‘Grow old disgracefully’ with petrol-head pensioners

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A Dales husband and wife are on a journey to prove that growing old does not necessarily mean the dreaded carpet slippers and telly.

In fact, rather than slowly winding down into the quiet boredom of old age, Stephanie and Graham Roberts are speeding up, burning rubber and firing on every cylinder.

And they want like-minded senior citizens in the Dales to join them on their high-octane mission to “grow old disgracefully”.

The Wensley couple have opened Great Britain’s first Ulysses Club – a international motorcycle community for the more mature rider.

The club, which originated in Australia in 1983, boasts an extensive network of members across the globe. The club is open to anybody over 50-years-old, but those in their forties can apply for a “junior” membership.

Explaining what club members get up to, Stephanie, 65, said: “We meet locally for rides and day trips, as well as meeting overseas clubs for tours of the British Isles.

“But if members wanted to head overseas for a tour themsleves, they can be certain of finding like-minded people to stay with, socialise with and ride with,” she added.

However, it’s not just the social aspect that the couple believe is good for combatting old age.

“Riding a motorcycle is a great thing to keep your mind sharp,” said Graham, 61.

“Keeping your balance on the bike, having your hands and feet doing different things and, of course, the thrill of riding definitely keeps you young – it’s great!”

The couple officially launched the club in August this year after having their Ulysses status granted in July.

Within weeks the group had 34 members from across the country.

However, they are still waiting for Derbyshire members – particularly in the Dales – to join up.

“There are some fantastic roads to ride in Derbyshire and I’m sure there are lots of older people – like us – out there who would really love being part of Ulysses,” said Stephanie.

“A lot of people assume riding motorcycles is a young persons game, but when it comes to buying, maintaining and insuring a Harley Davidson or equivalent, it’s very expensive and mainly the preserve of old fogeys,” added Graham.

If you fancy growing old disgracefully in this world-wide community of petrol-headed pensioners, visit www.ulyssesclubgb.org or email secretary@ulyssesclubgb.org.

“Just because you’re getting old doesn’t mean you can’t still have lots of fun,” said Stephanie.