Local Riders Q&A - Hugh Carthy

Born in 1994 in Preston, Hugh Carthy is a British racing cyclist with a bright future. In 2014 he won the Tour of Korea stage racing in the colours of Condor-JLT before joining the Spanish Team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA until 2017. He now rides for UCI WorldTeam EF Education First and has been on the start line for the 2016 Vuelta  and the 2017 Giro. 
This year saw Hugh race an amazing Giro d'Italia finishing 11th overall (+16' 36") and hung-out with the favourites in the mountains, including an epic wet assent of The Mortirolo; thus proving he can mix it up with the best and perform on the biggest stage races in the world. 
Many thanks to Hugh for completing the Mamnick quiz
As a racing cyclist, which results are you most proud of and why?
Any good result after a set back or low point really. Back in the summer of 2015 I was racing Volta Portugal for Caja Rural and was at a low ebb and felt totally out of my depth and like I was in the wrong line of work. It was stinking hot and the peloton was so fast and intimidating. I started the race with a stomach bug and I’d had a few injuries mid way through the season and I just wasn’t returning to the level I knew I was capable of being at. I persevered and finished the race. I raced in The United States a week later and had my stand out result of the season, I was on a massive high and it gave me massive confidence and belief that success is always around the corner as long as you persevere and keep doing things right. That experience keeps me going even now when things don’t seem to be going well.
Which are your favourite stretches of road to ride on locally and what is it that you like about them?
I don’t go back “home” to Preston all that much these days but when I do I always head to the Trough of Bowland, in particular the stretch between Whitewell and Scorton. I always think it’s at its best midweek, in the rain on a really grim day. No Sunday’s drivers, barely any other cyclists. Just me, the sheep and farmers. Last Christmas I was back home for 8 days I think I rode through “The Trough” 6 times.
In Lancashire, there’s a local legend called Randy Allsop. He rode in the Olympics in ‘72 in the team time trial. He always did the same training ride every day, even in recent years. People asked him why he did the same ride every day. He always responded, why would I do my second or third favourite ride when I can do my favourite everyday. I liked that.
The same question for roads anywhere in the world?
When I lived in Pamplona I used to like heading into the “Baztan Valley” it was always cloudy and damp even in the middle of summer but enjoyable to ride there nonetheless.
What is your most memorable moment on the bike or involved with cycling?
It’s not a particular moment but a period of my cycling life. When I was young going out on the winter club run on a Sunday. I’d look forward to it all week at school while my mates were looking forward to going to watch Preston North End or play Sunday league. I’d come home late Sunday afternoon in the dark shattered having spent the day with friends, have a hot bath and my tea then try and get all my homework done before I fell asleep.
Has racing affected your relationship with the bike? If so, how?
A lot of the time I don’t go out riding for enjoyment and it can feel like I’m in a rut, always following the numbers and planning routes around what efforts I have to do. I definitely fall out of love with cycling towards the end of the season, but when the season’s done and I ride for fun without a schedule I realise I still feel the same way about the bike as I did when I first started riding years ago. Once I finish racing I like to think I’ll still ride as much as I can.
Do you agree with Mickey Goldmill's advice to Rocky that 'women weaken legs'?
It depends on the woman involved. Some will be a distraction while others will bring the best out of you.
All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you think this is?
Probably because it’s significantly less effort than doing hard training and following a diet. I always enjoyed tinkering with my bikes and “tuning” them. I guess it’s a bit of a hobby for some people too.
Do you approach riding, or ride your bike, differently now to when you first got into cycling?
Primarily I ride to train and prepare for races. Enjoyment, to a degree, is secondary. I still enjoy going out and returning home knackered like before but if training doesn’t go as planned you can come back feeling a bit deflated. Some days it’s good to refresh things and go out with your mates, without numbers or a time schedule and just ride like I used to years ago.
Who has been your favourite pro riders over the years and why?
Before I was a pro I used to love watching the big stars. For me in the mid 2000s Vinokourov was my favourite rider to watch. Since being a pro I respect more the riders that aren’t in the limelight. Imanol Erviti springs to mind. He’s a gentle giant and one of the most respected riders in the bunch. He’s a great racer in his own right and he’s played a big part in many of Movistar’s biggest victories over recent years.
What was you favourite era of professional bike racing?
For me my favourite era was early mid 2000’s when I first started watching pro racing. More brightly coloured jerseys and shorts than now and more “traditional” bikes. It was around the time just before helmets became mandatory so you could identify the riders faces more easily and see the pain and suffering on the climbs.
What is your favorite piece of cycling kit (either something you currently own or have in the past)?
Currently it’s my thick winter training jackets. Now, most of our kit is made to measure and for a tall lanky person like myself that makes a big difference. I give away a lot of my kit after the season but I never give away the thermal training jackets. I hated it when the sleeves were too short in the winter and exposed my wrists to the cold. It’s a nice luxury to have that I appreciate every time I wear one.
What do you think about Strava?
I don’t upload rides personally but I use the app when looking at race routes to find information about climbs etc.
If it gets people out in the fresh air on bikes then it’s not a bad thing but purely going out to beat a certain time or coming home pissed off because you couldn’t beat that time doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve read about blokes falling out about Strava segments which seems a bit sad.
What do you think about Sportive rides?
I like the idea of bringing different people together that wouldn’t normally have met but I don’t agree with the extortionate prices some events charge. Some people taking part need to respect the area they’re riding in a bit more. I remember crossing paths with a sportive locally to me a few years ago and seeing blokes riding five abreast and littering gel wrappers and all sorts at the road side, I didn’t like that and it doesn’t do any good to the reputation of the local cyclists.
Do you have any cycling pet hates?
When I catch and pass a rider I don’t know while out training. I give a polite wave and greeting as I’m passing but get nothing in return only to turn my head around a few minutes later to find them sat in my wheel.
Also when cyclists ride through red lights and generally show no respect to other road users.
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?
No one seems to drink pots of tea at the cafe anymore! All I see cyclists drinking in the cafes now are flat whites and Americanos. For me, tea is the traditional drink of the British club cyclist and I always try and honour that when I’m home.
Cotton cap or helmet?
A few years ago cotton cap, against my parents wishes, but now nearly always a 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?
About 90rpm on the flat, 80rpm on the climbs.
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?
Depends who I’m riding with. With James Knox, for example, we can get our teeth stuck into something trivial and argue for hours on end about it.
When were/are you most happy?
When I’m with like-minded friends, doing something we enjoy, having a laugh without any stress or time restraints.
When did you laugh the hardest?
Recently in the Giro on some of the flat transitional stages we had a good bit of banter between the young British riders. It was mainly me defending myself against their abuse, but we had a good time.
Are you the type of person who likes to have a plan? Or do you prefer to wing it?
Definitely like having a plan.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
Not much, I’ve tried to learn from mistakes I’ve made along the way which have helped me get to where I am today.
All photos provided by Hugh Carthy 
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On Cycling in The Peak District

