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
Instagram: Tempo Cyclist
Website: Tempo Cyclist on Wordpress
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