About the website

Cycle Your Own Roads is a collection of writing that has arisen from time spent in the saddle. I find cycling to be a wonderfully reflective pastime – each turn of the pedal seems to loosen another thought. Eventually, as the revolutions accumulate, they tumble out onto the page as ideas and observations.

A narrative, I hope, that will resonate with you, afflicted (as I know you are) by the same need in me to take to the roads with my two-wheeled companion. To get “out there” on my bike.

Every cyclist has to start somewhere. These tales offer a chronicle of a rider’s development, as much as anything else. I still learn something new every time I ride (even if it’s something I really should know better). For this reason I have noted the year of writing or riding where possible, as a point of reference.

You might find yourself at a similar point as you cycle your own roads to the destination you have chosen, be that based on a location, a fitness goal, or simply a degree of experience.

If there was but one thing I could tell you, one all-encompassing lesson that I have learned, it would be this: if in doubt, ride your bike. Over the years, I have found this to work on so many levels.

Cycling. Simply the best pastime there is.

About the road I have cycled

Solid white tyres!

Although I’ve always had a bike in active service, it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I started undertaking increasingly ambitious two-wheeled projects. These tended to consist of an annual week or two away on a ridiculously over-geared, over-burdened bike, taking aim for the steepest, longest or highest hills I could find that lay between one youth hostel and another.

I’d come back completely broken, and it would take almost a year for the horror of the trip to recede, at which point I’d step the planning up a notch. (Initially, I think my primary motivation for documenting these travels was a vain attempt to prevent me from doing it all again the following year.)

The frisbee was only ever used as a plate...

Having topped out on the biggest climb in the UK, I started to look further afield. Photos of childhood European holidays, coupled with the vaguest memories of watching Robert Millar & Stephen Roche on Channel 4, had me wondering idly if I could ever manage to ride over an Alp…

…which somewhere along the way snowballed into a four month, solo expedition from Leeds to Istanbul and back, riding 4,300 miles through 12 countries and hauling 40-odd kilos of bike and luggage over nearly 175,000ft of mountain passes.

Popping my 2000+m cherry. Very, very slowly.Half as thin as when I’d left, I returned A Cyclist.

I joined a club for the first time, and started riding Audax, thinking I’d found my niche: long, hilly rides with a bit of competition. But I often found myself waiting (then being gently berated) at checkpoints, and when I arrived back from one 200km ride more than an hour in advance of the next rider home, I knew I’d have to find another way to test my legs.

I happened upon the Fred Whitton Challenge. I don’t think they were even called “sportives” back then, it was simply “a tour of all the Lakeland passes” (sounds quite genteel on paper, doesn’t it)?

Plenty of time for celebrations, sweeeet...

The reality was 9 hours of mountainous savagery: wind, rain and gradients brutal enough to put hairs on your chest. All of it hammered out in the company of a thousand other like-minded souls. I was hooked!

Eventually my burgeoning fitness and the need for competition led me to road racing and time trialling, although it must be said I “enjoy” the former rather more than the latter. The highlight of my palmares to date was a solo breakaway win at the 2nd Cat Tour of the Wrekin.

59:55, yeah baby

But, truly, my heart lies in the mountains (doesn’t every cyclist’s?) and if I am not actually riding the cols of France, Spain or Italy, then you can guarantee I’m certainly thinking about it.



About me

In life, as on two wheels, I have cycled my own roads. I spent 13 years training as a doctor, then as a surgeon (orthopaedics), before deciding I really wasn’t getting out enough.

I now divide my time between designing clinical information systems for hospitals, riding & writing for Cycling Plus magazine, and speaking & writing about career change. I’m a BCF (Level 2) and an ABCC (Level 3) qualified cycle coach.

I live in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, in Wales, UK.

The cycling is just fantastic!

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