Andrew Melbourne

Name : Andrew Melbourne

Age : 23

Andrew Melbourne joined the club just under a year ago. Like many, he joined the club after moving to London and a diet of commuting. Within no time was cycling in the Alps, riding a flash bike and doing his first century ride.

Date you joined the Club : October 2005.

Why did you join Kingston Wheelers? I was based at Imperial College until last year, and was regularly cycling out into Surrey via Kingston so once I left, I thought it was about time I joined a proper club and the Wheelers were first on my list. Cycling out of London also makes commuting more bearable.

What made you start cycling? I have vague memories of winning a blue BMX in a competition in a local newspaper before I could ride on two wheels, I guess that must have kick-started me since my bikes have become progressively more expensive since!

Give us a brief cycling backgroundI started when my Dad introduced me to Le Tour on Channel 4 and imagining that I could paste the pros on my local hills in Devon, it took a while for me to realise that this was unlikely so I must have been quite young! I ran probably the fastest paper-round in the south-west, sprinting up and down the high-street against friends with a sack full of newspapers, but never managed to join a club while I was busy doing other sports. Later, I started taking my bike out 'village-hopping' seeing where I could go on the quiet Devon roads after school and eventually bought my Raleigh R100 for £300 which has been going strong for nearly six years now, although a fair few components have been replaced! It recently became my commuting bike after the arrival of my Cervelo.

What bike do you ride? I ride a Cervelo Soloist Team, if I could afford the new carbon version I would ride that! It also moonlights as my TT bike. I love the aero-frame shape of the Cervelos although the relative difference in aerodynamics with me sat on top must be miniscule!

What was your best performance? I rode my first century this year in Snowdonia, but I was surprised how easy the last 20miles felt given a bad patch at around 60miles. I also rode the Col d'Galibier this July from the foot of the Col d'Telegraph in about 2.5hrs (on a hire bike, Jenny gave me a choice of either taking my Cervelo or watching le Tour live!). The Col is a monster and the air is definitely thinner at the top, maybe I'll put off the Marmotte cyclosportif for a while...

What was your worst day on the bike : I had an abysmal club run this winter, straight after Christmas having been off the bike for a bit too long, I decided to do a longer ride which ended up going over Horseblock Hollow, I was crawling over the top on 30x25 and stayed this way all the way to Dorking station for an easy (and warm) train ride home. I've never been so cold, wet, tired and hungry all at once.

Who is your favourite pro or inspiration : Beyond individuals, I'm always impressed by the spectacle and history of the Tour de France and how it transcends its riders. Having said that the achievements of Eddy Merckx are incredible, I was reading the other day how he was expected to finally break the 50km barrier in the Hour Record, but missed out. Not because he wasn't able, but because he wanted to set the records for 10km and 20km on the way! I also remember being in awe of the fragile heroics of Marco Pantani in the mid-nineties.

What is your favourite race food : For the sportifs I've done I can't get enough flapjack, the flapjack at the top of Box Hill is solely responsible for my improving times! For longer rides I snack on energy bars which keep my energy levels up and my hunger levels down.

Where is your favourite cycling location : It's a toss up between the Alps and the Pyrenees, both have their charm, but the foothills of the Pyrenees are full of beautiful long empty roads (get there in sunflower season), quiet villages and rustic chateaux, plus the weather is normally superb.

Most likely to say : "Let's ride up that mountain!"

Least likely to say : "Let's do it again!"