The Tour de Vale on a 62 year old bike

On Sunday 11 June Alan from Aylesbury will be taking part in the 2023 Bucks Radio Tour de Vale for the very first time. He has set his sights on completing the 75km course, and is making it a little bit more difficult by doing so on his 62 year old bicycle!

Alan is 65 years old and works as a project and programme manager in adult social care. He continues, “I’ve worked in health and social care almost all my working life, and I now do a lot more in the back office, helping to bring about changes which make things better for people.”

The Tour de Vale Challenge

Alan is a keen cyclist and loves nothing more than getting out on his bike in the Chilterns and around the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside.

“I go out mainly at weekends and tend to do a scenic 40/50km ride through the Chiltern Hills. I usually ride alone and for me, part of the joy of cycling is that time out, it’s almost like yoga. You are in nature by yourself and can just focus on cycling – I find its so good for your well being.”

“I do enjoy cycling but I’ve never done the Tour de Vale before. It’s always caught my eye but this year I thought I’d do some organised events and this prompted me to look at the 2023 ride. The charity it raises money for tipped the balance for me because I felt it was something I could really get behind and support.”

With 3 routes to choose from Alan was considering different options for his challenge and decided the 75km on a vintage bike would be a great story that people could really get behind.

 “I like a challenge so when I started thinking about it it was a choice of either doing the 110km on a newer bike or 75km on an older bike. I asked some friends and asked them which they’d be more willing to sponsor and they all said the later.”

The Bike – ‘Elizabeth’ (Dawes RealmRider 1961)

Alan has a keen interest in vintage bikes and over the years has added several older machines to his collection. When Alan saw the Dawes RealmRider on eBay (see photo) he fell in love with it and has built it from the frame up with vintage parts to get her road ready. Alan continues, “I’m a member of the Veteran-Cycle Club and actually have 3 older bikes at the moment. This bike I built up myself about 3 years ago after I bought the frame for £40 on eBay! The frame was made in 1961 and has the original paint on it. I nicknamed her Elizabeth as she reminded me of the Queen because of the RealmRider name. It also has the Olympic rings on the seat tube so it has that link to the Paralympics as well. ”

Dawes Realm Rider 1961 bike

Reflecting on the Tour de Vale challenge Alan told us that … “I’ve not ridden more than 20/25 miles on this bike so far, but I’ve really enjoyed taking it out on a sunny summer’s day through Wendover Woods. It’s such a beautiful bike to look at it and its really nice to ride. But I have to say it’s quite heavy!”

Not only will Alan be riding his 62 year old bike on the day but he also plans to wear the sort of clothing that someone from the bikes heyday would have worn (with the addition of a helmet of course). “I won’t be wearing lycra but instead I’ll be wearing something a little bit more 1960s to go with the bike, a cotton shirt and a pair of shorts.”


WheelPower is thankful to all of our amazing riders for taking part in the Tour de Vale and helping the charity by raising vital funds. The money raised supports disabled people both here in Buckinghamshire, and across the UK to access sport and activity opportunities. With such a fantastic story Alan was keen to support the charity and set up a JustGiving page.

“I’m not used to fundraising at all and I was keen to set myself an achievable target. After just a week of sharing I was really surprised to hit my £500 goal. I’m so grateful for everyone’s generosity and can’t thank everyone enough for getting behind me. I’ve upped my target to £600 and through the fundraising I’ve also been in touch with people I haven’t seen for years which has been really nice.”

Alan Tour de Vale 2023 Story cycling at Stoke Mandeville Stadium

Final Words from Alan …

“It’s going to be a challenge for me but I feel I’m up to it – Elizabeth and I are ready to go! As a first timer at the Tour de Vale I’m feeling really excited by the experience and looking forward to getting on the start line this June. I hope that by sharing my story it might encourage more people to sign up to the 2023 Tour de Vale and in turn raise some money for WheelPower. It would be brilliant if you could come along and join us for a bike ride in Buckinghamshire this Summer.”

Support Alan by donating to his JustGiving fundraising page