100-km ride ‘no sweat’ for 85-year-old Terra Cotta cyclist

by Karen Martin-Robbins

Ted Webb, 85, has been cycling since he was a teenager. He will be taking part in the 100 km Velocity ride on Caledon Day that will raise money for Caledon Community Services’ seniors programs.

Ted Webb knows this is the day he will break his record.

He can feel it in his bones.

It’s 1998, and Webb is 65 years old.

He’s riding in a time trial for the Ontario Masters in the Trans Atlantic Challenge taking place near Binbrook, Ont.

When he was 17 years old, he cycled 25 miles (40 kilometres) in one hour and six minutes.

For a long time, the England-expat thought that was the fastest he would ever ride.

Forty years later, in his 60s, he really got into bike racing and beat that record — getting slightly faster every year.

But on this day, in 1998, Webb has a feeling he will blow those numbers out of the water.

“I got this endorphin rush. It was the strangest feeling,” he says. “Your body wants to stop, but you get this energy that just pushes you beyond your limits.”

Webb went by the timekeeper and wanted to keep going.

He clocked his fastest time ever that day — 40 km in just under an hour.

Although he has never cycled faster than that day, the 85-year-old Terra Cotta resident hasn’t slowed down much.

On June 16, he will ride 100 km in Caledon Community Services Velocity ride accompanied by friends. He’s taking part because the organization provides excellent support services for seniors and wants to promote cycling for seniors, encouraging them to keep fit and stay healthy.

But the event will be “no sweat” for this senior. He rides 80 to 110 km once a week at least.

A longtime member of the Brampton Cycling Club and founder of Le Tour de Terra Cotta, Webb is a huge advocate for cycling.

“There’s this incredible freedom in being on a bike,” he says. “You can travel from point A to point B on your own steam. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to do.”

His passion started as a youth living in London, England, in the 1950s. Gas was rationed, so to get anywhere, he biked.

He returned to the sport as a Canadian in his 50s, joining the Brampton Cycling Club, and training and racing.

He has a room in his basement devoted to his passion. One wall is covered in photos of events he’s taken part in over the years. Another is covered in medals.

Bike tires hang from the ceiling, and dozens of cycling outfits take over a corner.

Cycling has taken him all over — he once rode the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, went overseas cycling in Italy and France, and biked from Vancouver to San Francisco in 10 days.

He says cycling is a social activity. He rides with a group of fellow cyclists and volunteers to take novice riders out for a spin.

“People from all walks of life cycle. It’s a great leveller. The bike is what we all have in common,” he says.

Velocity takes place on June 16, It’s a family-friendly ride with a choice of 10-km, 25-km, 60-km or 10- km routes. All money raised will go to Caledon Community Services seniors programs. For more information, visit www.ccsvelocity.ca.

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