own a bike shop for 15 years,' Ives told Business Insider. 'I also found and helped many young riders -- the best was Nicole Cooke. She started in my own team at the age of 12 and was with me for four years until the (British Cycling) Federation came along and said, 'Thanks, we will have her.' She went on to win just about everything in ladies' cycling, including the Olympics and World Championships.
'I have good, sensible food -- fresh veg and fresh fruit whenever possible. I like most types of food, even chips (french fries) if cooked correctly. I'm not a great fan of cream cakes or cakes in general, but I like biscuits and crisps (potato chips). I drink very little booze, but when I was in my 20s I would often go out with my mates and get sloshed and race next morning -- but we were all in same boat. I like a glass of red wine, and I enjoy tea rather than coffee.
'I've travelled the world with cycling, and I loved the foods and drinks in those places. I can eat most things if required.'
'I had an operation in November (2014) on my lower back after wearing part of it out after clocking up over 700,000 miles,' Ives told Business Insider. 'And I had an operation on my heart in May (2015) as I had an irregular heart beat, and they have sorted it out.'
'My 'secret for success' for over 60 years has been hard work to get there in the first place,' Ives told Business Insider. 'Dedication, and never being frightened of big names in the sport -- they all have two legs. And never give in, unless you really have to. Use your head, but listen to your body. Respect everyone around you, but don't be frightened of them. Pick the brains of others to further your career and success. And remember -- you never stop learning.'
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