From the mountains to the roads, the second instalment of our EDR series gives us a look at the life of someone who very rarely sits still. He's either running, swimming or riding a bike in preparation for Ironman or the variety of events he competes in.
This time, we’re talking to Lewis Bradley.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hey! I'm Lewis, an ex-semi-professional mountain biker who is trying his best to compete in the world of Triathlon. I’m 26 and currently work for the local health board. As I live in South Wales, I love hilly routes and long seafront runs.
How and when did you get into riding?
I was around the age of 12 when I first got into riding, my father and his friend took me to Afan to do the ‘Y Wall’ which was an eye opener for me (as well as my father). My shoddy hardtail was in bits after one loop and the V brakes didn’t work by the end of the ride! But I was hooked! It became a regular Sunday ride for me and my father.
Since then, cycling has shaped everything in my life. From family holidays to the type of person I am today.
What are the best and worst things about riding?
The best thing about riding is taking in the surroundings and what is not accessible by other modes of transport, it’s very easy to miss them in a car or when you have to stick to a path.
When mountain biking, I love exploring new singletrack and finding new locations to ride. On the road bike, I love finding the longest hills and having an incredible view at the top. A good coffee stop isn’t bad either...My favourite (Monty’s Neath) is a good stop when I have finished.
The worst thing is definitely the clean up after finishing a ride. Having to clean a dirty bike and handwash muddy clothes isn’t the best when it’s cold and wet outside! I’m normally hungry at this point too! I think the other is winter, the dark nights mean I’m mostly on Zwift during the week to do my training instead of being riding in the fresh air.
Tell us about your most memorable ride to date?
I will split this question into road a mountain biking:
Road: It has to be the bike on Ironman Wales, the support was immense. The 112-mile route was littered with spectators from start to finish, with every hill being easier with people shouting your name. It was truly epic.
Mountain bike: It has to be a trail in Les Arc called ‘La Varda’. It’s about an hour ride from the highest chairlift which takes some epic scenery before you get to the start of the trail. It’s a rough, rocky and open singletrack which is a ‘bucket list’ trail in Europe. The first time it took us an hour to ride it as it was so technically demanding. It took me three attempts (and holidays) to do a full run without stopping.
What's the best piece of riding advice you've ever been given?
‘Enjoy the opportunities you are given, and go out and do it if you want to’ - Something like that, my parents said that to me before I travelled around Europe.
What do you bring with you on every ride?
I always take two items, my phone in an emergency and an energy bar as a ‘just in case’ situation if I feel like I am bonking (even on the smallest of rides).
I cannot stress enough about having ‘What3Words’ on your phone. I have used it for others on multiple occasions and can give the emergency services an exact location of where you are.
When someone asks what kit you recommend, you say?
The most you can afford. It’s very difficult to recommend kit, but I try to push people to spend the maximum amount of their budget on good value kit.
On the mountain bike. A MIPS helmet, riding glasses, knee pads and gloves are a must. People will spend the maximum amount of their budget on the bike but will buy the cheapest MTB protection possible which normally leads to disaster. When buying a new bike, you should always buy a good kit as you will normally try and push yourself to the limit.
On the road bike, again a MIPS helmet is a must and bright coloured clothing is necessary when riding on the road. I try to stay away from black in the winter as it is hard for drivers to see. Also, spend money on a good rear light...It could save your life.
A good lock (that's where LITELOK comes into it) could make a huge difference and put people off trying to steal your bike. All my bikes are locked at all times when I’m not riding and I also take my LITELOK X1 with me in the car when I drive to ride somewhere just in case. The number of bikes stolen from bike parks/cafe stops is eye-watering.
How do you keep your bikes secure at home and on the go? Share your best tips to help others keep their bikes safe.
When at home, my bikes are locked to a ground anchor using multiple Liteloks. The building is locked, alarmed and bikes are covered to give thieves the least possible chance to get at my bikes.
When I’m out, I have an X1 in the car at all times as a backup if I’m at a busy bike park or need to lock my bike in the car (tip: rear door hand holder of the car can be used to lock D lock to lock to a wheel with a thru-axle). I then pair this with a Knog Scout Bike tracker as a just in case if my bike does get stolen, but it has a loud alarm which I can set if I’m going into a café or shop.
What's on your riding bucket list?
I still haven’t been to Whistler, it's the mecca of mountain biking so it’s definitely on the list. I don’t really want to go for the bike park, I want to go for the Heli-drop and long rides out of the park to the secret/loamy trails. If I’m going all that way, I want to do it right and go for at least two weeks.
In triathlon, I want to crack the Sub12 hour for a full Ironman. I was close at Ironman Wales (Tenby), so it’s definitely achievable. But this won’t be for a long time due to the amount of time you have to dedicate to training. If you want to see how I get on, follow me on Youtube.