I thought up hundreds of potential names for the blog, from On The Rivet, to Saddle Sore to Greg Lemond's Dirty Shorts - all were taken already. (Actually I just made Greg Lemond's Dirty Shorts up, wish I'd thought of it then!)
Then, from the ether, it came to me: CrankPunk. 'I crank,' I thought to myself, 'and I am a bit of a punk, so... CrankPunk..?'
And that was that. CrankPunk was born.
Featured in CycleSport magazine 2012
I started racing originally over two decades ago, in 1987 at age 15. Stephen Roche got me, on La Plagne, Stage 17. Hook, line and sinker.
I was a 15 year old and loving racing, and wanted to ride Le Tour, as we all did I am sure, but then walked away from cycling altogether when I was 18. I found it hard to contemplate the years of hard work it’d take even if I was to scrape a bare living from the sport, and I also wanted to travel the world, but there was one other component in the mix - I eventually came to see no real future for myself in what I’d gradually discovered was a drug-addled sport. My generation was that of the true EPO era, and all I can say on that is that I am glad I never had to make those same choices that so many riders of my generation did – though maybe, when I walked away, I already had.
I came back to the sport in Japan (where i lived for a decade) 19 years later, at 36, after having bough a Trek 1000 as a way to lose some weight, but the competitive juices returned and I won my first race about two months later. I hadn't ridden a bike further than the corner shop in all the intervening years and yet here I was again, buying lycra and shaving my legs once again.
Suddenly i was racing wherever I could and doing well enough, within about 18 months from my return, to get a spot on a Continental team to race in the UCI Asia Tour.
I’m not sure but I may have been the oldest neo-pro in the history of the sport, and certainly was the oldest in the peleton when I raced in the 2012 Tours of Oman and Qatar.
Highlights have been many, but basically I loved racing again and challenging myself to improve, and every ride, even now, still feels like a gift.
Interviewed at the Tour of Oman 2012
I won the Singapore Road Race National Championships in 2010 and the TT champs in 2011 and 2013, and raced in five or six post-Tour de France criteriums in 2012, against guys like Cavendish, Andy Schleck and Samuel Sanchez around cities like Heerlen and Maastricht with 20,000 mad Dutchmen cheering us on. I raced all over Asia in fascinating places like Sumatra and East Java, China and Brunei, smiling all the way through the pain.
2012 was perhaps my best year, surviving Oman and Qatar and then going on to win the Points Classification in the 2.1 Tour de Taiwan, which featured 3 World Tour teams. Later in the year I managed second at the 2.2. Tour de East Java.
I felt like that guy who is sat in the crowd in that movie when the last pitcher gets injured, he raises his hand when the manager shouts out if anyone ever played ball. I raised my hand, got the kit on and lived out my teenage dreams, years after I'd first had them.
I eventually went off-road when I finally got back on an MTB after a couple of decades off. I trained on it for two weeks then went and did an easy little race to ease back in, the 7-day, 1000km Mongolia Bike Challenge. Now that was a ride!
A lot of folk now think 'doping' when they think of crankpunk.com (I launched the blog as the Armstrong palava was gathering pace) and I sincerely wish that it wasn't the case, just as i wish that the sport was cleaner than it is. But it ain’t. However, there’s a whole lot more to the new crankpunk.com.
I retired from racing at the end of 2016 and so far don't miss it. But you never know, last time it was 19 years off, maybe I'll get back to it sooner next time!
Since 2013 I've been a cycling coach, loving this job, and now am the official coach for the Mongolia Bike Challenge, the Taiwan KOM Challenge, the Taiwan Cyclist Federation and the phenomenon that is Everesting. I am also the Communications Director for the Mongolia Bike Challenge and the KOM.
Soon me and my partners Tim Smith of GS Astuto and former World Champion Emma Pooley will be launching our new wheel brand, Sense Composites.
Funny to think how a Trek 1000 brought all this about!
Thank you for reading, it's very much appreciated.
1. A device for transmitting rotary motion, consisting of a handle or arm attached at right angles to a shaft
2. A clever turn of speech; a verbal conceit: quips and cranks. 3. A peculiar or eccentric idea or action
a. A young [or old] person, especially a member of a counterculture group. b. An inexperienced man.
2. Punk rock.
I often talk about 'feel' and 'flow' and it is one that is facilitated by better communication between mind and body. With CPCS we re-establish that link.
CrankPunk Limited is the consultancy side of CrankPunk.com and provides the following services:
Partnering with CrankPunk Limited offers great opportunities for your brand, event or service to reach out to the international cycling community, to people that truly care about this wonderful sport of ours and are committed bike riders. The idea isn't to set up a brand or service to fleece these good folk, but for the providers of good, solid things to connect with the people that require them.
I don't promote products nor services that either don't work or that I have not tested personally.
Whether you are looking for greater understanding of the emerging Asian cycling scene and its markets, to connect with manufacturers in Taiwan and China, to find the right riders and teams to sponsor, to advertise your products or to get products tested, or for a writer for promotional material, CrankPunk.com is the ideal place to start.
The combination of my racing and event organising experience aligned with my work both as a journalist and as a brand owner and facilitator, as well as being based in the Silicone Valley of the bicycle manufacturing world, Taichung, means that I have the right connections to get things done.
If you are an event organiser and wish to take your race or sportif to the next level, CrankPunk Limited is available to advise on how to attract sponsors, increase participant numbers and can offer other services such as website design and communications management.
Currently I am:
Please email me at email@example.com with any enquiries.
Not only is he Flaandrian, his last name (really) is Guns. How can a combination like that ever fail?!...
Thanks to Bruce Swales, resident of Singapore and member of the ANZA cycling club, for this great testimonial for Crank Punk Coaching Systems!...