Local Riders Q&A - Mike Cuming

Mike Cuming is a professional racing cyclist currently riding for Rapha Condor JLT. He was born in Macclesfield and started riding at the age of 15 with his local club, Macclesfield Wheelers. 

At Condor-JLT he has been developing into one the countries top riders, winning some great races including the National Under 23 Road Race in 2012 and the Tour of Korea, following in his dad’s footsteps (David Cumin) to be one of three British riders to ever win a national tour. 

He is also an avid Liverpool FC fan! 


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

My results that I'm most proud of are probably my Tour of Korea win in 2013 which was a shock to me and probably everyone else. Then this year I won Stage 5 in the same race (Korea) having had surgery on a broken collarbone 3 1/2 weeks beforehand from a small group.

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

Its’ a busy road but probably the Cat & Fiddle. It’s probably the road that made me want to become a cyclist when i was younger. My dad took me up there and i loved it (even though he dropped me).

The same question for roads anywhere in the world?

Probably a road in Tenerife that I call Masca Climb. It’s absolutely epic. You climb nearly 500m in 3.5k. You've been climbing all day and when you get to the top the view is absolutely ridiculous, in a good way. 

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

Probably winning the U23 National Road Race. I’d never won anything big and to win that was decent.

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

Defiantly sometimes you feel like a robot. Just training and racing and for me this year I’ve had 4 crashes, 3 of which I’ve broken a bone or dislocated something, so I have felt like throwing my bike in the garbage a few times. Times like that I just forget about training and just go out and enjoy myself on the bike. Ride where i want, how long/hard I want and just enjoy it. Stop at the cafe as many times i want.

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

No! If lots of women came to watch a race I’d try extra hard to impress her (not enough women watch bike races in my opinion, thats why i never win!)

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?

I think it’s obviously a good thing. I think after Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 it peaked. I remember doing the Tour of Britain and it was absolutely mental. The only negative is that Britain is so busy that so many cars and so many bikes on the roads only leads to more and more accidents. We haven't got the same cycling structure as Holland or Belgium or France, one that fully accepts it and I personally don't think we ever will.

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

I like to make sure it’s not ridiculously heavy but i always think if you've got the legs, you've got the legs. If i obsess about weight, it’s normally my own weight.

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

Now it’s a little more of a job and you change your riding style to suit, but generally I just enjoy riding and racing, like always.

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

Sean Kelly - Hard as F***!  / Miguel Indurain - Road to his strengths well and well calculated / Frank Vandenbrock - Wins races with his mouth shut / Carlos Sastre - Quiet and relaxed / Andreas Kloden - Keeps his head down and says nothing in the press, just rides his bike / Phillipe Gilbert -  I love his attacking style / Peter Kennaugh - He looks so classy on a bike / Alejandro Valverde - He can do everything and makes it look good / Steve Cummings - Because he sits at the back.

What was you favourite era of professional bike racing?

That’s a difficult one. I like the 90’s / 2000’s because of the amount of absolutely ridiculous attacks that had you saying, time and time “That was unbelievable!”, which in some cases they were! I like the scene right now where your starting to see riders cracking rather than attacking and it looks a lot more painful.

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

Yeah he looks cool. He has a beautiful style on the bike. He pulls it off well.

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

Clip-on mudguards for me.

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

I always have a cafe stop, if I’m not soaking wet.

Assos, Rapha or neither?

Rapha! :)

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

Rapha Pro-Team winter jacket. When the temperature drops, she comes out to play.

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?

if I’m by myself i don’t mind just cruising on a main road but if I’m with company its gotta be down little lanes. I never go on rough stuff on the road bike.

What do you think about Strava?
I have it and sometimes I put a ride up but I don't use it regularly. I think its a good idea i suppose, people will always find it interesting to compare themselves to others.

!What do you think about Sportive rides?

I get the sportive rides like the Etape, Liege and the big italian granfondos where you can ride closed roads and safely over famous roads. But I’m not a massive fan of them in the UK. I can see why people do them, as sort of something to aim for.

Do you have any cycling pet hates?

Other cyclists not waving back when your out training.

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?

I don’t know really, when I was younger i used to go out on a lot of chain-gangs and group-rides but I don’t see that many anymore. Maybe because of the amount of cars. I’d like to see more of it. 

Cotton cap or helmet?

Cotton cap.

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?

I reckon anywhere between 90-100rpm looks about right. You see some people hauling over a massive gear all day and I think “your gonna give yourself a hernia mate”, or spinning at 130rpm, “your gonna rip a tendon mate!”

White, black or coloured socks?

White socks, brand new white socks. Every ride!

Frame pump or mini pump? 

Mini pump

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?

I normally keep it fairly light, maybe talk about our last race, have some jokes. I’m not a very controversial bloke.

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

I’d be the stoker and I’d have Scarlett Johansson as captain!

Which three words best describe you?

Laid back, works hard, jokes about !

Did you used to listen to music before a race? If so, did you have a favourite tune or playlist? 

I’m a varied music fan, before a race I'm into rap/hip hop (M.O.P, Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z) maybe some dance/house music. After the race it’s onto Bob Dylan, Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys.

When were/are you most happy?

This year in the Tour of Korea at the end of the race singing karaoke on our bus on the way home. Hugh Carthy won the race overall, Rich Handley won a stage and spent a day in the yellow jersey; both close friends of mine. I had won a stage. It was the perfect trip.

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

Will Ferrell, make for a funny meal. We would go out into town after - Frank the Tank!

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

I’d go back to 2005 and buy tickets to watch lLiverpool FC in the Champions League final.

When was the last time you cried?

Not that long ago actually. I was struggling with form and not sleeping at all and i went to France for a stage race, i was so tired i fell ill. I did 10k of the first stage, threw my bike in the grass and just sat there waiting for the broom wagon, then fell asleep in there. I travelled home, went for coffee with Felix and burst into tears. Tiredness, feeling shit for so long and getting my head kicked-in at every race felt horrible.

When did you laugh the hardest?

It was probably the same afternoon when my house mate (Felix English) probably asked me some outrageous question or made some outrageous comment. Theres really isn’t a day when i have a mouthful of tea that it goes everywhere because I'm laughing!

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

Wing it

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

I’d try harder in school. (Stay in school kids)

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

An Xbox 1 and FIFA15.

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