“I looked in the mirror and couldn’t match the person standing in front of it to the person staring back”.
I’ve always cycled - whether it was on a bike in the backyard or riding around Christchurch, New Zealand throughout school, University and during my first few years working. I dabbled in mountain biking occasionally and while I would never have described myself as a “cyclist”, I had never been too far from a bike. The thing is though when a big lifestyle change happens, we tend to lose sight of the simple things that have been with us for our lifetime. Even something as simple as getting on the bike eventually became something I thought I was too far away from.
After moving to London and experiencing the hustle of big city life I found myself carrying more weight than I’d ever done before. I had gained close to 14 kgs in the space of about nine months and knew that the lifestyle I was living wasn’t sustainable. I struggled with getting to the gym as I was working long hours in agency life and was still adjusting to the fact that it was normal to spend up to two hours a day on the tube commuting into the city. A friend of mine was cycling into the same office as me at the time and lived nearby. I had never even considered cycling in London unless it was a short distance to the pub and back. It was simply too dangerous. What I didn’t realise was that there were dedicated cycle ways criss crossed over most of the city and it was going to be no more dangerous than cycling back home in NZ. She convinced me to try and in the heart of Winter leading up to Christmas I started pedalling the 35 minutes to and from work. It was quite literally life changing. I fell in love with London all over again because I was seeing it from a different perspective above ground. The weight dropped off and I became fit and healthy again after a year of drinking too much and finding myself in McDonalds at 3am. Not only did my physique change but I gained so much mental clarity from it. That time on the bike was my own.
I met Alex not long after embarking on this journey and he then opened my eyes to the entire planet that was professional cycling. I will never forget showing up to Paris Roubaix and seeing a velodrome filled with 20,000 people cheering the riders on. It baffled me at the time that people actually followed this as a sport!