BMX riding has given 70-year-old Paul Mounsey a new lease of life. Dubbed as Britain’s oldest BMX rider, he describes it as ‘the best thing ever’ and travels across the UK, Europe and America competing in BMX racing championships.
Paul was introduced to BMX riding just five years ago at the age of 65 by two younger lads who would see Paul mountain biking at a local forestry track. The lads suggested that Paul joined them in taking their bikes to a BMX meeting. Paul thought why not, and simply gave it ago. ‘I really enjoyed it’ Paul tells us, ‘It wasn’t too technical and I could get round’.
There are different styles of BMX riding – freestyle and racing, ‘I do the racing side of it’ says Paul. He now competes for various clubs and has qualified for the BMX championship three times. 'I’m not the quickest person in the world – but I enjoy what I’m doing and I feel great doing it.’
Being a lorry driver all his life, Paul sat behind a steering wheel for over forty years. He was never interested in exercise or ever really thought about how his lifestyle was affecting his health – until he started to BMX ride. ‘It’s only through BMX that I’ve become fitter and learnt how to be fit.’ Since wanting to get fitter and therefore faster whilst BMX racing, Paul’s taken up cross fit and stopped smoking, which has resulted in him losing weight and becoming healthier than he’s felt in years.
Now riding for an elite team, the Ice Team, Paul says that it’s more than he could ever hope for. Riding in the 50+ category, he often rides against men 20 years younger than himself, not that he lets that stops him, ‘I’ll get on the bike and just do the best I can – I’m definitely getting quicker’ he says.
They used to say 70 was old age, I don’t feel “old age” – I’m now achieving things that I never dreamed of.
Only a few years ago Paul would be stiff after a race and his body would ache when he walked, but it just goes to show that the effects of exercising and living well can have positive affects no matter your age, ‘it’s amazing how well I feel’ adds Paul. ‘If I can finish a race and think ‘I’ve ridden well’, I’m over the moon.’ Paul will be making his third trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma at the end of this year to race at the USA BMX Grand Nationals.
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