MEN’S increasing longevity compared to that of women has been the subject of an interesting news story this week.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the gap between male and female life expectancy is closing and, indeed, men could catch up by 2030.

The ONS’s Prof Les Mayhew said the difference between the sexes peaked at nearly six years at one stage in the 1970s.

Now, as life expectancy increases for all, we men are narrowing the gap.

But can you believe these sorts of report?

I remember once reading a study that suggested married men live longer than single men. I’d never heard such a load of nonsense - everyone knows it just seems longer!

Of course, one of the things men could do to extend their life expectancy is to take more exercise, like cycling.

But pedalling around on Britain’s roads could actually reduce your chances of reaching a grand old age.

On this I’m with London taxi boss John Griffin, who got into trouble a few days ago for blaming the rising popularity of cycling for the increase in accidents.

He also reckons cyclists should pay road tax, be insured and have more extensive training - and I’m with him on those points, too!

Mr Griffin is quite right when he says motorists travel in protected spaces while all cyclists have to protect them is a ‘padded plastic hat’.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m not convinced it’s a good idea for our national park authority to encourage more people to take up cycling while on holiday in the Lake District.

Proper mountain biking over the fells is a different matter, of course, and I reckon anyone who wants to take it up should be welcome to their mud-splattered existences.

But if you want to guarantee longevity for you and your family, I would steer your bikes well away from our death-trap country roads.