Meet Fred. At 83 years young, he’s survived pancreatic cancer surgery and being knocked off his bike by a car. Yet come October 15, he’ll line up for his first Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenge in over seven years.
Fred and his customised Apollo bike are tough customers. The Laurieton resident, who only moved there earlier this year after his wife passed away, has been getting to know the area on his trusty bike after many years not cycling following his accident.
“Every time when I looked at the bike, my then wife used to have hysterics – reckoned I was going to get killed,” Fred says.
Given Fred’s injuries from the crash, one can forgive his wife for being a little overprotective. Frank suffered seven fractured ribs, a punctured chest cavity that filled with air and blood, significant left side bruising and a compression fracture of his L2 vertebra which wasn’t diagnosed until months later.
Yet despite this accident and his seven year break from cycling, Fred gave in the to lure of the bike a few months ago after moving to Laurieton. Being the frank sort, Fred says, “Let’s face it, at my age, moving to a new district, I’ve not got much else to do have I?’
Keeping fit has always been a way of life for this former GP. “My philosophy is you only have one body, so if you want to die of old age, look after it when you’re young!” Fred warns.
Fred is under no illusions about taking on B2GC as an octogenarian, so he’s currently training on his specially chosen 15km loop route which includes some hills to boost his fitness.
“There’s not point being silly. If I’m going to ride 100km, I need to be fit don’t I?!” Frank declares.
“I happen to be a retired medical practitioner so I’m not stupid about my health. I don’t intend to fall off the bike with a heart attack!”
Fred will be joined in the Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenge by his son, Sean. But Sean won’t be on two wheels, instead preferring the challenge of tackling the event on a unicycle, much to Fred’s amusement.
“I’m 83 and he’s 54, and we’re both crazy,” Fred chuckles. “Sean says he likes doing strange things otherwise people will think he’s normal!”
Stay tuned for Sean’s story soon!