Breakaway Revisited: The journey of Middle Ringer

Waaaaay back in January 2013, the Wheelsuckers team approached me for a little Q&A session for their Breakaway feature on the site. I was pretty new to the UK road scene at that time but my enthusiasm was sky high. Fast forward to the start of 2016 and that enthusiasm is still strong, maybe even stronger!

So what have a handful of years and a fair few thousand miles changed in the cycling life of Middle Ringer?

First up, lets just say that I never imagined my journey into the wonderful world of road cycling would have taken this route. I have been truly lucky. I was just a guy who enjoyed riding his bike and in every way I still am. Now I just ride my bike much, much more! In fact I think my life is becoming increasingly cycle orientated – in a good way of course.

I now ride almost every day. I cycle commute 32 miles/day to my new job (working for a prominent road cycling company) and get out for a longer cycle on the weekend too. I joined the newly formed Woking CC, which has grown from a dozen members to over 200 since the beginning. If I’m not actually riding my bike, I’m talking about cycling, handling cycling products or thinking about cycling. I've even appeared on ITV's The Cycle Show riding with Rebecca Charlton! It has well and truly taken over my life. They told me road cycling was addictive but I had no idea!

I think I spend almost as much time in Lycra as out of it. A notion that does seem to be backed up by the ratio of cycle clothing to regular clothing in my wardrobe. Thanks to the Wheelsuckers team I’ve even had the opportunity to test and review some fantastic bits of cycling kit. 

As for the bikes well that has progressed equally as fast. When my original Breakaway was published I was gunning around on my Specialized Sirrus, a flat-bar hybrid. I’ve still got that bike, but it’s well and truly taken a back seat in the bike shed. Since then I’ve gone through a couple of road bikes, with my current “best bike” being a racy Kinesis Aithein which I built up myself from a frameset. I’ve also got a dedicated winter/commute road bike plus a Planet X Stealth time trial bike tucked away for race season.

And what would road cycling be without Strava? Sure I had a mild indifference to Strava at first but it has really grown on me. Not so much for the segments – I’ll never be a KOM collector – but for the social aspect. It’s a great way to keep in contact with (or keep tabs on) club mates and friends in other countries. Plus I love my Festive 500 finisher’s badge. Like they say, if it ain’t on Strava…

Back in 2011 I was first introduced to the world of electronic shifting in the form of a Di2 equipped demo bike, set up on a turbo trainer at Sigma Sport bike shop. From that very first button press I was hooked! It was a complete revelation. For the price though, I had resigned myself to never actually owning it. Now thanks to working in the cycling industry I have 10-speed Ultegra Di2 on my new winter bike and yes, I still absolutely love every battery operated ultra slick shift!

The three words I chose to sum up cycling still apply. Freedom. Release. Escape. Getting on my bike each morning is the absolute highlight of my day, cycling to the sight of the sunrise as I roll silently along the tarmac. I am truly blessed. Being on two wheels is absolute freedom, total release from the stresses of everyday life. Whether on my own or with a group of friends, I love each and every mile I spend in the saddle.

In the immortal words of Fat Boy Slim; you’ve come a long way, baby. It’s not a journey I expected to take or one I could have even imagined, but this particular road has been quite the ride. I m truly grateful to the guys behind Wheelsuckers for their support over the last few years too. Dave, Andy and Nick I thank you for all you've done for me!

As for shaving my legs? Well… Errrr… Let’s just say that these days my pins are pretty smooth, even in the winter. Got to keep those standards high! #keepcycling

Tempo Cyclist

Twitter: @MiddleRinger

Website: Tempo Cyclist on Wordpress

Views: 258

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Comment by Andy Dawson on February 9, 2016 at 15:25

Another great post MR. Thanks for your kind comments about Wheelsuckers and your quality reviews too. Glad to have had you on-board from the early days!

Comment by Middle Ringer on February 8, 2016 at 20:19

Oh and the wife and I still enjoy a tandem ride when we can. It' great way on holidays to explore the local area while sticking together, she could never cover the same ground on a solo bike. Last summer we hired a rickety old tandem and rode along the beautiful Slovenian coastline to Croatia and back! It was thirsty work with the temperature topping out at 38 degrees C.

Comment by Middle Ringer on February 8, 2016 at 20:08

Only the finest for Woking CC, ice cream in the Queen's back yard! ;-)

The Cycle Show appearance came about when they wanted to do a piece on how joining a cycling club isn't scary. I was chosen to be interviewed as a rider from one of the "fast" groups. Rebecca Charlton rode back from Windsor to Woking with me chatting away!

Comment by Nick Williamson on February 8, 2016 at 19:06

Mike, Woking CC only eat Gelato from turreted vans!

Comment by Nick Williamson on February 8, 2016 at 18:52

Great post MR and thank you for the name check.

Its all your own effort though and an inspiration to others, one of your posts that sticks in my memory was your tandem ride round Hungary.....two wheels are always good!

Comment by Mike the Bike on February 8, 2016 at 18:01

You obviously move in exalted circles MR, even the ice-cream vans have turrets!

Comment by Dave Nash on February 8, 2016 at 10:01

BTW - I didn't now you were a cycling celebrity too! How did that come about?!

Comment by Dave Nash on February 8, 2016 at 10:00

What a great post! And yes, shaving your legs in winter is an emphatic a statement as any of what you have become! I think you have eloquently summed up what many road cyclists feel -  'Being on two wheels is absolute freedom, total release from the stresses of everyday life' - I don't think I've ever come back from a bike ride in a bad mood, irrespective of whether the legs have been heavy on a solo base ride  or my club mates have dumped my long before the final sprint to the post-ride cafe!

Many thanks for the kind words Middle Ringer and, of course, for your regular contributions to Wheelsuckers. 

Comment by Dave Rowe on February 7, 2016 at 21:15

Fabulous to see where cycling has taken you MR - now if only you could give up this infatuation with the Dreaded Derailleur Gear and join us on the One True Path (that is 42x16) you would be perfect! Totes agree with the Shaven Pins in Winter Routine although I'm thoroughly ashamed to say that my own Sagan-esque examples look like a BeeGees tribute act - YUK!

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