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Robert Marchand 100+ Year Old Cyclist

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robert marchand 107 yr old cyclist

Wow, a 100-year-old cyclist. How amazing to still be able to get on a bike and pedal?  I feel good about having weekly rides of mine posted on Strava at 72 years old.  Breaking records at 100+ is an astonishing achievement.  Such is the outstanding accomplishment of Frenchman Robert Marchand.

Centenarian Cyclist’s Records

In 2014, Marchand set a world record for the 100+ age class for a one-hour time trial by cycling 16.7 miles.  On the velodrome, that is 92 laps.  You can bet that he appreciated every tenth of a mile as much as we do.

Three years later (January 2017), he mounted his bike at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome outside Paris. He announced, “I am not here to be champion. I am here to prove that at 105 years old, you can still ride a bike.” After 60 minutes of pedaling, he had broken the 105+ year age group record by completing 14.01 miles.  For sure, the crowd of friends, reporters, and fans were thrilled to witness such a milestone of human achievement. “To be on top of the podium in front of all these people singing the French national anthem … was a moment of incredible emotion,” said Marchand.

Robert Marchand’s Background

Robert Marchand was born on November 26, 1911.  On top of his cycling accomplishments, this amazing cyclist lived long enough to see seventeen different presidents of France.  He has memories of both world wars.  He was a prisoner of war during WW II.

He took an active part during the strikes of 1936 in France that spawned some of France’s most important employment laws.  He is the longest-serving, still living, member of the

The 100-year-old cyclist spent part of his life as a truck driver and sugarcane planter in Venezuela.

In the 1950s, Marchand was a lumberjack in Canada. Finally, the cold climate got to him, so he returned to France in 1960 to work in various professions, including gardening and selling wine.

Why is he able to cycle at 100+ years old?

Marchand is not unaware that his accomplishments astonish people.  He chalks his remarkable cycling fitness and longevity up to eating large quantities of fruits and vegetables.  He rarely eats meat and only a little coffee. But, most importantly, the centenarian gets on his stationary trainer or rides on the roads every day for an hour.

What do Marchand’s Docs say?

When the birthday cake was lit for his 106th, the doctors warned him that it would not be in his best health interests to continue to attempt more world records.  However, Marchand responded with, “Even though his doctor said he shouldn’t do any more races, he said ‘I’m the one that decides, and I want to ride a bike.'”
He did back off from too many attempts at records.  In February 2018, he

completed a 4k race in the same velodrome where he made his last record. On his 107th birthday hopped on his bike for a 12-mile ride.

Marchand wants to keep riding for as long as his body will allow him.  Even when hearing loss made it too dangerous to ride outside, he continued solely on his trainer.

UPDATE

(June 2021)

We are saddened to learn that this 100-year-old record-breaking cyclist has passed on.

Robert Marchand died May 22 at a care facility in Mitry-Mory, France, outside Paris. He was 109.

Mr. Marchand was pushing the pedals on his exercise bike 20 minutes a day until recently.

The Mayor of his hometown, Charlotte Blandiot Faride, honored the cycling senior, saying: “Robert was a real champion, someone who could dream but also kept his feet on the ground. He was also a friend, someone who was very engaged with unions and politically very left-wing. He was a symbol of our town.”

See our other Cycling Life articles.

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