Self-employed architect Mike, thinks nothing of jumping on his bike in his home town of East Linton and cycling into Edinburgh for a day’s work before getting back on the saddle for the return journey, and not just because will do anything to avoid paying for a train ticket… Mike loves to ride his bike! Two years ago, Mike was part of the team that accompanied (practically towed) PY’s Mark from Aberdeen back to PY during what felt like a monsoon. But this time, Mike almost bit off more than he could chew when he took on the infamous Fred Whitton Challenge, an ultra hilly sportive ride over some of the Lake Districts highest passes.
Here’s what happened when Lee, Michaela, Jamie and Georgia from the Get Involved Group set Mike some questions about cycling, The Challenge and what motivates him to put his body on the line for children and young people in Pilton:
How long have you been cycling and how old were you when you started?
Most of my life. Since I was 5, but got into more serious road riding about 7 years ago. I love it!
What was your first bike and what bike do you have now?
First bike was something like a Raleigh Budgie. I have 4 bikes now; my best one is a titanium Van Nicholas road bike. I have recently ordered a hand built steel Mercian frame – this is a long term old man’s bike – made in my hometown of Derby, I have dreamed of owning one since I was about 13.
You cycled 112 miles in the Fred Whitton Challenge for PYCP, is that the furthest you have ever cycled? Was it the hardest? How long did it take?
The furthest I have ever cycled was with your very own Mark Hunter from Aberdeen to Edinburgh (143 miles). The Fred Whitton was one of the hardest due to all the hills, but it was the weather that really began to break me. It was really cold then it rained heavily for the last 40 miles, some people had to drop out with hypothermia.
Did you have to do a lot of training for the challenge?
I should have trained, but I don’t really know how, I always say to people I don’t train I just go on bike rides – this is kind of the point for me. The thought of spending hours in a gym or on a turbo trainer completely depress me.
You raised over £220 for us, what made you choose to do the challenge for PYCP?
I wanted to raise money because it is a good opportunity to do so and it gives you massive encouragement to know that you have to complete the ride to help others. I chose PYCP because of previous involvement with Mark and it’s a local charity where there will be an immediate benefit.
How could somebody our age (12 years old) get into cycling? Is it dangerous?
I would encourage anyone of all ages to take up cycling, 12 is a perfect age and it gives you a real sense of freedom. I think cycling on the road can be dangerous; it is worthwhile doing a cycling proficiency course and understanding the views of drivers, as you need to anticipate their reactions. I think mountain biking is a good opportunity to be away from cars and Scotland is perfect for it.
Do you have children and are they into cycling like you? Do they support you when you do challenges?
I have two daughters, one 5 years old and one 14 months old, I recently got Sofia the 5 year old a nice bike, but she hasn’t got the hang of it yet. I think SofWia thinks it’s not very special to go for a bike ride and I take too long.
Who’s your favourite cyclist and what would you do if you met him/her?
David Millar is my favourite cyclist, because even though he has never won the Tour de France he is clearly a great bike rider, loves the sport and has been through very dark times cheating using drugs but redeemed himself with his complete anti-drug campaign and honesty about the fact he is an ex-doper.
Would you rather be; Sir Chris Hoy or Sir Bradley Wiggins?
Who would win in a race between you and Mark?
Any plans to do another challenge?
Huge thanks go to Mike for all his effort – from everyone at PYCP!!!