MOST pensioners would be happy with a few cards and a nice cake for their 80th birthday – but not Les Good.
There will be no sitting around in his slippers for the former Post Office supervisor as he enters his ninth decade after he signed up to ride a staggering 320 miles as part of a charity bike ride across Europe.
Despite having two hip replacements in recent years, granddad Les, who turned 80 this week, is taking part in Foundation of Light’s Ride of Remembrance – from Brussels, in Belgium, to the French capital Paris in July.
The ride commemorates the 70th anniversary of World War Two taking in key landmarks along the route over four days.
Organised by the registered charity of Sunderland AFC, the annual challenge raises funds for education, sport and community projects across the North East. Speaking about signing up for the challenge and his lifelong cycling enthusiasm Les, from Seaburn, said: “I just enjoy the challenge and it’s a fun way to keep yourself fit.
“I’ve always enjoyed cycling, I’ve even been to see the Tour de France before, although I haven’t always had time to do it.
“Four years ago I had both hips replaced and thanks to those operations I’m now able to get in about 100 miles per week.”
Since his operations Les has taken part in a number of cycle challenges including Edinburgh to Sunderland and the W2W (Walney to the Wear) route.
Asked how he feels about people calling him an inspiration, Les said: “There are people who are far more inspirational than me. I just don’t feel my age and that’s all it is.”
Les is particularly looking forward to the ride because it will also indulge his other passion, history.
“This ride is going to be great because it will bring the Second World War back into focus,” added Les, who is married to Ann Elizabeth, 77, with whom he has son Richard and daughter Judith.
“Going through the Ardennes will be a brilliant experience, so the ride really ties up what I want to see.
“I’ve been to some of the war graves in France before and it’s an amazing thing to witness.”