Paignton cyclist Ken Robertson, 83, clocks up 200 miles a week

Cyclist Ken Robertson

Cyclist Ken Robertson - Credit: Archant

Over five days recently Ken Robertson hopped on his bike in Paignton and rode 90 miles on Monday, 73 on Wednesday and another 50 on Friday - 213 all told.

It had been a little less the week before, just under 200 miles, and most weeks he covers at least 180.

During the Covid-19 crisis, Ken has been knocking out the miles at a steady 15mph, mostly on his own.

Oh, and he is 83 years old.

'I always want to be doing something,' said Ken.

'I went out for a good long ride the other Sunday and, as I do give my legs a rest now and then, I was at a loss the next day.

'I've got the garden in shape, I've cleaned the house any number of times and done any amount of cooking. I've got some quite promising rhubarb jam on the go.'

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Robertson's wide circle of friends will be nodding by now and thinking: 'That's Ken!', for he is the South-West's 'Mr Cycling'.

He first took up the sport more than 70 years ago, and since then he has managed to spread his time between work as an electrical engineer, bringing up a family, racing and organising countless events including the 4,000-rider Dartmoor Classic marathon.

Ken holds key posts at club (Mid-Devon CC), regional and national level and, for good measure, he's also the president of the Paignton Regatta Committee.

His wife Ann died just before Christmas and father-of-two Ken says: 'Since Ann passed away, I find I have more time to ride my bike now. It is a way of passing the time and I have always loved it.

'During the current crisis I missed some company on the road. So it's good that we're allowed to ride together again now, although I do miss the cafe stops for a coffee and some cake.'

To celebrate the Mid-Devon's 90th anniversary, Ken planned another 90-mile ride.

'When I got home, I found that I had only done 85, which was a bit annoying,' he said.

So he got up first thing the next morning and did the other five miles down to the Torbay Velopark and back, with a detour to buy his daily newspaper. Well, it had to be done.