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Paris here we come…

| Blog, Cycling Plus | 24/04/2012 15:32pm

This June Team BikeRadar Madison will be tackling Hot Chillee’s London-Paris 2012 ride. The team is a mix of experiences and, well, not quite so experienced roadies. We’ll be following their progress in the build up to riding 515km in just three days. Madison’s Will Fripp kicks off our rider diaries…

I’m obese, a fact I have accepted since I was quite young. I have smoked since my teens, on and off, mostly on. So you might find it strange I hold a reasonably senior position within the cycle trade and that this has been my vocation since working on a cycle stall in Woking market aged 12. For the last 12 years I have been working for Madison.

As a teenager, I was a keen mountain biker, road didn’t interest me. At the end of 2010 I decided to try cycling again. Some good friends gave me an ex-team bike, I got the bug and by February 2011 I was enjoying riding on the road. But last April I went on an industry ride, it was supposed to be easy – but the 27 miles of hills around Bath killed my confidence.

Then last December I was offered a place on this June’s Official Hot Chillee London-Paris ride. I laughed, but didn’t say no. My wife didn’t seem to laugh it off either, saying it was up to me; I accepted. It was mental, It took me over five minutes to press the submit button on the application form. This was 300 miles in three days – a ride where the slowest group rides at 15mph, and the whole prospect still scares me.

Now however, I’m getting into it – for four reasons:

1 My team

I’m not riding alone. I’ll be with Scott and Claire who work for Future Publishing and who invited me, and Kellie Parsons, Madison’s head of marketing. Scott has ridden big rides like the Marmotte, Kellie has ridden the L2P, Claire is new to cycling, oh, and me….

2 A Good Cause

Vicky, Helen, Norah, Greg, Frederick and Neil sounds like the start of a Beautiful South song, but they’re just a few folk I have known who have lost the fight or been affected by cancer. I lost my friend Helen to cancer last week – she was in her thirties. I have selected Macmillan as they support those with cancer while they are alive and make a difference. (

3 What’s right and fun (Honest!)

I’m enjoying it. I love to ride. Starting to train alone, then riding with my team buddies, then on Sunday I rode my first sportive (Wiggle New Forest), my longest ride ever – 83 miles and I loved it – just maybe not at 73.99 miles, when I was willing to pack in…

4 Work

Also at work, my role has changed back into product-related stuff and I’m loving the opportunity to test gear from Shimano, Pearl Izumi, PRO etc. What has always made Madison a good business is that it had a mix of those who loved the product and those who loved the business. I was the latter. Nowadays even more of us are getting into the sport.

Sounds easy? It isn’t. I struggle more than most with the training and the fear. I have given up a true love, smoking. I am begging time to go out and ride, when I should be with my kids and wife. But in truth this is big for me, losing a few pounds, getting healthier and raising cash for a good cause.

So what’s next? Train more, ride mid-week, find more friends to ride with at weekends. In two weeks it’s my first official training ride with Hot Chillee in the Surrey hills with Claire, then in late May the 120 miles from London to Dover. Among many, many more miles…


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