A NEW world record was set in Newport last week by a man who only began cycling to lose weight.

Toby Ellis, 52, is the new world record holder for the masters 100km indoor cycle - having completed the distance at Newport's Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales in less than three hours.

Mr Ellis, of Windsor, said: "It's actually huge, absolutely massive.

"I'm just a normal human being that just rode a bike, and kept riding a bike, kept riding it.

"I then rode it too much and suffered massively, but I managed to work my way into a physical condition that allowed me to break a world record.

"I was shocked and stunned and amazed, and I'm so, so, so pleased.".

The previous record for the distance - 400 laps of the indoor track - was three hours, three minutes and 10 seconds. And Mr Elis beat this on Thursday, July 8, although his time is yet to be formally confirmed due to issues with the automatic timing system.

This is even more remarkable considering Mr Ellis only started cycling again so he could lose some weight after being diagnosed as pre-diabetic.


One year ago, he was 18 and a half stone, but has since managed to lose five stone.

"The real reason I've gotten the bike out and started cycling is because I've been so fat for so long," he said.

"And with pandemic coming along I said to myself: 'actually mate, if you get this you're going to be in trouble'.

"My wife said: 'just go and get your bike out of the garage, it's sat there for 15 years doing nothing'".

Cycling appealed to Mr Ellis because of the way his performance could be easily tracked.

Admitting that he doesn't enjoy the act of exercise, he said that he liked that he could see data that showed his improvements each day.

South Wales Argus: Toby Ellis broke the masters 100k indoor cycling world record on Thursday 8 July at Newport Velodrome.

Toby Ellis after beating the record

Getting to the level of fitness he is at now was made more difficult by the fact he is heavily asthmatic.

Mr Ellis also had a scare when he was struck by a car when cycling in Windsor, prompting him to use an indoor cycling machine through the winter months.

He did not have a coaching team to get him through the cycle, but he did have the support of friends and family and relied on his own mental fortitude.

He is friends with another cycling world record holder - James Macdonald, who has the record for the fastest time cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats and back.

The idea that Mr Ellis could break the masters indoor 100k world record came from conversations with Mr Macdonald as he began to plan the world records that he wanted to break himself.

This set Mr Ellis a very short time period as he wanted to hold the record briefly before Mr Macdonald started cycling again.

Mr Ellis said: "James was looking at the records and I said: 'you know what, this 100k indoor track record - I could have a go at that'.

"His initial response was 'don't be silly' but after a week he said that my numbers were good enough to attempt it.

"We have a bit of a problem because my record is one of the records James is going for.

"Whenever he comes back to the track he will take the record, but he can't take it away from me - I've got it for life now.".

Track cycling is notorious for being an expensive sport to get into, so Mr Ellis was grateful to Newport Velodrome for letting him attempt his record time for free.

"The track staff that the venue were brilliant," said Mr Ellis.

"I never even asked anybody else, they just said 'yeah, come on down' and were really supportive".

Mr Ellis found his achievement sweeter because throughout his life he has had low self esteem issues.

He was diagnosed later in life with Asperger's, but found his life as a child quite difficult.

"When I told my father I was getting married 30 years ago he actually thought the best thing he could do as a father was to write to my in-laws saying that they should not let their daughter marry his son, because his son is a vapid and frivolous wastrel who would amount to nothing," said Mr Ellis.

"You know I really did live by my father's mantra, that I would amount to nothing and that is such a common story amongst people with dyslexia and other neuro differences.

"To come from that to a point where now I can do something quite extraordinary like break a world record on a bike is amazing".

Mr Ellis is now looking to reach his goal of losing six stone in total.

He strongly believes that it is possible for anyone to reach whatever goal they aim if they put in the hard work and adjust their mentality.

"The reality is if you just go out there and find something that you can do," said Mr Ellis.

"It doesn't matter what it is - for me it happened to be cycling.

"Who knew? Certainly not me. So just stick at it.

"Life is about choices, and I get very cross when people say that you're making bad choices.

"There's no such thing as a bad choice - it's just a choice and suddenly the good choice doesn't seem to be quite as daunting as the bad choice".