Over The Hill – What can a group of OAPs teach us about mountain biking and life?

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Words Adele Mitchell Photography Paul Mitchell

Silver shredders.

‘Who are all those men?’

It’s a Friday morning in the Surrey Hills – a time of the week when we usually have the trails pretty much to ourselves – and I’m with my ride buddy Rachel (no, not that Rachel). We’ve paused at a fork in the trail and approaching us, at a steady pace, is a group of around 20 riders. By the time they reach us it’s apparent that most of them are well over 60: a veritable Dad’s Army of mountain bikers.

Retirement isn't an excuse to rest for this bunch.

They stop and we exchange pleasantries – in fact they even invite us to join them. We decline, of course, after all, Rachel and I are rootin’-tootin’ cowgirls of the trails (in our heads, at least) – what fun could there be in trotting along besides a bunch of pensioners?

But my journalist’s curiosity soon gets the better of me. Who are all these people? How had they got into mountain biking? And what do they get out of it? So I get in touch with the ride leader and, a few weeks later, join them for a ride.

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