I’m Graham, pictured here attempting the long-forgotten art of bicycle levitation (photo by Dan Greenall). I became a mountain biker in the days of lurid purple components and the advent of the new-fangled thing called the trail centre saw me venturing to places like Glentress for the whole mountain biking-meets-cake experience.
2008 saw me cross over to the road (and, whisper it, triathlon) and in 2009 I completed the Etape du Tour, which finished with an ascent of Mont Ventoux. There’s little doubt that that was one of the most memorable days I have ever had on a bike.
Cyclocross came a-calling in late 2011 and brought with it a great excuse to build another bike.
Gary & I met in the great middle-classed-middle-aged tradition of fathers who chat whilst dropping their kids at school. Our mutual love of mountain biking saw us compete (sorry, take part) in several editions of the 10 Under the Ben race in Fort William under the banner of Team Don Logan (inspired by the film Sexy Beast, starring Ben Kingsley as Don Logan) which was also the title of our blog in the early days. After I’d been to France in 2009 & seen all the “Velo Club” jerseys, I thought Velo Club Don Logan sounded a bit more Euro-Chic and so we changed the name.
The genesis of the podcast came about as a natural progression of our cycle-based ramblings on trips away and our blog. We had been big fans of the Velocast and when they shut up shop (temporarily, as it turned out) we decided to grasp the nettle, or indeed the microphone & give it a go. So in late 2010 we launched ourselves on an unsuspecting public and have been talking nonsense on a semi-regular basis ever since. We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have been able to talk to people such as Graeme Obree, Ned Boulting, Richard Moore & Brian Smith, to name but a few. We’d love to say we do it for you, dear listener, but I suspect that even if no-one listened, we’d still do it!
So here’s me, Gary, between punctures, at the 2012 Etape Caledonia. I wish I could say it all started with my 1982 Raleigh Burner, but it wasn’t until my next bike came along – a 1999 Specialized Rockhopper, all rigid fork, flat narrow bars and v-brakes – that an obsession was born. As if sneaking off to trail centres as often as I could or spending half the working day on Singletrackworld or the Mountain Biking Scotland (remember that, anyone?) forums weren’t enough, a phone call from my wife one autumn morning only made things worse: “how do you fancy doing 10 Under the Ben next year?”
Of course, that first 10 Under is recorded elsewhere in these hallowed pages and the self-deprecating tone, pretty much sums up my relationship with cycling. My ramblings lean heavily on the suffering, but you know that deep down I’d rather be doing that than anything else at the time. I’m probably better than I make myself out to be, yet at the same time often fear pushing too hard in case I empty the tank completely somewhere in the back of beyond.
After a year or so of denial, I succumbed to the lure of the road in 2010. For someone who considered himself a mountain biker rather than a mere cyclist, I’ve embraced the tarmac (thankfully only metaphorically so far) with alarming gusto since I took delivery of my Boardman and might even consider myself a serious rider, if not necessarily a competitive one.
The Pod has been a progression in itself, from those early episodes um-ing and ah-ing through our meticulous notes to finding ourselves accredited at World Cup races and suddenly being able (if still often too shy!) to stick a mic in the face of pro riders. And, of course, we also found ourselves in Graeme Obree’s kitchen, which is still a bit mad when I think of it To be asked to reprise that role in a live setting, as we did at Ronde Bike in Edinburgh in November 2012, was even madder. After all, on the Pod we can always edit the bits we mess up. And we can’t hear the stunned silence of our audience.
As Graham says, we probably would do this even if no one listened, and we’re still amazed that so many people actually do. Is it an obsession, a labour of love? A colleague saw the Mark Cavendish wallpaper on my work PC screen a few months back and said, “so you’re quite into bikes then?”. You have no idea, my friend. No idea….