In conversation with Peter Harrison on 30-mile bike ride in Northumberland

The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast

EPISODE 237: In conversation with Peter Harrison on 30-mile bike ride in Northumberland 

Sunday 9th February 2020


HOST: Carlton Reid

GUEST: Peter Harrison, Cyclone Festival of Cycling

Peter Harrison has been staging races in Northumberland for many years, and he’s the founder and organiser of the Cyclone Festival of Cycling, a challenge-ride-based weekend of cycling that’s now been going for 14 years. Peter is also an industry veteran — he was Shimano-man for many years and owns a Newcastle bike shop. 

This is rolling audio from a bike ride following part of the route of the Cyclone.


Carlton Reid 0:14
Welcome to Episode 237 of the Spokesmen Cycling Podcast. This show was published on Sunday 9th of February 2020.

David Bernstein 0:24
The Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast is brought to you by Jenson USA, where you’ll always find a great selection of products at amazing prices with unparalleled customer service. For more information, just go to Jenson Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fredcast cycling podcast at I’m one of the hosts and producers of the spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast. For show notes, links and all sorts of other information please visit our website at And now here are the spokesmen.

Carlton Reid 1:09
The Spokesmen cycling podcast is proudly internationalist. We had an urban planner from San Francisco on the previous show. And in a forthcoming episode, I interview South African bicycle activist and academic Njogu Morgan. But this focus on speaking to interesting folks from around the world often means I’m guilty of neglecting interesting folks local to me. I’m Carlton Reid, speaking to you from my home town of Newcastle. And on today’s show, I go for a bike ride in Northumberland, with a cyclist very well known in the North East of England. Peter Harrison lives about a mile away from me and when I go on club rides, not that often, but it’s with his club, the Gosforth Road Club. Peter has been organising cycle races in Northumberland for many years, and he’s the founder and organiser of the Cyclone festival of cycling, a challenge ride based weekend of cycling has now been going for 14 years. Peter is also an industry veteran. He was Shimanoman for many years, and he owns a Newcastle bike shop now. On our bike ride, following part of the route of the Cyclone, we discuss all of this and much more.

Peter, we’re standing outside the Falcons, the rugby ground and we’re actually at you covered here on a car. I’m not gonna hold that against you, Peter. But you got a sponsored car and I’ll mention your sponsor, so they get mentioned here so it’s sponsored by Wingrove Motor Company, and then a big panel on the side there says the Cyclone festival of cycling. So Peter, how can you get a car?

Peter Harrison 3:04
Well, I don’t actually get it for free to be to begin with let’s put it that way but I do get it at a discounted rate. And the That’s right. Yeah, the

the car is supply because I need it for the event on the event that I created 14 years ago. I would have a request from Newcastle city council to put on city centre racing, which I’ve done for South Tyneside Council

Carlton Reid 3:30
for 15 years. Yeah, yeah,

Peter Harrison 3:32
yep. 2006 I put on a city centre cycle race

for South Tyneside Council, and called the Geordie Grand Prix. And that morphed then into the Cyclone, where after I approached and approached Northern Rock to see that we’re interested in putting on me putting on an event that was a combination of the idea I had was a combination of an event. All rights for non competitive people plus competitive races, which was already putting on the bomont trophy, and also creating the city centre credit. So that’s where it started from 2000 2006 was just the criterium. 2007 was the first Cyclone. So this year will be the 14th Cyclone.

Carlton Reid 4:23
And it started this is why we’re at the Falcons. It starts and finishes here. And I’ve done this at least two or three times, that’s even four times out of those 14. So you start here and how many people do you get starting here?

Peter Harrison 4:36
Well, we get a very between about two and 4000.

What are the what the idea that I had when I created was I sort of had the idea of looking at the Great North Run and thinking right? I want people to ride their bikes instead of running but I’m not going to just give them one distance to do and everybody doing the same thing. So I created four different distances all who are The same route and then peel off at different places. And, and so all abilities all ages, and all levels of fitness could take part in it. But unlike Sagan, someone like the one where you’ve only got the one distance,

Carlton Reid 5:13
so I tell my kids so kids can do it, you know, little seven, eight year olds can

