Number 5

Guildford town centre race: Number 5

Here they come, juddering through the narrow pass between bollards and boutiques. Their bikes rattle on the uneven bricks. Cables slap frames. Disorderly, they jump and jitter as they near the tight bend, gingerly.

Then a shout: “Coming through!” Continue reading


Cav wins!


I watched the final stage of the 2011 Tour de France at look mum no hands!, the cycling cafe in central London.The reaction as Mark Cavendish won on the Champs Élysées – for the third year in succession – was fantastic. The picture was taken over my shoulder as I punched the air – I think it captures the excitement of the moment, though.

look mum no hands customers cheer as Mark Cavendish wins

Welcome back, real cycling

All sport is romantic, but cycling is more romantic than most, I think. Baseball is obsessed with figures, cricket with figures and style. Football has the promise of the intrinsic beauty of a team working perfectly in co-ordination, engineered by individual excellence. And these are wonderful things – there is reason to love all of sport. But cycling stands outside of all of this. Continue reading

A conversation on cycling with a football-loving friend

Filthy front mech“Cycling? That’s a boring sport.”
“Boring? I don’t think so.”
“It’s just a bunch of blokes riding bikes as fast as they can and the first one over the line wins. It’s boring.”
“Far from it. It’s Dallas on wheels. It’s the most Machiavellian sport on the planet.”
  Continue reading

On talents and tryhards

Woman running by riverI’ve always had a bit of a knack for spelling. I realised this during my first year at middle school, aged nine, when we would be subjected to a weekly spelling test. Every Monday, we’d be given ten words to learn to spell by Friday. Every week, I was too lazy to bother actually learning the words. And every week, for an entire year, I spelt (or spelled; both are acceptable) all ten words correctly in the test. Continue reading