Adventures From Your Backdoor 
I woke up on Friday thinking about the rise in trendy new independent bike races and long-distance events such as the TransAtlantic, TransConti, Sportifs etc. I gave some consideration as to why I have never done one, nor have any desire to do one (I’m open to having my mind changed on this by the way).
It’s not that I’m looking down my nose at those that partake. But there is so much to explore riding from my house in Sheffield that I don’t have the desire to do one.
Within a 100 mile radius in any direction, but particularly into Derbyshire and the Peak District, there is a network of roads, bridleways and tracks that keeps my interest. Whether I do a couple of hours, an all-day ride or a saddle-bag stop-over.
I must admit, having a knowledge of the lanes and backwacks in the Peak makes planning a ride/route really enjoyable and interesting. Not everyone knows the lanes, but I would advise checking as OS map once in a while, this keeps it interesting. I have also benefited from riding with people who have the same mindset as me and there is no finer feeling than showing someone a new road, or finding a new road together. For none bike-riding readers, I know that might sound a bit weird!
I’ve done a few rides recently on my bike that have been 60% off-road, with the ride starting from the back door (rather than riding main roads to get somewhere first). By using woods, parks and lanes you can make your way out of Sheffield without having to deal with traffic, allowing you to do a 2 hour ride that is peaceful and scenic without never getting more than 15 miles away from the house. Furthermore, you can do two to three days riding in the Peak District without riding the same road and the topology of the land there lends itself to cycling perfectly.
It is an oddity of the times that which we live that there seems to be this desire and fashion to go all the way around the world, but never really paying attention to what's yours in front of you. It reminds of gap-years students that travel the globe to see the famous temples of the far-east but have never visited the beautiful Cathedrals of Europe. It seems odd to go to Siem Reap if you’ve never been to Chartres (or better still, York Minster). Besides, a ride from your door can cost practically nothing, except for perhaps a few quid for a sandwich in the cafe or a pint in a pub. Even if you have responsibilities, you can get out most days if you plan your time well.
I’m not comparing one to the other here, I have enjoyed cycle trips in Portugal, Italy and Mallorca over the years, as well as riding in other parts of the UK. But still, in regards to the essence of the bike, not much compares to routes I can do from my backdoor. This also takes away the frustrations of trying to manage the logistics of planning a trip with the bike that needs air or train travel.
I guess I’m lucky too - all this on my doorstep. I’m going to continue to celebrate it.
Words by Thom Barnett
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The Beeley & Chatsworth Estate