Peter Harrison 5:19
well, interesting you say that because the 34 mile, right? The youngest person ever to do the 34 mile ride was four years old, and young Jake Parker. And so we’ve had them we’ve had some very young kids do it. And the oldest of course, to do the hundred and six was 92. To date, it’s not 92 is that up there? No, no, not quite. I’m getting there, but I’m not quite so yeah, so different distances. I originally that was three distances. And then I took it up to four distances and have an for this year we got 34 miles, 65 miles, 93 miles and 116 hundred and hundred and eight miles. But it’s always stress it’s not a race. And we don’t give positions and its people out to enjoy themselves for the day. And the only caveat as opposed to some other events or some running events is you’re not allowed to wear fancy dress because I don’t want people to know someone dressed as a gorilla and having to be rescued

Carlton Reid 6:23
let’s let’s go from there then because people who don’t know the walls of Northumberland when you say the walls are not permitted, you mean the walls are not familiar. It can get pretty ropey out there and you’re in you’re in pretty pristine countryside with not a lot of cars around which is a huge attraction of course, to describe the route and describe how remote it can get for the guys doing there.

Peter Harrison 6:43
Right if we take the the hundred eight mile route, we’re heading out from from Newcastle from the Falcons and we’re going up and through dinnington up through the towards frontierland but then heading up through Walton once you get up to Well know you’re up to ball and you’re starting to get bolam late you’re starting to get out in the countryside once you pass there then you don’t through Nether when and down towards rough buddy through rough buddy. So you’re getting that little bit more into the country and some spectacular scenery and drug side and of course where you know a very famous place and and then we you head off towards oh and by this time of course you’re up into the achievements and you’re right up and really getting into some remote countryside. From there you’re heading over towards and

just gonna think about this year

Carlton Reid 7:46
14 years Peter Come on I know that I

Peter Harrison 7:48
know. I know the road to well I know so many roads. I’m trying to think where I am and you’re up from Alwinton and you’re over towards towards Elsdon through towards Otterburn and over all the ranges, the army ranges and then you’re up into the Kielder forest and eventually dropping down towards Humshaugh over the Tyne and then back down towards Stamfordham and Stamfordham. And before that, of course you’ve got the last little sting in the tail I put on this one they’ve already done a heck of a lot of climbing that once you get into Stamfordham, but I just before Stamfordham, I mean you’ve got the Ryals, and which are notorious in racing circles as well as

Carlton Reid 8:35
that that killer little, little climbs but they’re killing

Peter Harrison 8:39
Well, it’s a one point it’s a 1.3 mile claim. And the middle section of it is 33%. And evidently I get called a lot of choice names. And on that particular that particular part of the route, but three of the four rates converging go back up the the the rails this The shortest 34 miler doesn’t go up there and we will keep the families and kids away from their small ruling the way that they go so they’ve got an agenda right we’ve got feed stations and situated and village halls around the and the whole of the route and and then there are some unofficial ones such as the one that Whalton where the school bakes cakes and everything else they do an unofficial one and they normally make quite a bit of money for the for the school each year just doing that I just allow them to do what the one and so there’s plenty of places to stop round goal of the roots there’s plenty of the scene is very good but yes, it can get it can be beautiful and sunny and warm down here at the farm. Let’s Let’s go Yeah, yeah. And then we get once you get up into the wilds

Carlton Reid 9:55
because what what time of the air is it?

Peter Harrison 9:57
Well it’s a it’s the end of June. So it has been known for it to be beautiful and sunny down at the Falcons and then actually hail stalling around into the achievements and the key Akilah. And so writers are always warning and it says all in the end the advice and instructions for people taking part making sure that they’ve got a road where the bike

properly dressed

and that they’re doing a right that

they’re doing the right within the capability. So that the we don’t get people getting into real distress, hopefully, and that’s what happens. But of course we do have ambulances stationed at all the different feed stations in case of any emergencies. We do have paramedics going around in cars, we’ve got service vehicles from Shimano going round in case of any mechanic goals. And we also have the Danny g the national Escalade group, which are motorcycle outriders who basically patrol the whole route. And they make sure that the everybody is safe and obeying the rules of the road. And if there are any difficulties can report back and then we’re all linked up by and radio comes back to event HQ.

Carlton Reid 11:26
So you don’t write it down assuming

Peter Harrison 11:29
I’ve written to every one of the root cause but not but no,

Unknown Speaker 11:35
no, no, no, no. My my weekend starts. Well obviously starts weeks before and but we start on the Friday night with the family right down on the time. The time six bridges starting and finishing down here the US burn and right just 10 and a half miles and and 15 and a half miles for kids and families. Just a enjoy themselves it’s all all off road. And when I say off road it’s actually the strange route. So the traffic three and we get very young families taking part and, and we also and people who are just real novices

Carlton Reid 12:19
so like the London to Brighton and rides like that this is something that probably a lot of people this is that one big ride of the year.

