Always wanted to write a blog entry but always feared no one would read it. So I popped a wee poll up on Instagram and there was unanimous vote in favour of people who would read it. So here it is….
So what will my blogs be about…BIKES!!! Obviously. I will write about riding bikes, fixing bikes, home maintenance, Irish biking scene and many other bike related things. I will try not to cause offense, mainly in case I lose customers, but I will write how I see things. Who wants to read a non-controversial blog anyway? (Famous last words)
This first blog is going to be about my background, where it all began and why. I do hope those read this find it interesting. If nothing else it could help to put you to sleep at night.
On the 14th October back in 92′ ….. haha just kidding…. I don’t mean where it literally all began. My first notion of bicycles all began with a lie. My hero was Lance Armstrong. I was obsessed with him. When I was a wee nipper my favourite time of the year was July, not because school was off for the summer nor because I was a big marcher but because Le Tour de France was on. That also meant my hero Lance was on the telly winning the hardest, toughest bike race on the planet. It was what dreams were made of for me. In school any time there was an essay for homework or coursework to be done I would have found some way to write it about Lance. My muckers in school often laughed. “Josh are you writing about your man who went to the moon again?” None of them really got it. Cycling wasn’t a mainstream sport, it still probably wouldn’t make it in to the top 10 most popular sports nowadays either. This next point could be the first controversy of my blog, but here we go… was what Lance did really all that bad? Ok ok ok, yes he told lies, he ruined peoples careers, he broke the rules. I’m not afraid to admit it really upset me when he did the Oprah Winfrey interview. We all have a hero, an idol, someone who we think the sun shines out of their … you know what I mean. To find out YOUR hero was a cheat, well it broke my heart to be truthful. Still affects me to this day. At the start when the accusations were made I defended Lance, I told everyone they were wrong and Lance telling the truth. I even ruined my relationship with Sir Alan Sugar and ended any chance I ever had of winning The Apprentice (most of you won’t get this). Now I can say I have matured and I have started to realise the positives Lance brought to my life. He gave me the reasons to like cycling. He helped me fall in love with the sport. Lance used the money he made from the sport to start up his own foundation to help cancer sufferers and raise awareness about the illness. Many other drug cheats have taken the money and ran. To that I will always commend Lance. Cancer took my granda away from me when I was only 5 years of age. I would give anything for him to be still alive. Lance gave people hope and support through his investments in his foundation. He enabled people to spend more time with their grandas! This will be very ‘Norn Irish’ of me, but to him I say fair play!
So moving on….
When I was young my involvment in the sport was never more than a mess about on the mountain bikes down to Belvoir Park with my Dad and his mates. A couple of times we even ventured as far as Donegal to ride our mountain bikes on the road. Times were tight, he couldn’t afford to buy me a road bike to ride once a year. *Laugh out loud*.
Every year I still followed Le Tour! I suppose the real turning point in my cycling career came when I was aged 19, living in London, chasing the dream. Uni dropout trying to join the Met Police (don’t ask). During this time my favourite hobbies were drinking lots of beer, eating lots of takeaways and playing xbox. So 19 was a recurring figure I was also 19 stone in weight (bit of an exaggeration, it was more like 16 but you get the picture). My dad was big in to cycling at this time and with growing obesity concerns I decided I would buy a bike. Down to Halfords I went (don’t judge me please) and got myself a sweet Boardman road bike. White frame, world champ bands on it, smooth welds to make it look carbon, SRAM apex gears and some sweet reflectors. My dad had sent me over a package containing all the essentials I needed to get started. Shoes with cleats, LOOK pedals, lycra shorts, Ireland cycling jersey and a matching pair of Ireland socks. I’ll not get too much in to my cycling career in London but this one time I decided to do Box Hill. I stopped in three garages on the way back as I had bonked sooooo bad. I didn’t think I was going to make it home. I thought that was the beginning and the end of my cycling career. But through grit and determination I made it home. I conquered those 27.6 miles and deserved every bit of that kebab after.
Skip forward a couple of years. I came home, went to Uni, got a degree in Business Studies, joined a cycling club (Maryland Leavers) and 2 National Road titles later ……hahahahaha just kidding. After a couple of years of grafting, getting dropped, encountering multiple bonks, learning alot about not only myself but who my friends are, I can finally say I am still a FRED. For anyone who doesn’t know what a ‘FRED’ is, its the cycling equivalent of the kid who gets picked last in school, you know the kid with two left feet who has a better chance of scoring an own goal than putting it in the opposition’s net. My only saving grace has been the young woman (well shes getting old now) in Phoenix (a rival club of Maryland) who has seen past this FRED-ness and has kindly agreed to marry me next year. How romantic that in the sport I love, I found the woman I love. Its a bit like the film ‘A Star is Born’ (bet you wish you voted differently in my poll now!)
I’ve realised that my strength in biking lies in fixing them. I also fancy myself as a bit of a Dave Brailsford but I’ll keep that for another blog post.
During Uni (take 2) I worked in Chain Reaction, which was a bit of a dream job of mine at the time. During that time I learnt ALOT about bikes. I also learnt a good bit about fixing them too. Since then I would say my skills and expertise have definitely blossomed. I now run my own business Bike WorkX, obviously because that’s the only reason your reading this, fixing bikes for a living. I am not going to lie, I work hard at it. 99% of my life is spent thinking about bikes or doing something bike related. Bike WorkX is my pride and joy, my passion, my greatest accomplishment. Its by no means the finished article but then again Rome wasn’t built in a day. I would like to thank all those who have helped me with guidance and support. Its much appreciated and I will never forget. To my customers, I love you guys! Its been an enjoyable journey so far, long may it continue!
If it wasn’t obvious cycling and bicycles are my life. That might sound a bit sad, but things could be worse. We find happiness in the things we love.
I hope you enjoyed reading my first ever blog post. I have tried to ‘keep it real’ and hope you appreciate that. I would assume by now your probably on the verge on falling asleep so I will bid you sweet dreams. I will be writing more so any feedback or recommendations are welcome!
Josh (Mr Bike WorkX)