The latest in our regular series of profiles of riders of Pashley and Moulton bicycles.
Tell us a little about yourself
I love being outdoors, exploring nature and pushing myself. I grew up and spent most of my life near the Mediterranean Sea. So naturally, I particularly like water. Open water swimming, surfing and paddle boarding are my main passions. Nowadays, I am very lucky to live in the beautiful city of Bath. We live near beautiful countryside, rivers, brooks, canals and lakes. North Devon and Wales are not too far for the occasional ocean surfing trip.
When I am on land, which is most of the time, I love cycling. I used to love time trials and triathlons. But I got bored of measuring everything. After more than 10 triathlons and other events, I prefer to go for long riding adventures and experience the world around me, not the heart rate monitor, a stopwatch, or a speedometer. But next year I plan to enter a multisport event that combines paddle-boarding, mountain biking and trail running.
What are you passionate about?
My three passions are innovation, proud craftsmanship and unconventional thinking. I am particularly passionate about innovative products that go beyond engineering or technology. Designers that found a new way to create experiences that better people’s life. When engineering and deep understanding of people’s behaviour is blended with the courage to challenge conventional thinking paradigms really valuable and wonderful things can happen. My spaceframe Moulton bike is a great example. Dr Alex Moulton challenged the concept of a diamond frame and the standard sizes of bike wheels. Remember, the first practical application of a diamond frame was the Rover bike – which was introduced in the 1880s – and hasn’t changed to this day! The Moulton frame is stronger, more comfortable and more agile. Fundamental questions about bike design were challenged to the core, like the relationship that stiffness has to trade-offs between power transfer and comfort. So, when you add to this my passions, namely, beautifully crafted artefacts that are made by artisans who love their work, and unconventional thinking you can see why I ride a Moulton.
What do you do for a living?
I am a business psychologist with a focus on enterprise systems design. I’m the managing director of Tobias & Tobias, a digital innovation consulting firm in the City of London. We focus on the design and engineering of new digital products and services. Our main clients are large investment banks, asset management firms and insurance companies. Organisations that have one common underlying theme to what they do, they manage risks. Our role is to challenge their thinking, and create new models, new services and innovate. I guess you can tell, my passion for great design goes beyond my choice of bike, and has an impact on my day job too!
What is your earliest cycling memory?
My earliest cycling memory is my father’s on-going refusal to buy me a bike. My father is an amputee and the major accident that he has had, made him more anxious about risks and incidents than average Joe. Eventually, my grandfather bought me a British racing green bike with white balloon tyres. My dad was not impressed but cooperated. As soon as my dad took the stabilisers off, I was gliding and cruising the full distance of our street and felt very happy. I was hooked. Although I was five years old, I can still feel this sensation now. In fact, I still feel this happiness whenever I negotiate sharp corners or go downhill. Uphill, well, not so much. I had a few more bikes afterwards, before I got my first dream bike when I was 10, a red Raleigh Chopper. A few months later I crashed it into a wall, racing downhill, and suffered from a broken leg, and stitches in various parts of my body. Even worse, the bike was a total loss. My father made sure that I did not have another bike, until a few years later…
What bike are you riding?
Most of the time I ride a Moulton TSR. It is a special edition, painted in Land Rover Camel Trophy, with offroad tyres and all sorts of adventure and gravel upgrades. The Traditional Cycle Shop created my bike as a special for the Eroica Britannia race event. They didn’t want to sell it, so I had to use an arsenal of psychological techniques and persuasion tactics. In the end they kindly agreed, on condition that they can keep it in the showroom until the race starts. I raced the event on board my new Moulton, enjoying the full suspension and massive range of gears. Whilst my riding mate Simon got his bones properly shaken. For me the cobblestones and gravel roads were transformed into a Persian carpet. The Moulton was also great at climbing the steep Derbyshire hills, and for the majority of the race I maintained that my new friend Moulton and I were going so fast that we were in fact unbeatable. Well, until a tall and slender gentleman on a vintage diamond frame race bike smoked us. The white sign on the back of his Jersey didn't have a number, like all other riders, but instead it read ‘MILLAR’…
How many bikes do you own?
I have an Italian vintage bike. It was built in 1982 and it still has its original Rosso Corsa Ferrari red paint. I use it on sunny Sundays, going for long rides. In most cases I combine the ride with a stop outside of a narrow boat that someone converted into a floating tea house, on the Avon and Kenneth Canal, half way between Bath and Bradford Upon Avon. Thinking about their Victoria sponge cake keeps me going. I also have a simple mountain bike that I thrash around trails, forests, and mud.
Are you sure you don’t have any more bikes?
Of course I have more bikes. I have a cyclocross bike that I built myself and made out of bits and pieces that I collected over the years, and an old folding bike that I bought 17 years ago and keep in my office in London.
What is your dream bike?
I love cycling more than bikes. So my dream is to be able to ride until I am extremely old and frail. I am very happy with my current rides. But if I had to dream, I would request a Moulton Double Pylon New Series, made from Titanium and equipped with Campagnolo Super Record. That bike does not exist of course. So a stainless steel frame with the above specifications will do me fine. Perhaps I could have it in a Bugatti Blue and stainless steel combo. Hmm… I don’t think my father will be very impressed.