Peter Harrison 12:27
Yeah, for a lot of people it is.

I mean, but we do get people who take part in a number of these different I call them challenges. I don’t call them sport ease. I don’t like the word. I think it’s too elitist. But we call them challenge rage. And yes, some of the nican one big right of the year, particularly the families and kids and making it and of course before we

Carlton Reid 12:53
were gonna go right okay, (some of the kids) we’re on the Ponteland road here.

Gonna go past the airport. Is this part of the route?

Peter Harrison 13:02
it well, it’s part of the coming back in. Coming back in Yeah, yeah. So the so we’ll start off on the Friday night to see with the family right. Then the sadhya, the four different rides that I’ve been talking about.

And, and then on the Sunday we have

and races and for some of the top right and in fact some of the top riders in the world. I mean, for example, in 2011 Bradley Wiggins won the Beaumont trophy when it was when it was actuallyg the national road race championships. And Lizzie Armistead, Lizzie Deignen as, she is now she actually won. She won the women’s race and in 2018 both the Beaumont under covers your call it with the men’s and women’s national championships.

Unknown Speaker 13:59
And it was One man’s event was won by Connor swift, Ben Swift’s cousin.

Carlton Reid 14:07
Is the Beaumont part of the Gosforth?

Peter Harrison 14:10
Well, the Beaumont trophy. Is it? Yes, it’s, it’s owned by the gospel through a clip of which I’m chairman. And it’s been. It’s the longest, longest running road race in the UK. And it was it was created 1952 by m, and the trophy was awarded or given to the godless World Cup by a guy called Rex Beaumont n a cycle wholesalers in Newcastle. And it’s it’s been running now, for a while this will be the 69th year, every year every year, we know break and I’ve been putting on for the past 43 years. So it’s been it’s a very well established road race. As I say, we’ve had some of the top. The top writers in the world writing, Wiggins Cavendish, even going back years ago people like Malcolm Elliott, one is m. m. The person who was one of the most actually is a guy called real weather or who’s a ne Lord and re one at five times in in the 60s in the 70s. And he rewrote for JP and he wrote the milk race and everything else. So it’s, it’s so And finally, the very first year it was run. It was won by a guy called Stam blend that was done. Blair was a professional for Viking cycles. And he wanted and in those days that this actually started and finished in Gosford Park and came out, you wouldn’t believe it could do it now, but actually came got the high street and out into the wild from from from there. And that was, of course, the early 50s Very few causes about

Carlton Reid 16:01
when there’s also a lot of conflict between British cycling and the road time trials Council.

Peter Harrison 16:06
Well, well, well, well, no, no.

Carlton Reid 16:11
tandem has gone past Yeah. And

Peter Harrison 16:18
and the British cycling Federation was formed in 1959. And as it was a split it had been the old British legal rate racing cyclist vl RC and they, they they sort of splitting away from the ncu who the time filing because the ncu didn’t want open road races in UK. So for the first it would be the first seven years at the Vermont run. It was actually run under BLC rules.

Carlton Reid 16:57
That event was basically smack bang in the middle of that Particular icon.

Peter Harrison 17:00
Oh, yes, yeah, yeah, very much so. And then, of course, in 59, British, the British cycling Federation was formed. I actually became a member of British cycling in 1961. So two years after it was formed, and I’ve been a member ever since. So, so let’s go

Carlton Reid 17:23
into that long history, Peter. Because I know I take the Nick out of you when your events and stuff and I say you know, you were there in the bone shaker days and stuff. But yeah, have been around a long time. So 61 thing a BC member? And what about a gossip row club man?

Peter Harrison 17:42
Well, that was the era joined the Gosforth Road club. Yeah, I joined it. I joined the Gosforth Road club. It was about the April of 1961.

Carlton Reid 17:50
And I’m going to

date you here. How

old were you?

Peter Harrison 17:53
Well, I was when I was 14. When I joined.

Carlton Reid 17:55
I why’d you join? What is that family thing?

Peter Harrison 17:58
Ain’t no no Wish I was already at school in Tynemouth most played rugby was quite.

Carlton Reid 18:06
You’re not from Newcastle?

Peter Harrison 18:07
No, I’m from Edinburgh. Exactly. So how

Carlton Reid 18:09
let’s go backwards. So why why is a Scot in Newcastle at this time?

