Over the course of 2018 Wearwell will chart the progress of our Seasonnaires, all brought together through a shared love of cycling, and share their experiences on the bike and - in some cases - off it.
Here we introduce you to the class of 2018.
Mat Watson is a London-based cycle messenger and co-founder of OneLife Cycles, a fixed gear racing team built on the ethos of giving back to the wider community via a series of youth outreach programs. Mat along with fellow cyclist Germain Burton, currently cranking the pedals for the Condor JLT Racing Team, created the OneLife Cycles team as a platform for change. “We target kids that might not have the money or the opportunities to get out and ride a bike” says Watson “as well as try to break down some of the elitism of cycling.”
Northern Ireland-based Donley is a cyclist on the Irish development squad who aims to add to an impressive 2017 palmarès throughout the 2018 season. “This season I would love to make it to the Worlds and Europeans at the end of the summer, but before then I have a few big stage races in Ireland that I would love to do well in, including the Tour of the North.” Not content with competing in a packed calendar of races domestically and internationally, Shay also comments “I’d love to set a new Junior 10 mile record”.
Dublin native Cian found cycling at young age “My father bought a road bike for triathlons back when I was 7 years old. I was fascinated with it and started going out for rides with him while I was on a mountain bike. I joined a club when I was 8 and began doing more mountain biking. Soon after I bought a road bike to be able to go on the youth club rides and that became my preferred discipline. My first open race was the Nationals at 10 years old (I was a year too young but got in due to my mentor) and I came 9th!”
Training has become more focused in recent months for Keogh, as he aims to move up to the A1 category in the year ahead. “I cycle mostly in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland where I live. The area is really good for training with not many flat roads around. I usually train 5-6 days a week anywhere between 7-18hrs.” Additional targets for the season include the Tour of Ulster and The Gorey Three Day as well as some potential UK races.
For South Korea native Aaron Smart cycling has been in his blood since a young age, but took an all together more serious turn when he bought a road bike for commuting to and from language school. Commuting turned into riding for fitness and enjoyment, which in turn became a true passion. After upgrading his bike, and doing some longer rides, Smart eventually began doing some track racing and started riding fixed gear. “And since then I’ve been a daily rider typically riding anywhere from 30km to 150km per day. And now it’s kind of who I am, a man who rides bikes.”
Aaron is typically found on the scenic mountain roads just outside Seoul with a trusty group of friends – Kevin, Ryan and Themba – but also rides with members of a local race team, Watts Racing. On top of that Smart co-organizes a monthly ride for casual riders and those who just want to go for a fun, slow bike ride.
Shanghai based Ken Goh is the brains behind “Ride Now” a collective of like-minded cyclists from around China. The collective now boasts over 1,000 members in its cycle club, many of which meet each weekend for the Ride Now Social that Ken and his team put organise. “We spotted a need in the community for something that wasn’t a ‘smash-fest’. It’s not very encouraging for a new rider to go out on a ride and get dropped immediately. So we have different groups and we can teach people about how to ride together or do hand signals in a safe environment.”
In addition to the weekly group sessions, Ride Now have curated a package of incredible trips that their members can opt into. The epic climbs of Tibet are a noticeable feature of the packed itineraries, which also includes rides along the shores of Qinghai Lake and forays into deepest Sichuan Province. “We crowdfounded earlier in the year to create an adventure pass for our members. It provides them with 10 trips throughout the year to some amazing destinations, and by getting lots of people signed up early on, we are able to get the prices down for our riders.”
Edwin Smith is a London-based freelance journalist, writing for several different newspapers and magazines about a whole mix of things – from serious business stories to features about travel, adventure and sometimes a bit of cycling too. For Smith, his path into cycling is an increasingly common one “I used to play rugby, but retired a couple of years ago to focus on sports that (hopefully) come with a lower risk of getting injured. A large part of the decision, though, was down to how much I love riding my bike.”
As part of the 2018 Seasonnaire’s program Wearwell will chart Smith’s progress from weekend social cyclist to full blown racing cyclist. “I get a little bit competitive with my mates when we go out on group rides, but I’m starting to crave something a bit more formal. So I’ve decided to dip my toe into some amateur racing. The first step will be to get a racing license and build up some confidence riding in a decent-sized group at pace. Then I just want to finish my first proper race before – maybe – having a crack at crossing the line first in a Category 4 race.” Watch this space.
What started life as a Chris Froome social media fan club eventually morphed into one of cycling’s most popular photo journals. The four time Tour de France winner invited Jordan out to the final stage of the 2016 Tour de France as a guest and like all good souvenir hunters Benjamin-Sutton took along his trusty camera as well. “I started taking pictures of Chris and the rest of Team Sky and when I showed them the photos they all commented how good they were. So as soon as I got back home I started Peloton Perspective.” And luckily enough for Jordan he now had an important sponsor to help him gain some early momentum. “Chris shared a few of my photos, and that started getting people on board, and it went from there really”.
Now Peloton Perspective boasts 12,000 followers on Instagram and provides a unique insight into the world of the professional cycling with unparalleled access to riders on race days.
Check back at www.wearwell.cc for more stories and interviews with our Seasonnaires over the coming weeks.