While European population gets angry with politicians that are regularly increasing the age for people to become officially retired, there are no such concerns in South America.
Don’t tell Elena Galvez from Chile that she’s too old to ride her bike. The 90-year-old cycling grandmother lives alone with her hens in the dusty rural suburb of Cerrillos in Chile. She puts her age to the test every week when she pedals hundreds of miles to the closest market.
With poverty rife in the neighbourhood, she collects eggs and whatever she can muster from her four cows and one calf and rides on her bicycle to sell them in the town of Rengo, and sometimes she also visits her friends living in the small town of Requínoa.
Galvez’s mode of transport is her sturdy old bike. Since she was 47 years old, she has turned heads in her small farm community by riding into urban areas to sell produce. Galvez says cycling is the secret behind her good health and longevity, and she’s showing no signs of slowing down.
“It’s a treasure. At her age, having her in Cerrillos, with her activity, with what she says,” said neighbour Arturo Pinto. “She’s a woman who’s excellent to have in town.”
“Without my bicycle, I have no life. It’s my compadre, my friend. I’m nothing without it,” she says.