I've explored these parts many times on the road bike, both the road and rough-stuff from the top of Beeley Moor. I've noticed a few footpaths and bridleways that I thought would be worth checking out on foot. 

The influence of Chatsworth house on the surrounding villages of Pilsley, Edensor and Beeley can be felt in this area, for over two centuries Beeley was effectively an estate village belonging to the successive Dukes of Devonshire. 

Many of the properties now have been sold-off but the village pub, The Devonshire Arms, has been brought back into the Duke's control in recent years. Formally three separate cottages, these were knocked together. King Edward VII and Charles Dickens are both said to have stayed there and this is where we started our walk. 

The first part of the route leads up through the plantations, running next to Beeley Brook and Moor Farm, before opening up across the open fields of Beeley Moor. From there you can visit Hob Hurst's House, a Bronze age burial mound named after a mischievous goblin (or giant) which lives in the nearby woods. 

Dropping back down into the woods across Beeley Brook you cross the road and take the bridleway for approx 1 mile, eventually encountering the remains of industry in the woods just beyond Fallinge Farm. As early as the mid-1600s a lead smelting mill has been established on the hillside, fuelled by coal dug from a seam on Beeley Moor. 

Once you leave the woods you cross several fields and across numerous wall stiles,  heading back towards the village. The Devonshire Arms serves Jaipur, or you can nip in The Old Smithy Cafe for homemade cakes and tea. 


Start + Finish ~ Grid Reference SK265676 

All words and photos by Thom Barnett 

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Lathkill Dale & The Limestone Way

“Lathkill is, by many degrees, the purest, the most transparent stream that I ever yet saw either at home or abroad…” ~ Charles Cotton, 1676 

If you park at the Lathkill Hotel at Over Haddon as we did, you can walk down the winding lane to the Lathkill lodge, or you can ride here but you’ll need a change of shoes in your saddle bag, or cycling shoes that are ok for walking (the route is approx 8 miles). 

Before you reach the lodge, you will turn right onto this beautiful limestone dale next to the River Lathkill. Down here, there is a scene of ash trees, growing beneath limestone crags, scree and pastel coloured grassland. You’ll notice the crystal clear stream and if you stop to inspect, you may even spot some darting trout. 

Lead miners came here in the 18th and 19th century, some of the mine caves are still there for you to inspect. They drilled shafts and adits into the rock and built pump houses, aqueducts, waterwheels and even tramways. Due to overseas competition, the price of lead slumped and by 1870, the pistons stopped.