Peter Harrison 18:15
Well what happened was and I was born just after the last war and in Edinburgh 42 killed Dr. x still remember the address and and my father was a captain in the Royal Artillery in the last war. He got demobbed in 1946 and my mother and he got married. My father was working, got a job working for OSHA’s brewery in Edinburgh and and became a brewer there. He then got offered a job working and as head Brewer at Robert geocache which is now on Sunday for God is that so No, not no flatter. No. Yeah, yeah. So we came down from Edinburgh. In the early 60s I’d, I’d want to kill the whole of my young life until we came to the castle and fight the first year. Warren New Castle I was sitting the crowd site Primary School wearing a kilt. So So, so anyway, then I went to Kings. And there was a crowd of us kings actually, and some of the friends hadn’t gossip with by this time. And when you heard about the, the Satan Club, which was actually based in the old conservative club rooms, and other conservative party rooms at South Casa and so we went along. Oh, howdy. pretty inexpensive bites. I think mine came from Northern mode as second hand road bike. And because I was playing rugby in the winter, and doing stuff that took care of that, but there was no sporting stuff to do in the summer because I wasn’t really in there, and a cricket and a king’s at the time, there wasn’t athletics. So we joined the gospel through club, and I got immediately hooked. In fact, I’ve still got some school reports where my PE teachers knowing that I was pretty sporty. Sort of lamented the fact that I wanted to race bikes, as opposed to take him any form of athletics because I was a reasonable runner as well. So yeah, it went from there. Did you 14 years

Carlton Reid 21:00
So you joined the club to race

Peter Harrison 21:02
where no club lunch. It was a social thing. It was something to do on a Sunday.

Carlton Reid 21:07
Because this in this 1961 you’re basically this is when Cycling is absolutely dying. Cycling is you know, like Dutch levels of cycling in 1949 by 1969 1970 you’ve got the 2% 1% we’ve got now so it was dying a death so you

Peter Harrison 21:29
No, no, I disagree. It wasn’t dying a death in fact.

Club a very vibrant because it was something for kids to do on it on a Sunday and for all the people that do on a Sunday, because it was it was very little the cycling done on the Sunday. It was always on a Sunday in your Sunday club. Right. And, I mean, we used to be out all day on a Sunday at the age of 15. And I was doing sort of hundred and 20 miles every every Sunday with a club

Carlton Reid 21:56
and how many how many people are going out and he runs how many is in the club right?

Peter Harrison 22:00
Those days there was about about 30 or 40 in the club from as far back as any member. And yes, it was a Racing Club. That’s why it was called the Gosforth Road club. It was actually a spinoff from the Ridley cycling club. Because clubs zoning, and races were only allowed to put teams of four in any one race. And the young lads in there really couldn’t get a risk. So the form the Gosforth Road club, and it

I took his colours actually, which I’m wearing today.

Carlton Reid 22:32
Very white and green, green.

Unknown Speaker 22:35
And it took it those colours from Gosforth urban district council, and the badges actually got urban district council as well. The club badge. So we started on code runs. And there was a there was a few other clubs at the time. There were pretty vibrant around the time the Gosforth was formed or just after, for example, the Barnesbury CC See, the bonds we see see was named after. That was the street that used to meet and in Byker, Barnesbury road, and that’s how the Barnesbury really got its name. The Tyne Electric, who were electricians at Swan Hunters, and that was how that clip gotta stay. We had the Tyne Olympic, then some clubs would try and use continental name. So we have things like the Tyne Velo. There’s a myriad of clubs at the time. Some of them pretty big, but it was all about long social rides in the winter, and then racing in the summer so I started the race as a school boy at the age of 14.

Carlton Reid 23:53
So this is when you’re learning the roads of Northumberland basically, you’ve been taken out into the

Peter Harrison 23:58
wild Yeah, we used to have a guy in the club then Spud Tate and sport would have a map, but he’s back pocket. And we would go where we’re writing and get us to, to remember pubs around where we’re writing it. And you learn all these roads. There was no, obviously no satnavs, no Garmins. I don’t know I still don’t use Strava. And there was nothing like that. On you just you got on and you went down roads. I wonder where this goes. All right, this comes here. And it got ingrained in every single road and no fumbling. No just not familiar but Durham as well.

Carlton Reid 24:41
And you knew exactly

Peter Harrison 24:44
where to go, how long it would take the distances between every every road, every village of

Carlton Reid 24:53
DO you know Peter just noticed that that looks quite new. There’s like a green cycle strip on this major roundabout at the airport. And potentially that’s today with the you got here on the Cyclone?

