Local Riders Q&A - Ed Clancy

Ed Clancy's talent on the bike spans across both road and track disciplines. He is the current reigning Olympic and European team pursuit champion and in the London 2012 Olympics, he claimed a bronze medal in the Omnium. Born in Barnsley, Ed is a four-time world champion (2005, 2007, 2008 and 2012) and twice European champion (2010, 2011) in team pursuit; he also won World and European titles in Omnium (2010 and 2011 respectively). 

He is currently riding road for Rapha Condor-JLT. 

As a racing cyclist, which results are you most proud of and why?

Two olympic golds from Beijing and London are the two results I'm most proud of. Simply because it was the end result of a lot of hard work and pressure over many years and to finish the job on the big day was a dream come true. It was a truly enjoyable process too with some top guys. 

Which are your favourite stretches of road to ride on locally and what is it that you like about them?

I love lots of roads where I live in Holmfirth. Theres loads of small twisty lanes. The roads over Strains moor that go towards Sheffield are possibly my favourite stretch. They're generally pretty quiet, the scenery is nice and as a bonus they've just been resurfaced for the Tour de France!

The same question for roads anywhere in the world?

I love Majorca, I guess its just familiar as I've been there so many times over the years. I like the variety, you can go flat, hilly or a combo of both. Well surfaced roads, quieter than at home most of the time and generally better weather too. 

What is your most memorable moment on the bike or involved with cycling?

I suppose it would be the Olympic stuff again. But there so many memories over the years. Good and bad!

Has racing affected your relationship with the bike? If so, how?

Im not sure. I guess I see my team road bikes and track bikes just as work horses these days. I still have my own personal mountain bikes and training bikes and I guess I feel a little more for those bikes. But its really like a working relationship with my team bikes. 

Do you agree with Mickey Goldmill's advice to Rocky that 'women weaken legs'?

I'm a big believer in the saying  "A happy bike rider is a fast bike rider". So if women or a particular woman makes you happy then I reckon it makes your legs stronger in fact. 

We are in the midst of a well publicised boom in cycling in the UK at the moment. Has it affected you? Do you have any thoughts about why it has happened and whether it will continue? Do you see any negatives to the increase in popularity?

For sure cycling has come a long way in recent years. It has defiantly impacted on my career in a positive way. 

I think the London games obviously did a huge amount for myself and cycling in general but also the success of Brad, Cav and Froome on the road has boosted the sport in Britain massively. 

All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you think this is?

I'm not sure all cyclist obsess over bike weight do but the vast majority possibly do. 

I guess if its you're hobby or passion then people just want the best kit possible irrelevant of wether they're racing or not which is fine. 

Do you approach riding, or ride your bike, differently now to when you first got into cycling?

For fun rides or low key races I approach it with a similar approach to when i was a young. Obviously for the  bigger races and serious training sessions theres a level of commitment and dedication that was absent when i started out. I suppose the thing that hasn't changed is the fact that I love riding bikes both competitively and non competitively. 

Who has been your favourite pro riders over the years and why?

Im good mates with Geraint Thomas he's a fun guy, he's got great positive attitude and morale that he takes to his riding and life in general. 

I'm also a big Steve Cummings fan, I don't know him as well personally but I really admire the way he does things his way and keeps his head down races his bike. 

What was you favourite era of professional bike racing?

To be honest I know very little about cycling history. Im not from a cycling background and got started in the sport relatively late. 

Theres good reason to believe this is the cleanest era right now - so this is my favourite. 

Do you think Bradley Wiggins looks cool despite his long socks or because of them?

He's a cool guy whatever he decides to wear!

Mudguards, mudguards and mudflaps or racing bike with clip on guards through winter?

Steel race bike with clip ons for me, Condor kindly built up a winter bike for me recently which suits bad weather riding perfectly for me. I understand the need to stay dry but its got to be a bike you want to ride!

Do you enjoy a cafe stop or do you prefer to ride straight round?

Depends on the ride. For recovery rides, cafe stop every time. For training rides where you're going to be tired and sweaty, I prefer to get straight home. 

Assos, Rapha or neither?

I currently ride for team Rapha Condor JLT. So I think you know the answer! I've been with the team for four years and I've been very grateful to receive loads of brilliant kit from Rapha!

What is your favorite piece of cycling kit (either something you currently own or have in the past)?

The Rapha merino wool undervest in longsleeve are awesome in winter. Thin, but super warm and comfy. 

Apart from that Paul Smith once designed a one off special skin suit for me to wear in the London nocturne when I was the current national crit champion. I hardly ever keep my kit at the end of the year but I plan on keeping that skin suit forever! 

Do you prefer to get your head down on the A6, keep a good tempo going on the B roads or get onto the back wacks? What about the rough stuff on your road bike?

Racing wise i love big fast roads but training I prefer the complete opposite. I love scuttling down small dusty lanes. 

What do you think about Strava?

I like it. I personally don't do it just because it would be one more thing to monitor on my rides. But I like the idea, its good that everyone can have a go.

What do you think about Sportive rides?

Again, Its not something that I do but I think its another great way for people to have a good day out on their bike and challenge themselves. 

Do you have any cycling pet hates?

Not really. Im pretty easy going. 

I don't like letting people down, in team pursuit on the track or in most road races theres always a team role to play and letting people down is the worst thing.

Are there any cycling traditions that you think have been, or are being, lost as a result of changing attitudes and behaviour? And are we better off or worse off as a consequence?

A few years ago before the boom almost every cyclist on the road would give you a quick nod of the head or a little wave in the same way that motorcyclists do when they pass each other. These days it dosn't always happen and I think its a bit of a shame. 

Cotton cap or helmet?


The benefits of spinning a low gear compared to mashing a high gear is often discussed. Putting aside the serious, physiological and mechanical aspects, what cadence you think looks right?

Something in the middle perhaps!

White, black or coloured socks?

White sock I reckon. Unless of course its raining! 

Frame pump or mini pump?

Frame pump. they just work better!

What do you like to talk about when you are on a ride with friends/team/club mates? Do you prefer to keep the subjects lightweight or get your teeth into something contentious or controversial?

On a long ride conversation usually covers everything from  serious / professional level talk to just banter and winding up your mate. 

Who would be/is your perfect tandem partner? Would you ride captain or stoker?

Someone strong so I don't have to pedal for a change. I would steer though - thats a fair deal right?

Which three words best describe you?

Ambitious, Determined, Happy. 

When were/are you most happy?

At home in my garage tinkering with bikes. 

Who would be your guests at your perfect dinner party (dead or alive)?

Selection of friends and family I guess. Theres many people in the limelight that I admire but Id rather leave them alone and not hassle them at a party!

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Something Ive never thought about. Even now that Im thinking about it, I honestly can't think of a reason why I would go back. Im pretty happy living in the present. 

When was the last time you cried?

I honestly can't remember. I had a tear in my eye when the cat died but that was many years ago.

When did you laugh the hardest?

I'm in Canary Wharf right now with the whole team waiting for a race tonight. The boys always make me laugh!

Are you the type of person who likes to have a plan? Or do you prefer to wing it?

I like to have a plan for certain things ( normally important / stressful situations ) but Im happy to wing it for most situations. 

If you could edit your past, what would you change?

Not much, making mistakes is part of life. 

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

Im pretty happy. But perhaps a little bit more free time to relax would be useful some days.


Images courtesy of Rapha Condor-JLT. 

Leave a comment