P: Tell me about your experience as a cyclist, and your proudest moment.
B: My first race was the Smirnoff International at Harlow, when I was just 10 or 11 years old, and my proudest achievement was getting a bronze medal, behind the Soviet Union, for the Team Time Trial in the World Student games in 1990.
I used to do quite a lot of racing around East Anglia. We did Sunday races on small industrial units, but then Sunday trading put a stop to that, as the car parks weren’t available any more.
Then I started doing some time trialling and grass track racing with Colchester Rovers, alongside the cyclo-cross and criteriums. I’m also a founding member of Amis Vélo, a small, sponsored cycle team that competes in cyclo-cross and cross country racing, through to road racing and time trials.
P: It sounds like you might have quite a few bikes?
B: Yes! My first one may still be at my Dad’s. It was a cheap, heavy sports bike with steel wheels. My wife says I have too many bikes! I’ve got an old fixie; and a frame which my grandfather bought me – it’s getting on for 30 years old but has great sentimental value as I won several important races on it. And I have quite a few competitive bikes.
P: How about your family, are they keen cyclists too?
B: Well, my wife and son do cycle – but my son, he’s 13, and he’s more into football and rugby! As an incentive to cycle more, I got him a bike for Christmas from Re-Cycle, the bikes to Africa charity, he loves cycling to football training and we are hoping he will start cycling to school a few days a week after the half term. I do enjoy coaching, and I started helping out at Colchester Rovers a few years ago with their grass track. I also did some cyclo-cross sessions for the kids. They are amazing, some of them are only just off stabilisers!
P: How did you come to be a Dr Bike?
B: I used to encourage work colleagues to cycle to the office, and I got a small toolkit and a track pump so I could help people in my team. When I was made redundant, I decided to start a mobile bike repair service. The HR Department helped me apply for some funding so I could do the Cytech 2 qualification, and I had contracts with the University, as well as supporting community events in Greenstead, St Michael’s, Castle Park and Tiptree.
Cyclo-cross races typically take place in the autumn and winter, and consist of many laps of a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount.
A criterium is a bike race held on a short course (usually less than 1 mile), often run on closed-off city centre streets.