Category Archives: Why I Cycle

Why I Cycle: An Interview with travel journalist & broadcaster Simon Calder

Our ‘Why I Cycle’ series is a great chance to hear from a few famous pedalling enthusiasts and find out about their love for cycling! For our latest instalment we managed to convince Travel Editor of the Independent, Simon Calder, to tell us a bit more about his love for two wheels. Read on to discover more…

1. At what age did you start cycling?
On two wheels, aged four — which, as the scar on my forehead testifies, was slightly too early.

2. What inspired you to start cycling?
Being born and brought up in Crawley, from where the concept of expanding horizons looks especially appealing.

3. What do you enjoy most about cycling?
Whether you’re exploring somewhere new or just cycling to work, the pace is just right for appreciating your surroundings. You can cover a serious amount of ground (the most I’ve managed is 100 miles in a day, which nearly finished me off) or just dawdle around with family or friends. And as a practical means of getting from A to B in a city, cycling is unbeatable.

4. Is there anything you don’t enjoy about cycling?
The risk factor, which is heightened because of society’s attitudes. If an inattentive car or truck driver hits and kills a cyclist, it is termed an “accident” rather than negligence of the highest order. And I’m alarmed by the Cycle Superhighway scheme in London, which appears to involve spending tens of millions of pounds on building segregated bike paths where they’re not needed, to the annoyance of all road users in the capital, and failing to address issues at the most dangerous points for cyclists.

5. Who is your favourite person to cycle with?
Any other road user who is courteous and considerate.

6. If you could cycle with anyone (dead or alive!) who would it be?
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, to try to convince him what needs to be done to improve cyclist safety in the capital to the point where families can confidently go out and enjoy the city and the perfect pace.

7. Have you ever cycled or do you plan to cycle for a particular charity?
Yes, in the late 1990s for a charity supporting disadvantaged children in Russia. The journey went from St Petersburg to the ancient capital, Novgorod — a tiny distance relative to the scale of the world’s biggest country, but still a challenge. More recently, I was on a skiing holiday in Les Deux Alpes, and the staff had organised a charity ride to Alpe d’Huez, the multi-hairpin climb. For a donation of €50 I was invited along.

8. Tell us about your number one cycling highlight?
Surviving.

9. Tell us about your favourite place to cycle?
South across Waterloo Bridge in London: not only am I on one of the world’s loveliest city river crossings, I am also only five minutes from home.

10. Finally if you could cycle anywhere in the world where would it be?
Scotland. I am cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in sections, and I still have the Kilmarnock to Aviemore and Inverness to the top end of Scotland to enjoy.

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Keen to hear more from Simon? Hear more from him via the following…

Why I Cycle: An Interview with an Olympic Gold medalist

The next in our ‘Why I Cycle‘ Series is  Olympic track medalist Steven Burke who won gold both at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Now that the hysteria of the games has calmed a little we found a few moments to find out a little bit more about his love of cycling…

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  1. At what age did you start cycling?
     I started cycling at the age of 13 at the Manchester Velodrome for a club called Eastland Velo. I used to play football before then for the local village and school teams.
  2. What inspired you to start cycling?
    My family have always been into cycling. My Mum represented Great Britain for road cycling a couple of times in the 80s, my Grandad has been a road and track cyclist since he was young and my Dad competed in Time Trial events for a while. Also, I remember watch Jason Queally win Gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 for the Kilo Time Trial on the track. That really inspired me to try track cycling.
  3. What do you enjoy most about cycling?
    The racing, especially the Team Pursuit! I enjoy the adrenaline rush just before the racing, and the satifaction after the race when it has gone well, knowing that the hard work has been worth it.
  4. Is there anything you don’t enjoy about cycling?
    The early morning training sessions because I do like a lie in at times!
  5. Who is your favourite person to cycle with?
    Chris Latham, a Bolton lad who is also in the Great Britain Cycling Team and Team Wiggins. We really get on and he always makes me laugh on rides.
  6. If you could cycle with anyone (dead or alive!) who would it be? 
     Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of all time!
  7.  Have you ever cycled or do you plan to cycle for a particular charity?
    I have never really had the chance before because of training and racing commitments. However, I would love to help raise money for Pendleside Hospice in Burnley. My girlfriend Katie sadly lost her Mother early this year so I’ve seen first hand what wonderful work the hospice does.
  8. Tell us about your number one cycling highlight?
    I have 2 which are joint favourites! Winning gold medals in the Team Pursuit at London 2012 and Rio 2016 breaking World Records in the process.
  9. Tell us about your favourite place to cycle?
    It would be Tuscany, Italy. I used to live there for three road seasons as a Great Britain Under 23 Academy rider. For a cyclist, the place have everything including great food, long climbs, fast decents, scenic views and mainly fantastic weather.
  10.  Finally,  if you could cycle anywhere in the world where would it be?
    I would love to have a cycling holiday some time either in the Alps or the Pyrenees, riding the famous climbs of le Tour de France. I have never trained or raced much in that area of the world being more of a track rider.

Why I Cycle: An Interview with the editor of Total Women’s Cycling

As part of our ‘Why I Cycle‘ series we’ve been tracking down some of the UK’s biggest cycling advocates, to find out what makes their tyre’s tick. Today we’re sharing our interview with Michelle Arthurs, the editor of the online cycling website: Total Women’s Cycling. Alongside blogging about the country’s latest cycling innovations for ladies, guess what, she loves to get out and ride…

1.  At what age did you start cycling?
I was 21 when I started cycling as an adult. Living in Brighton and studying at Sussex Uni, the bike lanes were good and it was initially just a much cheaper way of getting around. Then I started setting myself mini challenges cycling further and further along the coast…

2.  What inspired you to start cycling?
I just enjoyed it, at first. Then I picked up a running injury and started training for a triathlon. My first road bike was a real revelation and I soon realised I liked cycling more than running. That realisation led to time trials, track and crit racing.

3.  What do you enjoy most about cycling?
It’s cliche – but some cliches are popular for a reason. Just the freedom and exploration.

4.  Is there anything you don¹t enjoy about cycling?
Riding in the rain. And that moment in a crit race when you feel like you’re putting in every ounce of wattage you’ve got into your legs, yet it’s not enough.

5.  Who is your favourite person to cycle with? My husband Maurice.

6.  If you could cycle with anyone (dead or alive!) who would it be? Marianne Vos.

7.   Have you ever cycled or do you plan to cycle for a particular charity?
No. But if I did, it would be Breast Cancer Care, after my mother in law struggled with the illness recently. Or a Dementia charity as my grandmother was very ill with this towards the end of her life.

8.  Tell us about your number one cycling highlight?
Any moment where I feel I’ve pushed through a barrier of what I thought I could achieve. My first 100 mile ride (which was very hilly and a little faster than I’d have liked in Mallorca), climbing Mont Ventoux, getting a new PB in a Time Trial and snapping up my Cat 2 road racing license. All times I’ve felt so proud I could burst.

9.  Tell us about your favourite place to cycle?
Probably Mallorca. I know the area well enough that I don’t need to worry about getting lost – it’s got climbs and flat lands. This said, I’m keen to explore new cycling destinations – many cyclists make annual trips to the island and there are so many other places to ride!

10.  Finally if you could cycle anywhere in the world where would it be?
Perhaps South Africa. My dad grew up in SA and most of our extended family are there. I used to go to visit as a child a lot – but I’ve never been as an adult. And they do say the best way to get to know a place is by bicycle!

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