There are remnants of that time here, the Peak District’s industrial past, now surrounded by lush plants. The valley is full of sycamore and ash trees. Amongst them you’ll see the mossy pillars, remains of the aqueduct built to supply water to the Mandale Mine which is close by. You can cross the river in places, a nice bridge allows you to inspect Bateman’s House, the former mining managers dwelling.  

I have since been told that in dry periods of summer, the river disappears completely beneath the bed of limestone to be replaced by purple orchids, cowslips, primrose-like flowers and rock rose. Although, truth be told, I’ve never witnessed it. 

When you exit this twisting valley you will arrive at Monyash. Here you will find a pub ‘The Bulls Head’ and a cafe ‘The Old Smithy’, a popular cycling destination for local riders. The pub once held the miners special Barmote Court. 

The return leg of the walk is along high pastures overlooking the valley that you’ve just walked through, via Cales Dale and Calling Low this is know as the Limestone Way. You can nip through Meadow Place Grange to get back to the lodge where you started your walk. 

If you want to make a weekend of it, there is Haddon Hall nearby, home of the Duke of Rutland. One of the finest and unspoilt medieval manor houses in England and used as a location for countless films and tv drama including Jane Eyre and Price and Prejudice. 

All words by Thom Barnett

Photos by Lulu Watson

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On Racing (And Why I Don't)

For a short time I considered trying my hand at bike racing. This was before I realised how hard racing actually is! Every cyclist must be able to relate to the visions of grandeur that you have when you start getting fit. You start with the bike, you enjoy it, you ride more and more and you get fitter. Then you ask yourself the question “I wonder if I should race?“. 

A good friend told me “Apart from a small number who are good enough to win races and enjoy it, most lads who race do it to prove something to themselves or to others”. It spared me the time, money and embarrassment of turning my bike rides into hard training-rides and pinning a number to my back. I don’t regret never trying. I have still been fortunate enough to ride with some good riders, some proper talent.

The idea of putting the bike in the car at weekends, driving to a race only to get my head kicked-in, all in front of one-man and his dog, does not appeal! When you fantasise about racing your bike, you’re riding the Giro or de Tour, dropping people in the mountains, in the sun. When in reality, you’re more likely to be getting blown out of the back on a dismal circuit in the rain!

Long weekend rides made more sense. Riding with friends who know the etiquette and ‘how to ride’. It made sense then and it still does now. Straight out of the house early, riding all day, side by side, good conversation, great routes exploring new roads, a cafe stop (usually a pub stop!) - halcyon days! 


Having said that, I'm glad there are people with the drive, the talent, the skill and the capacity to suffer, or who want to prove something, who race bikes. Because I  love watching top notch bike races.

I was lucky enough to watch a friend win the best known and most prestigious domestic race on the calendar, Lincoln Grand Prix.

There are some photos I took from that event ~ here 


Words by Thom Barnett / Photos by Nick Newton


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Notes on British Shoes

This year we have released the Buxton chukka boots, a repeat run of our popular Royals and our latest Derby (or Blucher) shoes - the Ashop. In the past we have done an Oxford-cap shoe named Winster and a loafer named Abney as well as the robust and utilitarian Yompin’ boots.

All of the names for our shoes are after places in the Peak District. All have been proudly made in England.

The use of high-quality leather is essential in British shoe manufacturing and all our shoes (apart from our Hibell cyclo-touring shoe) have been manufactured in the mecca of high quality British footwear, Northampton. All of the best known British shoes are made there, although unfortunately now, many ‘supposed’ British brands now outsource their manufacturing to Portugal and India. 

One of the factors that makes British footwear stand out is the tanning process which preserves the leather and due to the water sources that are available in Northampton many shoe-makers opened up close to these tanneries. 

The other detail that makes the construction of our shoes so solid is the Goodyear-welt, which is the dual-stitch reinforcing sole technique that provides resilience in British weather as well as ensuring the shoe will not come apart if and when they need servicing by your local cobbler. 

