Darlington Cycling Club: Norman Edwards’ story
Meet Norman Edwards, who uses cycling as an enjoyable way to keep fit.
Norman Edwards, 68, a retired safety manager, doesn’t have a heart condition, but has a family history of heart disease, so the health benefits are a big incentive for him to cycle.
He partially retired in 2000, and when he stopped work entirely four years ago, he says, “I suddenly had a big gap in my life.”
So, Norman went along to a club ride one Tuesday, feeling a bit worried he wouldn’t be able to keep up.
But, he says: “I found them really supportive. They helped me to have confidence to know that with a number of rides under my belt I would be able to go at their pace. I knew that John had a heart bypass and Clive had a heart operation, so there were some amazing characters.”
Previously golf had been his main sport, but once he tried cycling he caught the bug. Norman still plays golf on his “rest days” from cycling, and he cycles three to four times a week, typically doing some 150-250 miles a week in total.
As he says: “I tried going to the gym, I didn’t really enjoy it, but I have found something I have taken to.
“It keeps me physically and mentally fit. I like the condition it puts you in, fitness-wise, it gets the endorphins and the adrenaline going, you get a buzz out if it.”
My mother died of a heart attack in her early 60s, so it is important to me to stay physically fit
Norman also rode around Ireland with Graham Wanless in 2012, covering 1130 miles in two weeks.
He says: “I trained for that ride round Ireland and came out stronger, fitter and leaner. It made me realise I could ride faster. Now there is a little breakaway group of us that like to ride a bit faster.”
Norman says: “There is a history of heart disease in my family - my mother died of a heart attack in her early 60s, so it is important to me to stay physically fit. The older riders in the group are mostly in their 70s, they are in really good shape and I think the cycling is part of that.
“The purpose for me is to enjoy the company and the 'feel good' that comes from a good work-out and through keeping yourself in good physical shape. A spin-off is that I am much more conscious of what I eat and drink and as a result generally go for the healthy option. Keeping myself at the right weight makes climbing hills so much easier!”
Best of all, he says: “Cycling is easy - you can just get up put on your gear and go out, and enjoy super company for the rest of the day.”