Peter Harrison 25:05
Well, yes, you do without that British trip accesible is farcical the thing of

Carlton Reid 25:10
it is this is ridiculous. I’ve never seen it before. And it’s crazy, but still it stays there. So that’s that. Yeah, yeah.

Peter Harrison 25:16
Yeah. I mean, I, along with one of the other members of the Gosforth Road road I rode the Tour of Ireland when when I just turned 20 in 1967.

And continue to race through university

and continue your,

Carlton Reid 25:35
what were you doing in university Peter, subjects subject?

Peter Harrison 25:39
Well, actually originally turned to be a teacher. After being a teacher for a few years, I went back to uni again. And by then there was a degree in, in education so I did a Bachelor of Education. The club itself went through a period by by the early. Yeah, the very early 70s. The teenagers who have been in the club together and had all decided to, for various reasons, give it up and or others went to join other clubs. And some of the older ones just popped in. And at one point, I was the only member of the Gosforth Road Club for a number of years and kept it going.

Carlton Reid 26:32
Truck behind (Yeah, yeah.)

On that cut, either. David. David, take it away.

David Bernstein 26:40
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Carlton Reid 28:06
So now come through Ponteland and we are away from the road on the road that we just left the face of the road that’s gonna go up to Scotland. So this road here, Will inferi be slightly less busy, should have slightly irate motorists as we get past the little town of pontoon. So Peter, you were telling us about your teaching career before we came through content and then we had stopped talking? So we’re here to turn your teaching career then? Is it so Newcastle?

Peter Harrison 28:37
Well, I started I started my teaching career teaching in northwest Alberta teaching Indians, Blackfoot Indians neski mosun you name it. Now burden

Carlton Reid 28:49
that while you add that you like you emigrated or

Peter Harrison 28:52
and I technically I immigrated as a London Canadian immigrant, but I was only out there for just over a year because I couldn’t ride the bike during the winter. I was still a member of the gossip. And but I yeah, you said my mother used to send out my cycling weekly every week in the post they used to get every two weeks later. And yeah, so I taught there for just over a year. And then I came back. It went over the east to Canada to meet my brother but he decided to go to Australia. They have a long story there. But then then I went from there. And and then in the UK, I taught at various schools, Newcastle. I mean I was head of head of biology at World world will not least. And then in 77, my brother had come back from Australia and decided to change his direction. And we are the restaurant and some health food shops. And you can So we’re way ahead of that time at the time in what we did. Country Fayre, people still remember how to create these little Empire. shops around Newcastle girl says Jasmine, big restaurant sending your castle. And then we sold out. And brother went off to he went off to America at that point. I put money into buying M. Steel Cycles, because that’s what I learned in my lot of my craft, about working on bikes when I was a kid. Because I work for Geoff Dobson at M. Steels when I was a young teenager.

Carlton Reid 30:42
So this bike shop no longer exists to explain. Now that file did a few years ago, when I had been going since the 1890s. A very, very old shop.

Peter Harrison 30:52
Well, yeah, originally it was it was it was the M steel. It was a guy called Matthew steel. Who was attract right the turn of the century and a guy called geoff Dobson. Geoff bought it and the it would have been a very well the late 50s actually asked me give up the RAF and I started work there as a kid on a Sunday when I was about 15 because that’s what we used to go to get our cycling stuff


Unknown Speaker 31:30
and and move various places but yeah, it’s no longer there. But I came out from

Peter Harrison 31:42
the restaurant and health food shops.


Unknown Speaker 31:54
And then I am a full money buying M Steel’s because Geoff wanted and I wanted to business with Dave Yates and Joe Waugh, and we’ll set up a factory building frames and and have the retail side not on the retail side. And then in 86 and I was headhunted by Erol Drew of Madison to go on, really set up the Shimano side of it in the UK.

Carlton Reid 32:22
So he was Freewheel. He was the guy who started Freeheel he then left eventually for america and i believe he’s still in the industry. He’s at Delta Corporation.

Peter Harrison 32:32
That’s right. He’s got Delta Corporation.

Started off him and Brian Stewart started off with a secondhand bike shop. And in West Ham said, no free will. It was three wheel Yeah, yeah. And then he, the booth could come from LSE, London School of Economics. And a little Brian was an accountant. Actually Did all the design work? So when they had the freewheel shop, they started a small catalogue of stuff to sell, not online, but to sell through the catalogue. And they started to import stuff from the UK. So from the US

Carlton Reid 33:19
kind of stuff.

