By Alex Matthews
You won’t catch 101-year-old Jock Stares popping to the shops on a mobility scooter – he’s believed to be Britain’s oldest biker!
Centenarian Jock hits the road on his bike every day – despite having had to renew his licence more than 10 times since he hit 70 to prove he’s fit to be on the roads.
And he’s now though to be Britain’s oldest biker after gaining his licence in 1930 – and has no plans to hang up his leathers.
Having first jumped on a motorbike at the age of seven, in 1923, Jock Stares is still riding his Yamaha 125 scooter.
The retired dentist, from Swansea, South Wales, said: “Motorbikes are my life. I have always been fascinated by mechanical things since I could walk, and then when I got my first bike at seven I fell in love.
“People are always shocked when they find out my age and that I’m still riding around.
“But every three years I apply to renew my licence and every three years it comes back through the post. I even took an unofficial test when I turned 100 and the chap told me I would have passed easily.
“I still feel 25 and as fit as anything – and my birthday is February 29, so technically I’ve only had 25 birthdays! There’s no reason for me to give it up yet.
“I still get the same thrill from my scooter now as I got when I first started riding and when I had big powerful bikes.
“I get excited about going to the shops because it means I get the feeling of being on the road again. There’s a true feeling of freedom.
“I’m not stupid about it. The second something happens that means I shouldn’t ride anymore I’ll stop. But that will be a very sad day.
“The bike is my lifeline. I use it to visit my friends and family, and I pop to the shop for milk on it.”
And despite the fact that some of the residents are 20 years younger than him, he also makes daily trips to three old people’s homes so he can sing and play the piano to them.
When Jock was seven his dad came home with a run-down Clyno motorcycle he had found.
However, his interest in mechanics meant Jock was able to strip it down and rebuild it, and he was soon riding around the fields near his home.
His love affair with motorcycles began there and has never gone away.
Jock said: “The area where we lived is all built up now, but back then it was all farmland. There were only eight houses.
“So once I had the bike sorted out I could ride it all around the fields. I had a fantastic childhood.
“When I was 14 my dad bought me a brand new BSA Bantam. It was very smart.
“Very soon after I got it, they changed the law so that 14-year-olds could not get a licence to ride motorbikes, but I already had mine.
“I was the only boy in the grammar school who went in on a motorcycle. It was quite a statement, and it still makes me chuckle now.”
Motorcycle-mad Jock has passed on his love of them to son Roger, 76, and continues to try and stoke the passion in his great grandchildren.
Continuing their close relationship Jock and Roger also ran the Jock’s dental practice together. Jock’s wife Babs, who passed away in 2000, was the receptionist and administrator.
Jock only retired at the age of 85, having worked as a dentist for 60 years, when his son decided to sell the practice and the new owner would not let him carry on.
Jock said: “Those were my two passions in life – my dental practice and my motorbikes.
“It was great fun working alongside my family and we did a really good job. The chap who took it over inherited a really great place.
“It’s a shame I had to stop really, but that’s the way it is. I get recognised by people all over the place from doing their teeth. I’ve looked after several generations of families.
“Roger and I used to enjoy going motorbiking together, particularly off-road. It was a fantastic thing to do outside of work.”
Son Roger said: “Even though he started so young my dad wouldn’t let me ride one at first.
“He told me I needed to get a licence and have some more experience.
“I’ve really enjoyed all the times we’ve been out riding though. We have more of a friendship than a father-son relationship, and it’s always been so much fun.
“I’ve actually wound down more than him now though. I have an electric powered push bike but he’s still got his powerful scooter.
“I can’t believe he’s still going sometimes!”