Nothing makes us happier (except riding bikes of course) than reading the stories of fellow Ribble riders. Hearing about why they got into cycling, what they love about the sport and their goals and aspirations. Here we meet Emma & Tom-Real.Bike.People.
If there’s one constant in life, it’s that it never fails to surprise us. Despite meeting on the first day of secondary school Emma & Tom would not get together until much later. Having been together for 4 1/2 years they’ve both found themselves firmly bitten by the cycling bug. We caught up with Emma to find out what ignited their love of cycling and what effect it has had on their relationship.
What made you start cycling? Tom’s been cycling his whole life, either BMX, fixie, or mountain bikes. He decided to start road cycling in the last two years after watching a friend complete the Copenhagen Iron Man.
I too have been cycling since as far back as I can remember, mostly mountain bikes but I also went through a BMX phase! The love for road cycling came from watching Tom compete in the 2019 London Duathlon, it was so inspiring. I shortly after followed suit and entered a duathlon in the Cotswolds. Sadly, it’s been postponed until next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
I started training intensely at the start of this year, the love for cycling quickly ensued and it’s just become a part of my daily routine now. Either virtual rides on Zwift if the weather isn’t great, weekday evening rides or long days in the saddle on the weekend.
Where do you ride? We mostly ride out towards Windsor and through into Surrey or up to the Chilterns for hillier routes. We try and take our bikes as many places as possible. If we’re ever visiting family across the country the bikes will come too!
What is your favourite type of ride? We both like blasting out good speeds on the flat, but also trying challenging climbs. I used to be a bit terrified of climbing when I first entered cycling, but now I love the feeling of sitting on top of a mountain looking at where you came from.
Is there any rivalry when you are out on the bikes together? Who drops who? Definitely…100%. I think we’re both super-competitive people so naturally, there will be a bit of healthy competition. Tom is much, much stronger on the bike than me and could easily drop me anytime he wanted to! But generally, we stick together. I fall behind occasionally up the climbs, but I try my best to keep up the pace. Tom also gets competitive if we see someone cycling in the distance, we’ve always got to catch them! ☺
Do you have the occasional squabble on your rides? Of course, there has been! Usually caused by my legs conking out and causing me to act like an unhappy toddler. Tom is very good at dealing with me when I’m feeling this way, he’s had a lot of practice now.
Who is most likely to quit on a climb first? Me, without a doubt! Although I will never get off my bike and push. I’m far too stubborn for that. Tom can get up anything that the roads throw at him.
Does Tom have any ambitions to try duathlon too? Tom took part in the London Duathlon last year and finished in under 3 hours. Such a proud moment! He entered the duathlon with me in the Cotswolds for this year. But, as I mentioned it has been cancelled until next year. He also entered the London Duathlon for this year which has been postponed until April 2021.
Whose bike is kept the cleanest? And does one person end up having to clean them both? Tom cleans both our bikes. I’m very lucky! We have a balcony at home which Tom uses to tinker around with the bikes.
What do your family and friends think of your new hobby, and matching bikes? I think they’re all really supportive and proud of us committing to getting healthier and fitter. My dad is even talking about buying an old road bike now! I think he’s been looking at second hand Ribble’s on eBay as we’re constantly raving about the brand.
Has cycling brought you closer together? Yes, definitely! We used to go out a lot and not have a very healthy lifestyle (lots of beer and hungover junk food!). Cycling has changed our diets, our routine and lifestyle for the better. We’re able to save a lot more money and plan ahead for the future.
Do you have any cycling trips in the pipeline, once travel restrictions ease up a little?
At the end of July, we visited my grandparents who live in North Wales. We obviously took our beloved Ribbles with us and cycled every day! The climbs are very challenging in Wales, there are very few flat roads! But the road surfaces are impeccable and there’s a lot less traffic than where we live. The scenery is also absolutely stunning so we had an awesome few days.
We then went down to visit my Dad in the Cotswolds and did lots of cycling there too. Overall, we cycled over 400km and climbed over 4000m in the week. We’re hoping to do the same again in September. I would love to attempt the NC 500 at some point, Scotland is one of my favourite places in the world, so it would be a dream come true.
Tom, what do you think of Emma’s cycling? I think she’s come on in leaps and bounds, enough to be able to keep up a good pace when we ride together. I’m really proud of her.
If you enjoyed reading about Emma & Tom perhaps we can tempt you with more of our Real.Bike.People stories? Meet Ava Brown and Dad.
Chrissy Hinton’s passion for cycling has inspired not only her son but also her granddaughter to follow in her footsteps. Read about them in the Generation Game.
Or, if you fancy a change of pace why not read about cycling YouTuber Katie Kookaburras bike-packing trip from Manchester to Paris.