As part of our Q&A sessions, we have been speaking to local hill climbing powerhouse and all round nice guy, John Bowman, founder of the www.Muckle.cc Cycling Club.
Tell us a little about yourself, how did you get into competitive riding?
I’ve always been interested in cycling from a young age and rode BMX for around 15 years and that was my passion up until about 5 years ago when I gradually lost the buzz for it and wanted something else to focus on. I bought a road bike and did the C2C ride over a weekend and since then have gradually been doing longer and more hilly rides. I signed up for the Fred Whitton Challenge in 2012 and trained on climbing for 6 months in the run up to that, that got me hooked on hill climbing in particular. I am currently riding the North East Hill Climbing League events up until mid October and plan to enter more next year. The enjoyment is completely different to the old days of doing tricks on my BMX, but when I break it down it’s just riding a bike for fun, that I’ve always loved.
Have you always been interested in cycling?
Ever since my Grandad taught me to ride in the street aged 5, I’ve always been on a bike.
Do you have any sporting heroes that have inspired you?
In road cycling I’m a big fan of the Belgian Phillip Gilbert and the Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez, both for their explosive climbing ability and ability to suffer on the steep stuff!
What do you enjoy most about cycling?
There are so many things I enjoy, but the exploration and adventure aspect of the long days on the saddle appeal to me the most. I love the social aspect and the Sunday Coffee shop runs with my club too, but sometimes the solitude of a solo ride in the Pennines is hard to beat. You see some fantastic sights when you choose to travel by bike.
What has been your best cycling adventure so far?
I spent a week in the Alps during the summer and that was the best by far. Tackling some of the famous climbs of the Tour De France like Alp D’Huez and The Galibier was a dream come true. The Galibier was truly epic, you feel like you’re climbing to the clouds from the valley below.
Do you have a favourite place to cycle?
The Alps, Majorca and the North Pennines.
If you could climb any mountain which one would it be?
I would love to climb Pico De Veleta in Spain which is Europe’s highest road at 3384m. There is a sportive in Spain called ‘El Limite’ which finishes at the summit, its top of the bucket list to complete one day!
We also know that your other passion is food, what is your favourite food?
That is a difficult question! I suppose it would really depend on what I fancied as I love most types of food but at the moment it’s Japanese. Cycling and food go hand in hand, for the most part you can eat what you like and don’t need to worry too much about putting on weight. Bin the faddy diets and just buy a bike!
What’s your favourite place to eat?
Osaka on Grey Street Newcastle at the moment, excellent food!
Which pair of sunglasses from the B Sunglasses website would you take cycling with you and why?
I would have to say the Oakley Radar EV’s with Prism lenses. The clarity of the lens is superb and takes away all the glare on the road when you’re cycling in the sun. And obviously they look good!
Thanks John – Lets hope you get to ride some of those dream locations next year and we’ll all see you in Osaka to celebrate.