The Worst Rider – What’s it all about?

Welcome to The Worst Rider, one cyclist’s journey from anonymity to further anonymity.

If you haven’t already scanned through the brief overview of TWR from the Kilometre Zero introduction, here’s the general idea: I want to race bikes.

And not just on spreadsheet-based computer simulations against occasionally questionable AI. But against real people.

There’s a problem, though: I’m crap at cycling.

It feels redundant to try to establish ‘credentials’ at this point, as I simply don’t have any, but I’ve been a cyclist in some shape or form since I was a teenager, and a fan of the pros for about as long. Despite this, largely as a result of being involved in other sports, I have never entered a race and, at the time of writing, have a single sportive to my name.

I am, however, a rookie club cyclist with delusions of mediocrity. If you enjoy being bored, here’s a link to my Strava, which I only joined in September this year, and a screengrab of recent activity to give you a rough idea of my level.

Note: My Strava profile was only created in September 2018. Hence the relatively low ride-frequency, etc., for the year.

So what? Well, as I wander towards the foothills of the Mountains of MAMILdom – I’m 32, so the highest peaks of that infernal range are beginning to loom – I intend to work towards becoming a competitive amateur rider either in 2019 or 2020, a desperately sad and humiliating journey you’ll be able to follow here.

The only aim in my ‘career’ will be to avoid finishing rock-bottom in the lowest tier of racing in Ireland. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t fancy my chances of achieving even that.

I’m not entirely sure how to go about the whole process. I’m not even sure it’s a realistic aim given the financial commitments it’s likely to involve: I’m neither poor nor rich, but I certainly don’t have an abundance of cash to spare, so this will be racing on a budget. If I even get that far.

The only thing I know is that I want to try. And so I’ve decided for reasons unclear even to myself that it might be a bit of a laugh to record what’s sure to be a thoroughly humbling, embarrassing and probably painful voyage.

I’ve had a look at the Strava profiles and times of racing cyclists in my club and beyond, and it’s fair to say I’m just not even operating in the same universe at the moment. If I’m to be anything other than the lanterne rouge in every race I enter, a lot needs to be done.


  • Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll be putting together a more concrete plan for how this is all going to work.

  • I’ll also provide more information about myself, my aims and all the rest. Keep an eye on TWR in that regard.

Follow me onStrava

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Writer featured in/on FourFourTwo, Guardian, The Set Pieces, Sports Illustrated, R&K, TFT, Nightwatchman, World Soccer, Pickles, Cricketworld and more. Twitter: @HeavyFirstTouch