Peter Harrison 33:20
Yeah, yeah. And they started doing a lot of their own branding. They would rebrand stuff. very innovative in the way that they did that Aztec. Yeah, Aztec. Yeah, yeah. Red S. Yes, NuTrak. Lots of lots of stuff like that. And once they got free, we’re going to their new wholesale side of the business. And an 86 middlemore’s had been the same auto import as for the UK, but we’re doing that didn’t have the code to do it. Very well an adult persuaded Shimano that he could do a better job. And this is still

Carlton Reid 34:05
when SunTour and Shimano I would probably equal a

Peter Harrison 34:10
notion to be bigger than Shimano in the UK. Yeah, for bigger I mean some job provided all rally with all our bikes with them when I’m SunTour. And Ron Kitching was the the important and he was a very astute operator was wrong then and then.

So they took

so so when

when the on the wholesale side of it, they decided to call it Madison after Madison Square Garden spent the first six years in part and I went to work for them in 86. And when I was there 20 years we’re a pretty small company. There was this relatively turn over about a million pounds a year. I turn my left it was like 6070 million a year.

Carlton Reid 35:02
So you were Shimanoman for a while. Yeah. Literally your your your job title, but you were like branded as a Shimanoman.

Peter Harrison 35:13

very much so.

Carlton Reid 35:16
And what was that, what was Shimanoman?

Peter Harrison 35:18
Yeah, well, I was in charge of all the technical side, ranging the products and doing trade shows. I mean a jack of all trades at the time working on event, of course, that sort of morphed into working on major major events, and liaising directly with Shimano Europe.

Carlton Reid 35:41
But this time, Shimano is rapidly accelerating past SunTour. SunTout becoming very small. And so Madison stroke free will, is basically riding that wave. I mean, this is a global phenomenon that’s happened and they’re right about it. They’ve got the right brand at the right time. Yeah, you have Sean as you know now you’ve got some honour you’re there you’re the leading distributor because everybody tonight

Peter Harrison 36:07
yeah I mean Raleuigh still had some and Terry Bowles my old boss suddenly now dead Terry and I I took because I knew everybody in the industry or a lot of people in the industry and from retail one thing or another and I took Terry to meet rally and various other people and you know gradually got stronger and stronger hold on Shimano in the UK because first the agreement Shimano had with and with Madison Riley was at rally would handle all the low end stuff. And Madison would only have the middle and high end stuff. But we gradually wean him away from that and of course, having been associated We’re bikes all the time. And interested in the technical side. I wanted us to be not just distributors of the product, but provide that technical backup. And that was why and we’re, well, I sort of with it. The leading person for one of a better word on this. This is how we actually set up a Shimano server send this to me to make dealers have that technical knowledge and expertise. So set up the Shimano service centres, and roll that out through the UK to company dealers, who had already been going to see and somebody who I knew from a racing days and everything else, and then we took a term and of course that’s now being rolled out around Europe. And further.

Carlton Reid 37:55
And then you left Madison. Yeah. Where’d you go from

Peter Harrison 37:59
that? Well, was it What happened was, I was doing technical training because actually, myself and a couple other people in the UK and created the site tech qualification for cycle mechanics. I use my expertise as an ex teacher.

Carlton Reid 38:15
Outside of it sounds Albert shopsmith. Yes. From the association socrata is one of them.

Peter Harrison 38:21
Yeah. I was doing the technical training side of it. And and when it became an envy Q, and Terry, Terry both decided that I should do part of the work for Madison and part art and thought with the Aylesbury Training group, as a trainer and assessor, and I sort of had to live with it. I wouldn’t say I was particularly happy about it, but I had to live with it. So did that for a few years. And then try Charlie around the UK trying to train certain mechanics Who wouldn’t? Interested in businesses they weren’t particularly interested they just won the qualification and got over actively doing not about

12 years ago now.

And Cyclelogical the cycle shop, came up for grabs a number of reasons. And so I just have bought that. But by this time, of course I was

I was over 60

and then

59, 60

and have the business running under my running into management began with wasn’t helping you it was going control back on there. And then of course, in 2011, by which time I’d already created the cyclone been going for four years. So I was very much involved with that. And then it caused a major crash.

