It is a privilege to have a voice on the esteemed BikeForums.net. In years gone by I have been fortunate to write in other publications on the subject of cycling, too. My first was while working in London as a cycle messenger, in 1988/9. I got together with Charlie Bayliss and Andy Dickson and we founded a fanzine for London messengers, called Moving Target. It did not take long for the legendary Buffalo Bill to get involved, and while Andy, Charlie, and I moved onto other things, Bill has kept that zine going all these years.
I studied sport science and recreation management at Loughborough University of Technology (as it was then called). This was an outstanding course from which I took a great deal away with me.
On graduating, instead of going onto higher education, I wrote two books on my specialist subject: Mountain Biking. The first was a general introduction to the sport; the second was an advanced text on racing and training principles. In 2000, I was told by the coach of the Danish national team that this book had become the seminal work in that field.
In 1997 I was commissioned by the International Cycling Union to set up a website for them. That was a lot of work and very interesting. The money for the project dried up in 2000, so they took it in house, and as I was living in America then I got involved with the US cycling scene, running communications for the Sea Otter Classic bicycle event as well as the NORBA national championship series - and some other events too. More recently I have worked with the Suzuki 24 Hour Point Series, the Race Across America, and the Tour of California.
These days I run a marketing/PR company out of San Francisco. It is called O2 Sports Media. I am working on my third and hopefully final book. This is a chronicle of the rise of mountain biking as an international sport. Since I was there as a journalist at every major international race from 1989 to 1998, this seems like a project that is cut out for me.
I keep in shape by cycling, which is one of the reasons I moved to San Francisco, where we can ride in sunshine for 12 months a year. My avatar is the totem I used in the Furnace Creek 508, which is I think the funnest race I've known as a journalist or competitor.
Should you still be reading, thank you kindly for your interest, and I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you in the forums.
(the below added at the suggestion of East Hill)
I have a few different bicycles.
My mountain bike is a late 90s hardtail carbon Giant team issue bike, which I traded for a few press releases.
My round town bike is an old Raleigh Pioneer, circa 1988, which I fished out of a dumpster in San Francisco in 1999. It was fairly corroded, and still on its original leather brake pads, and I suspect it had just sat unridden on an executive's balcony for the duration of his posting in San Francisco. I put some nice Mavic wheels on it, and randonneuring bars with bar-end shifters. The bike looks awful, but rides well and despite its gaspipe 123 tubing, I have grown to love it.
My main riding bike is a Specialized Roubaix. Hats off to Mike Sinyard for thinking up this great all-round bicycle.
Recently I went to England and brought back my '96 Pegoretti. I've been meaning to do this for years. It has Dura-Ace 7400 parts on it, which means 8-speed gears! This bike has Excel tubing and is a really smooth ride. It will replace my Roubaix for some rides.
My favourite all-time bike was a 1981 Mercian with 753 tubing and Campy Super Record throughout. Sadly this bike, and all the components including the cranks, brakes, hubs, everything, was smashed when I was hit head-on by an out-of-control car while on a training ride south of London back in '89. Probably the luckiest day of my life. Sadly my training partner, Chris Shaw, who then worked for Roberts cycles in Croydon, was not so lucky and did not survive the accident.