Why do you ride your bike?
I love being fit and active. I enjoy a bit of competition and the sick feeling before a big race. It makes you feel alive.
Riding a bike allows visiting new places and discovering people. The cycling community is quite diverse and allows me to meet people from various backgrounds with a common passion.
It is also a way to challenge myself and try to compete with (unsuccessfully I must admit) stronger riders than I am. You cannot take the competitiveness entirely out of me!
Finally, it is the best ever excuse to get a Fortitude bun on Fridays.
Favourite place to ride?
Any countryside where eventually you get lost: you then realise how beautiful nature can be.
Up or down mountains?
Up, while not being a great climber. But I like the challenge.
Becoming a Baroudeur, because of all of the technical knowledge the 3-monhts probation period allowed me to absorb. Interesting how you can learn at any age!
Anytime when you beat yourself or exceed your own expectations, thanks to your teammates.
How long does it take you to change a flat?
I suppose below 6 minutes, but I did not have one in a long time.
Advice to a new cyclist?
Cycling with a club makes a huge difference in terms of performance, advice received, camaraderie or fun. I would highly recommend joining a cycling club. But it requires a bit of humility, willingness to change and take feedback.
Preferred frame material?
Alu in Burgundy (but with carbon tubular wheels, so HUGE difference) and carbon in London. The REAL difference is when I go my bike properly fitted: no more back pain, understanding of the right position etc.
Grand Tours or Classics?
Gels or potatoes?
I struggle with gels, bars etc… which are too sweet to my taste. Banana, dried fruits & raisins and apple purée.
Headwind or rain?
Headwind. Too many falls with rainy weather or wet grounds. Too old to ride in the rain I suppose.
Disc or rims?
Got rim brakes but my next bike will have disc brakes. Rim braking on carbon wheels is clearly subpar.
I wish I had been told that…
Zone 2 is really really a fluid concept! When a ride is called at “Zone 2”, you need to be very careful on whom called the ride. To paraphrase Orwell: all Z2 are equals, but some Z2 are more equals than others.
What is it like being a Baroudeur? Not a trick question
It is an attitude to cycling: learn the Baroudeurs rules, which pertains to safety & etiquette regarding group riding, and repeat them again and again so they become a second nature. Be open-minded to others, who will have diverse backgrounds and life history. DO NOT GIVE UP, but make sure you have FUN in the process. Know you can rely on others to help you, whether it is to improve your cycling skills or tow you if you are “cooked & dropped”.
What advice would you give someone wanting to join the Bs?
Do not get put off by the early start, especially in December/January. Come and try, you will know very quickly if this club is for you. And if not for you, you will find one that fits what you are after.
GC predictions for 2022?
What’s cyling got for you this year?
A new aero bike with disc brakes, and the challenge to lower my Regents Park PR to below 5”54’.
I need to do a Tour de France mountain climb.
:: Meet more of the Baroudeurs