Phil from Oxfordshire swapped bat and ball for a bike and now takes on sportives and charity rides across the country. Here's his profile.
East Hanney, Oxfordshire
What kind of riding do you do?
I cut my teeth on cycling to work on a heavy mountain bike, it wasn’t very efficient but it got me fit to ride. I’ve worn out my knees playing cricket for 35 years, cycling appealed to me (and a lot of my mates in the same boat) because we can stay fit and be competitive without the joint damage.
I enjoy sportives of all distances and have done some cycle touring including LEJOG in 2012 (on a slightly lighter mountain bike!). Most of my riding is solitary but when we do get together it’s great, adds another dimension to things. A few of us have already booked sportives for the coming year including the big 150 miler at Stratford.
Charitable events feature a lot in our cycling, the big one for me was the LEJOG trip. When I got back, I wrote a book about the solo effort, it sells to benefit a small charity helping families cope with Cri Du Chat syndrome, a rare chromosome disorder.
What do you enjoy most about cycling
It sounds cliché but there are so many things to take from cycling. I enjoy the physical and the competitive side but I also like the technical challenge of keeping my bike in top shape (and scrupulously clean!). There is a certain comradery about cycling in a group which is fantastic; you can’t beat arriving at a food stop on a sportive or having a break at the coffee shop half way around a winter ride – the banter is endless as is the over-exaggeration of fitness and ability!
When I am cycling on my own, the rolling countryside away from traffic is simple awesome, especially in the summer. I do a lot of thinking when I am out on my own, riding a bike is a great de-stressing tool.
What’s your favourite ride?
That would have to be a section of LEJOG in Scotland, just north of Aberfeldy. The route was a very minor B road which hooked up with the A9. The scenery was spectacular, pine-clad hillsides and huge, rolling vistas – I only saw two people during the whole day. It’s difficult to describe how solitary it was, the climb out of Aberfeldy took a long time but the descent to the A9 was worth the effort!
What’s your top cycling tip to share?
Keep your bike clean and maintained, it will save a lot of cash in the long run. Also, talk to people who share your cycling passion, it’s amazing what you can learn from others!
If you had a tandem, who would you like to ride it with?
It would have to be my mate Steve Penney, we do a lot of events and training together. It might be a sportive or a charity event; at the beginning of December, we set up Steve’s turbo in the Cancer Research shop window in Wantage taking turns with a couple of other chaps to complete 8 hours of spin. People gave cash just to get away from four middle aged burks in lycra!
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