If you haven’t seen James out and about around Adelaide, then you’ve been riding with your eyes close. You’ll soon understand what I mean.
This is James cycling story.
I’m James: rider of bikes, editor at La Velocita, eater of the burgers, ice cream destroyer, tyre pressure zealot, charismatic stallion, all-round legend, 30 years awesome, and exceptionally humble to-boot.
You have registered for the Indian Pacific, a ride starting in Fremantle and finishing at Bondi Beach. I’ve got to ask it – why?
There’s a few answers to that: challenge, adventure, fun, and growth through adversity. Plus, I’ll be dead one day and nobody gets a second shot at life.
I understand yo have a pact with a fellow competitor, something about crossing the line hand in hand at the end – is this true, and how deep is the man love running between the 2 of you?
Nah, no pact. We’ve agreed that we’re happy to ride together while we’re on compatible pace so nothing pact-like. This is a solo challenge and you have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to get yourself to the finish line. Maybe we finish together, maybe we finish a week apart. Who knows? It’s a long race.
How are you feeling with the race just just around the corner?
Pretty relaxed considering what I’m staring down. Mostly I’m looking forward to starting. Once it’s over then I can move on. This race has dominated my thoughts, emptied my bank account, and cost me a lot of sleep over the last few months. I’m just looking forward to getting back to normal life afterwards.
Can you give an overview of the training you been doing of late?
I did a training shakedown over the Australia Day long weekend that was 930 km in 3 days. Since then I’ve been keeping up the riding but am focusing more on getting my body in good shape with stretching and basic strength training. I’ve also been eating my own weight in ice cream. I need some body fat to get me across the country. It sure isn’t what a lot of people expect when they ask about my training. Physical ability only lasts a couple of days. After that it becomes about managing your body and having the mental strength to keep going.
OK, enough abut the Indy Pac, lets learn a little about who James is. How long have you been cycling?
About 13 years just after I finished high school.
What got you started?
A horrific hangover. I got totally wasted on cheap vodka and woke up with only about 20 minutes before I was due to work at my glamorous checkout job. So I grabbed my barely functional mountain bike I got when I was 12 and sweated my way to work. That was literally how it started. I rode to work every day from then on. Then I rode everywhere.It just grew from there. I have never had a driver’s licence, I just ride bikes.
How many bikes do you own and what is your main go to bike?
Currently I have four. A Giant TCX for gravel grinding and commuting, a Daccordi Furioso when I feel like being a vintage steel hipster, a Bottecchia Emme 2 which is my fast-light-carbon bike, and the Curve Belgie Spirit that can do almost anything. I just grab whatever best suits what I’m doing, or whatever feels like it’ll be fun.
What bike do you covet?
I’d say my Curve with a few mods to weenie it up. It’s currently in endurance spec and I can’t wait to shed some weight off it when I get back from Indy Pac. If money were no object I’d throw Dura Ace 9170 on, a Tune Schwarzes Stuck seatpost, and some Tune Airways wheels. Maybe get some ultralight tyres as well. Get that sucker as light as possible. That’s all the bike I’ll ever need.
How do you store your bikes?
Steadyracks. Annoying to install but they’re brilliant.
Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS? If so, which one?
I do basic maintenance myself but I get regular servicing at Bio-Mechanic Cycles and Repairs (BMCR). Pete and Andrew are phenomenal mechanics who work wonders on my bikes. They’ve also found some damaged components that could have ended in serious injury to me. So I trust them. Lia’s customer service is second-to-none as well. She’s very patient with my frequent emailing! They’re the best.
I went and spoke to them as soon as the Indian Pacific Wheel Race was announced. I wanted them to build my rig and Pete has been tweaking it for the last couple of months. It’s one hell of a bike thanks to his expertise.
What cycling specific tools do you have in your “bike shed”?
Nothing too special. Some nice allen keys, various tightening/loosening tools, a servicing stand, and a crapload of baby wipes. Those baby wipes are magic for bike cleaning.
What is your favourite piece of cycling kit or accessory?
Garmin. I love numbers and have a terrible sense of direction.
What do you love about cycling?
Almost everything. The fun, the freedom, the physical and mental health benefits, the challenge, the shiny things, and the social side. I was quite overweight as a teenager so cycling has become the ultimate expression of transformation and change from what I was. That’s why I love climbing steep hills so much.
Riding a bike changed the course of my life and is the single most important influence on who I am today.
Other than yourself, who is your favourite cyclist?
Just to be cliched: Peter Sagan. His abilities are staggering but the way he conducts himself on and off the bike sets him apart. From what I hear, he’s just a really nice guy and everyone likes him.
If you could have dinner with 3 people in the cycling world, who would they be and why?
Well, one has to be Peter Sagan for obvious reasons. Brad Wiggins because he’s a phenomenal athlete who has reinvented himself many times in his career. I think he’d be fascinating to talk to. Alex Howes would be the last. He is just a straight-up cool guy. I chatted to him a bit at the TDU this year and he’s very friendly. I’d love to go for a ride with him.
Where would you take them to eat?
Wherever makes good burgers. I don’t have much time for really fancy food. I’m a simple fella.
What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories?
Riding 1,080 km from Melbourne to Adelaide with 3 mates was my craziest challenge to date.
We smashed ourselves riding with about 2 total hours sleep in parks and ditches for the whole ride. We pushed it to the limits. Exhaustion, sleep deprivation, hallucination, we went through it all. We had fun the whole time though. The banter went for 60 straight hours.
Have you had any nasty crashes? If so how did the worst occur and what was the consequence?
The worst was probably when a kangaroo wiped me out last year while I was trying to do all 4 Dirty Dozen courses in 2 days. I was abut to finish the second course when a kangaroo smashed into the side of me. I was lucky not to break anything but my bike was cracked, several components broken, and my helmet was ruined.
What is your favourite post ride coffee/tea spot, and what would you normally buy as a treat?
Favourite post-ride treat is a Cibo iced coffee. I don’t really like Cibo but they make the best iced coffees. Other than that, I have a few good coffee spots: Red Berry Espresso, Brick and Mortar, Pave, Coffeelosophy, and more. Depends where I end up.
Do you have a favourite overseas country in mind you’d love to take your bike to?
Japan. There’s vending machines everywhere and the Japanese people are absolutely fantastic. I’d love to go back with a bike and do some exploring.
What is your favourite local training route?
Mt Osmond is my favourite area. I love the steep climbs and the beautiful views.
What is the biggest cycling lie you have told a partner?
I haven’t had to resort to that thankfully. She hasn’t asked what the total spend was on my Indy Pac setup. Hopefully she doesn’t!
What cycling related thing would you like for your next birthday?
A power meter for my Bottecchia. It runs Campy so options are really expensive.
Is there a cycling outfit/company/cycling club/cycling group/person that you would like to plug?
So many! I’m very proud of what we’re doing at La Velocita. We’ve had massive growth running on the smell of an oily rag. We’re growing because passionate and talented people contribute. It’s pretty fantastic.
Massive thanks to Cycle Closet as well for supporting me for Indy Pac. They’ve sourced a lot of really high quality gear for me to use. Finally, my pokey YouTube channel: RideAdelaide. It’s a silly little project I’ve started but I get a lot of pleasure out of it.
From a non-cycling perspective, what do you love about Adelaide?
The chill. It’s an easy going town and it’s just a nice place to be.
What is your go to place when interstaters come to Adelaide?
Pretty much all the interstaters who come to visit are cyclists so I take them out and blow their minds on our awesome roads.
Is there anything else you feel like talking about?