By Pan Pan Fan
Nicola Hamilton (or “Nik”) is our free-spirited rider who has – along with her natural talent in cyclocross riding – additional cycling skills such as bike mechanics, couriering, and touring. I’ve had the pleasure of being terrified while sitting on Nik’s wheel as she zipped through busy London streets, enjoyed cold rainy rides with her and discussing our adventures in cycling, and of course, learned about the evils of McDonald’s through her experience with healthy, clean eating.
Here’s our question and answer session:
When did you first ride a bike?
Down a hill at my cousins’ in Scotland…I thought they were holding on
to the back of me, but they weren’t…there was a bush…
What got you into cycling?
Moving to London 3 years ago, I started cycling heaps. But, it was a cycle tourist that came through my village in Scotland who had cycled an ‘astounding’ 50 miles that day that made me realise there was more to biking than getting to work. So, I started cycling to the next village which takes you over the highest pass in Britain. It was fun.
You’ve worked as a courier before – what was that experience like? Best memories? Worst memories?
It was wicked fun, and it was nice being really fit all the time. I’ll probably never be in such good shape again. Seeing a whole new side to London and really feeling like you are part of it was fantastic. I didn’t do it long enough to have bad memories. [Although, I’ll add that Nik did admit to holding onto the back of buses emitting air pollution, as a way to keep warm during the winter. I’d take that as a negative memory, but she’s probably a far more positive person than me.]
What made you interested in bike mechanics?
I took my bike apart when I lived in Scotland because I had nothing else to do. I felt impressed. Then, I moved to London a while later and met a guy who showed me how to build wheels. The rest is history.
What is your favorite moment touring? Funniest moment?
It was reaching the top of the Grimsel Pass in Switzerland and realising I had cycled higher than I had ever climbed, then realising that I had to go down!!! Also, the last 89kms into Cairo were great, especially learning how to fight with an HGV for space on the sandy road without a car horn.
What are you looking forward to in the upcoming season?
I’m looking forward to the chance to try everything out, and see what I like. I am excited to get even more inspired by the other people I am meeting in the cycling world who like their bikes.
What is your favorite non-cycling activity?
Climbing, drawing comics or hiking, but I don’t really do anything but ride
bikes very often.
What’s your favorite food?
After ten years of veganism? Venison, mashed potatoes and savoy cabbage and kale with a glass of soya milk.