Carlton Reid 40:06
Yeah, tell us about that. Because that was abroad on a .

dealer trip

Peter Harrison 40:13
was actually Yes, I was on a

trip to the Orbea factory, cuz you’re distributing Orbea. And

we’re on a big descent we’re on bikes in the factory. Now whether it was because I wasn’t particularly used to that bike. And just outside Bilbao in the, in the Basque Country, and I am I always be known as a very fast descent. No one was a racing cyclist, very fast. In fact, an ex World Champion said it was a bloody maniac. And he didn’t quite use those words. He said it was very fast. And the break I was on and we don’t know why. And nobody knows why to this day. It happens bike went into a Speedway when I was doing 60 miles an hour. Consequently I came off and ended up in intensive care and Bilbo.

Carlton Reid 41:11
You had a lot of broken bones 30 broken bones. So you’re in hospital across there and then you were medivacced out?,

Peter Harrison 41:21
no, I was it. I was in intensive care and buildbot I was flown back to the UK. I was in the RVI for several months. I mean, I had obstruction vertebrae in my neck, shattered my collarbone. 21 breaks my ribs and broke my pelvis in two places. So I did a pretty good job of it.

Carlton Reid 41:45
And without wishing to say too much, but at that age, they’re pretty major injuries at that age. So looking on the bright side, the fact that you’re a dead fit cyclist probably helped you anyway. Yeah, recovery.

Peter Harrison 41:58
Yeah, it’s Certainly dead. And, and I’ve also had this

I suppose I will do things

and get back from injuries. I mean when I played rugby I was used to injuries as a racing cyclist and I did racer 20 we’re on the road racer 23 years. So quite used to injuries. Yeah. And then I raced as a as a veteran when mountain bike first came in. And in the days of rigid forks, and we read mountain bike race is no days, what about three hours long and will reject folks and I raised a national level four years ago as a veteran, but then from that I had to trade as much as when I’ve been training as a youngster for the road when I wrote race the track as well. Road trucks across.

Carlton Reid 43:02
So you’re dead fit, you still go out on the rides with the Gosforth every every weekend. Your fitness probably helped you with the crash even though the crash was caused by cycling right. But I can’t have been very good for your business and not to give it up in the hospital

Peter Harrison 43:17
for a while for about four years. I couldn’t do anything in the business. In fact, I couldn’t get rid of it because I wasn’t there. And I’d have stuff in it haemorrhaging money for a number of years. We’re going through a pretty lean patch.

Carlton Reid 43:35
Now and this has been a pretty lean pack pizza, it’s it’s been a rough four years, everybody

Peter Harrison 43:41
very rough. And then an actual fight is one of the reasons of course, as you know, some why some have gone down and some of the bigger change. I mean, I used to carry 100 bikes in stock. I think I’ve got four in stock now. I get them in to order.

The one thing that of course it

Unknown Speaker 44:04
costs industry such as online kind of do is to kind of prepare you

Peter Harrison 44:10
for the main stage Oh yeah.

And we’re talking about quite technical stuff.

I mean, just recently did a course on

and the Shimano steps e bikes and do bike fitting

di to diagnostics and all of this stuff. Still, I still get people in the industry, particularly on some of the older stuff. Follow me up and asking me how about this how do you do this comfortable?

Carlton Reid 44:44
Well as the first thing he asked me this morning when you when you turned up and you sold me on this by examiner Specialized Diverge that Specialiaedvery kindly sent me and the first thing you asked me it wasn’t like hi can’t hide. It was like so what Alright, so he’s asking us technical questions about a particular hydrolyze exam go on here and it goes I’m an absolute Luddite when it comes to learning by x i don’t mean by as I get into a bike show I make you I make bikers money Peter on the idea of customer well yeah yeah yeah

Peter Harrison 45:21
i mean

you know my workshops are some of the well both at home and at work some of the best equipment around and I’m always getting I’ll go for the latest tools and we should have got the best

Carlton Reid 45:38
says that the saving grace for the bike industry in that you’ve got to have the specialist tools because a lot of stuff you can’t do at home. No, no, you can’t have Yeah, absolutely going to invest in tonnes of stuff and then then, you know, the latest bottom bracket standard comes out your stuff does a home consumer doing these things, whereas like John’s gotta invest in everything.