Another advantage of the Goodyear-welt is that when the sole is replaced, the form of the shoes stays the same so you only have to break your shoes in once.

A pair of Goodyear welted quality British shoes work well with a variety of different looks and styles and are a great investment that will last many years.

To view all of our shoes and boots click ~ here


All words by Thom Barnett

Photography by India Hobson

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We All Start Somewhere

I found this photo attached an old email. 

It was taken by my pal Tim on the 1st of November, 2010. The location is at the top of Ringinglow Road, right before the sign that reads ‘DERBYSHIRE’. The road has since been resurfaced.

I imagine that Tim rode away from me on the climb and then stopped in the lay-by to take the photo as I approached, I don’t remember much about the ride, it was a long time ago. 

I’m wearing some M&S casual shorts over the top of my bib-shorts,  a pair of Nike trainers, Campagnolo cap and a vintage Carrera jersey. 

Back then I was totally clueless about bikes and bike riding etiquette, I owned very little proper cycling kit apart from some vintage jerseys. I was on my first proper road bike ~ T.J. Quick Reynolds 531c frame with some vintage Campagnolo parts which I bought from a friend at the time. 

Andy Mac built the bike up for me it in his garage one Saturday afternoon and I rode it home across town that same evening. I remember it feeling good to ride the bike, to go down hill reasonably fast with the wind on my face. I also remember feeling vulnerable riding on the main road with cars. 

At that time I was 25 years old. This was all before I started Mamnick. 

Since then so much has changed, but finding this photo reminded me of how far I'd come (in bike terms). It reminded me of how hard riding a bike in Peak District can be when you're not fit. 

I get sent messages from people on social media asking for advice of how to “get into cyclingand I never really feel like I can give a adequate response. My first piece of advice is usually - “Buy a cheap bike and see if you like it”

This is the first image I have of me riding a road bike but ironically, some fundamental things have stayed the same. I still ride steel bikes with relatively big gears, with down-tube shifters. I still wear a cotton cap and I still ride on (or near) this road frequently. 

The image got me thinking about how we all start somewhere, and this (is roughly) where I started. 


Word by Thom Barnett


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Fluid Mechanics #5 ~ Michele Bartoli

During the 1997 edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Italian Michele Bartoli broke away with another Italian, Marco Pantani and teammates Alex Zulle and Laurent Jalabert of the ONCE team.

The climbing specialist Pantani was quickly dropped on the flat stretches and the World Champion Johan Museeuw failed to bridge the gap to the leaders by 50 meters.

With 16miles remaining, the breakaway trio had 1min10 on the chase group.

Teammates Zulle and Jalabert attacked one after the other on the Cote Sart Tilman but were unable to drop the Italian. A tired Zulle was dropped after an acceleration by Bartoli in the final kilometres.

As Bartoli and Jalabert approached the finish, Bartoli launched the ultimate attack in the final uphill, dropping Jalabert and claiming his first win in the Ardennes Classic.

Bartoli’s form on the bike, his position out of the saddle is a beautiful spectacle - one of the finest examples of fluid mechanics ~ when man and machine are at one creating some kind of liquid poetry.


Words by Thom Barnett 


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Fluid Mechanics #4 ~ Andrei Tchmil

10th April, 1994. 167.8 miles


Easily recognizable with his signature grimace, old-style helmet, and powerful riding style.

The only cyclist to have four nationalities. A retired Soviet (until 1991), Moldovan (1992–1995), Ukrainian (1995–1998) and Belgian (since 1998).

In an apocalyptic maelstrom of mud, blood, and cobblestones he won alone that day with an advantage of over a minute in front of Fabio Baldato and Franco Ballerini.

Tchmil used Rock Shox Paris~Roubaix SL suspension folks which subsequently  launched an 'ad-blitz' for the product. 

The race time that day was 7h 28' 02"

At the age of 31 Andrei Tchmil took his first and only victory at The Hell of The North.

All words by Thom Barnett 

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