Like most kids growing up, I always had a bike, but my love for cycling didn’t really take off until 1979, at the age of 18. I had just left school and started working for a local printing company, when I say local, it was about 6 miles from where I lived (around 10 km). After a couple of weeks of messing around with buses and being late a couple of times, I decide to buy a new bike and cycle to work and so the story begins.
After a few years of commuting by bike and a change of jobs, I met a work colleague who was into cycling in a big way and took part in competitions. At the start, I would just go on training rides after work and from time to time we would meet up at a race. It was at one of these meetings I met and become friends with a guy from a local cycling club, the 34th Nomads, and I joined up.
MY COMPETITIVE CYCLING
The 34th nomads were well known around the area I live due to the connection with ex-professional ride Sean Yates, who rode for the Nomads as an amateur like myself. Yates went on to ride the Tour de France 12 times and raced alongside the likes of the now infamous Lance Armstrong. I competed in cycling for around 10 years.
The first couple of years I concentrated on road racing, which I enjoyed, but once the family came along I could no longer justify the number of hours I needed to train. At the time I was cycling somewhere between 7,000-8,000 miles a year just to be competitive, so from here I switched to time trialling and competed mainly over 10 and 25 miles.
I had the best time of just under 24mins for the 10 and if I remember well, around an hour and 6mins for the 25. Even though I stopped racing over 20 years ago, I have continued cycling both as a means of transport and a great source of exercise. As I ease myself into old age, I have for sure become a fair weather cyclist (only getting the bike out on sunny days), but riding a bike is in the blood and something I like to think I will always be able to do.
CYCLING SUCCESS IN THE UK
The UK has had a golden era of cycling so far this century. When I started out as a fan of cycling, the Tour de France along with the one-day road racing classics were the events I looked forward to. The likes of Laurent Fignon, Greg LeMond, the great Miguel Indurain and of course Lance Armstrong, who was recently stripped of his 7 wins. The Tour de France is still a big event on the calendar and British riders have won 5 of the last 6, Bradley Wiggings (1), Chris Frome (3) and the 2018 winner, Welsh rider Geraint Thomas.
As well as this success on the road, the UK have won numerous medals at World and Olympic level in both the men and women’s competitions on the track. These include husband and wife team, Jason and Laura Kenny, Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggings and Ed Clancy, just to name a few, who between them have 23 Olympic medals alone. So why have we done so well? I’m not 100% it’s true, but after the last Olympics, an Australian newspaper suggested it’s because we Brits are lazy and only do well in sports where we can sit down! How dare they!!!
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