Peter Harrison 45:57
Well, they give you some idea my tools – and this is apart from things like the cabinets and the benches and the compressor, stuff like this – I’ve got about 25,000 quids worth of tools in the shop. I mean, some of the tools are over 1000 quid

Carlton Reid 46:14
for 1000 quid was a tool that’s 1000 quid,

Peter Harrison 46:17
and some of the bottom bracket tops. Thompson faces. Yeah, so I mean, the tooling is an integral part of it and, and of course the knowledge how to use it. It’s no good having, you know, and what always makes me laugh is I get people coming in the shop. pretty regular basis. Oh, I’ve done this and it didn’t work. But instead, this is how you do it on YouTube. And I go I right fine. YouTube’s one of my greatest allies because people are always going to destroy things watching amateurs shown what I do different jobs on YouTube, then I mean, there are some good YouTube’s on some people like showing you how to actually use the tools that a lot of people won’t want to buy those tools, as I said, because they’re very expensive. And, and then, of course, the latest technology and me, I’m just your bike there, I know you’ve got internal cable routing for your hydraulic brakes. Now, Joe public, knowing how to first of all, read, put a new hose it never gets damaged. First of all, they’ve got to have the tools to really feed the horses through nowhere to go and how to do it, then they’ve got to have the tools to actually reflect the the colours and the persons, etc. and how to bleed the brakes. And the reason I was asking about those mixes smoting was because the brakes that you’ve got on there, you should be what they call the closed system using dot for fluid, which I believe this still are. Shimano is an open system using mineral oil. And there’s a whole load of health implications, particularly with adult fluids using them and because they are highly corrosive, that’s what you’ve got gotten car braking systems, open systems are easier to work with. And Shimano has got patents on a lot of that stuff. So other manufacturers have developed their own systems, as I say, some core systems. I mean, the old avid ones absolutely horrendous to work on doing a reverse bleed with to two sets of

injections systems, just

absolutely different syringes. Sure, there’s a lot to know that what you do.

Carlton Reid 49:05
So the more tech that bikes get it’s harder for consumers. But better for bike shops.

Peter Harrison 49:13
Yeah. And this is a way that the independents have gotten it are the ones who in this savvy,

Carlton Reid 49:20
but does that not also make it that consumers go “oh, sod that” too difficult now? Or do you think it’s like cars? Well, people just do not know how to do a car. They’re quite happy putting it into a garage that’s the way it’s got to go?

Peter Harrison 49:33
Well, yeah, I mean, if you if you bought it, you know, let’s face it, a two or 3000 pound bike, which isn’t uncommon now. And something goes wrong. You don’t go Oh, just took it away. It was a 200. Goodbye. Yes. Not 2000 quid bike, and about like your car. You don’t go. I’m not using it because I don’t know what to do.

And I kind of fix it. You got it fixed.

Of course, a lot of people think that having a bike repaired should be cheap. Whereas, you know, they’ll pay 50 quid for someone just to come out and look at your washing machine. Nevermind do anything to it.

Carlton Reid 50:20
But people pay cars they don’t seem to mind the expertise that like car mechanics are supposed to have. And yet they look down their noses some people do at bicycle mechanics as well you can’t be as as proficient so I shouldn’t be spending 50 quid an hour for this. So you’re going to have that for a long time or don’t change.

Peter Harrison 50:42
That’s it’s an interesting comment that that was a vision because comic comics know for the most part. Yes, you call them mechanics, but a lot of them I just mean is guys, the replace the whole unit whereas with bikes Because of the mix and match, as the school there, were there the kids are gone from. And when it’s mix and match, then the body mechanic has gotten a workout. Whether it’s compatible, if it does work, if it doesn’t work, why all of these problems he’s going to solve. car mechanics don’t do that. If the computer says no, in a car guy in a garbage, then the mechanic goes, don’t know what to do. Whereas a bike shop, you kind of plug in, but you can’t be a DI to diagnostics. You’re kind of plugging your bike to find out that your hangar is bent into Mills, or a chain that you’ve got 10 to chin, because you’ve been clever for you being clever and potentially Chin on a nice v system and wonder why it doesn’t work. More often than not, I’ve only had this chain on three years. Yes. I’ve only had this chain on three years. Why are the gear jumping? Surely change should last forever. What did you said your car? Somebody in a garbage? If they say yeah come belt needs changing it so many miles. You go okay fine. It has to be done.

Yeah, no bike mechanics are undervalued.

Carlton Reid 52:43
Thanks to Peter Harrison. You can get more information on the cycling festival of cycling at The 2020 event takes place over a weekend at the very end of June. Thanks to you listening to today’s show. There are 236 others in our gargantuan back catalogue. Subscribe in your favourite podcast catcher to get future shows. Meanwhile, get out there and ride.

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