What is your name? Glen
What do you do when you’re not riding a bike? Look at bikes on the internet, advise others to look at and buy bikes from the internet; this does not pay very well so as a side-line I offer young people advice and guidance
What bicycles do you own and, importantly, why do you own them? Before listing the bikes that I own it is necessary to empty my emotional cup of traumatic childhood bike experiences. I began riding bikes at a very early age, about 3 years old, and I loved to do skids and wheelies. My elder next door neighbour was the wheelie king and I was transfixed by the distance he could wheelie. I too wanted to be a wheelie king and would practice long into the night wearing a replica helmet similar to that worn by my hero of the time, the rambunctious Officer Francis (“Frank”) “Ponch” Poncherello from the hit TV series CHIPS. As the years went on I grew to love cycling more and more and would spend most of my spare time out the front of my house building jumps out of beer crates (for the English people reading this a New Zealand beer crate was a wooden box that would hold 12 x 750ml bottles of beer), doing wheelies and skids. Around 1983 the hit movie BMX Bandits featuring the lovely Nicole Kidman came out and I no longer wanted to be a motorcycle patrol man. The only problem was that I did not have a BMX and a BMX Bandit needed a BMX. I began putting in the ground work with my parents, talking non-stop about how I needed a BMX bike and felt fairly confident that at Christmas I would find one under the tree. To my horror when I looked under the tree that Christmas, there was no BMX. Traumatically, my parents had interpreted my incessant pleading to mean that I wanted my female cousin’s used Raleigh 20 bike with Pink Banana seat and full length mudguards. My father helpfully pointed out that these would prevent me getting a wet line up my back in poor weather – a benefit that a BMX would surely not offer. There it was, with my name on it! my parents had clearly missed the point and offloaded responsibility to the fat jolly man. I sulked all Christmas and most of the next year as I was not in a position to form or be part of my local BMX Bandit gang. Eventually I did get a BMX but it was not the one I wanted and it was at this time I decided not to leave such important life changing decisions to my hapless yet well-meaning parents. Since then I have purchased countless bikes which is probably the reason my pension pot is so small. Currently I own a 2008 Marin Wolf Ridge that has been heavily modified which I enjoy riding in Wales and France where I prefer gravity to do most of the work. I own a Marin Rocky Ridge, also heavily modified and mostly used in the local forests. Since meeting the B Boys who convinced me that mountain bikes are heavy and cumbersome and riding off road is uncultured I purchased a Cube Agree SL and now do more on road than off road cycling. My hack about town is a Gary Fisher Single Speed, I don’t ride fixed as I like to roll down hills I have climbed up. I also own a stationary bike for winter training. My girlfriend has threatened to evict me if anymore bikes appear but my therapist has convinced her that it could set my therapy back decades.
What have been your favourite and worst moments on a bicycle? Worst moments? Well, that second hand Raleigh 20 with a Pink banana seat and full length mudguards has to be the worst and most traumatic moment. Breaking my collar bone in a BMX park was not a great day either. Thankfully there have been more favourite moments: getting off a chair lift in the French Alps with a well-crafted single track snaking into the trees and over a 1000 metres of elevation to play with is hard to beat. Riding mountain bikes in the foot hills of Christchurch New Zealand with my mates back in the 1990s was pretty cool and ensured a love of cycling that has lasted to this day. More recently I have been bitten by the road cycling bug; completing the ‘King of the Downs’ sportive with the B Boys was one of the most challenging and rewarding days I can remember, and training for this year’s Etap du Tour has enabled me to achieve levels of fitness I never knew existed.
Do you have a cycling name? If so, who gave it to you and why? (having read this, surely Poncherello, no? – Ed)
UPDATE: Since the writing of this profile, Glen ‘Poncherello’ Thomson, is affectionately known as ‘CHRONOS’. Could this be the new-improved Ponche’? Only time will tell.