Author: Olly Moors
Location: United Kingdom
Occupation: Professional cyclist
I got into cycling when I was very young. I was 3 years old or so when I first rode a bike, and, if I remember correctly, for my 10th birthday I was given my first road bike. To this day I would say that it is probably one of the best presents that I’ve ever received. My dad had a big influence on getting me into the sport, but he was never overly pushy or involved with it. He just wanted me to enjoy riding for what it was and never minded if I won or lost. In hindsight, I think that’s one of the main reasons I now have such a healthy relationship with cycling.
2) Did you continue to study or work whilst you were coming up through the junior and U23 ranks?
When I left college I had no desire to go to university. My only dream and goal was to race bikes and to try and make a career out of it. In 2017, after spending a couple of seasons racing in the US and Belgium, I decided to enrol in the Open University and started a Sports Fitness and Coaching degree. I am currently in my last module of that and will graduate in the not-too-distant future. It was definitely an important thing for me to do as I knew I wouldn’t be able to live this lifestyle forever.
3) You’ve raced both in the UK and in Europe. Where has been your favourite place to race? Also, where is your favourite place to ride your bike and why?
I raced in the UK a lot when I was younger and then, as I mentioned, moved abroad to race. For me, my favourite place to race is Belgium. They have an unwritten ‘no-nonsense’ policy. It’s truly passionate racing and it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. The racing comes from the heart and Belgians are notorious for giving 100% from the moment the gun goes off. I guess that has rubbed off on me a bit because I now understand where the passion for putting my body on the line really comes from. Racing there as an independent rider taught me so much more than my years spent in the UK peloton. There are so many young riders who miss out on ‘braving it’ abroad and don’t really understand what it is like to be an independent bike rider and to have to constantly look out for yourself. I would say that this set me up very well for what came next and, therefore, I’m eternally grateful for those tough years.
My favourite place to ride a bike, however, is undoubtedly Mallorca. The roads are beautiful and the views are stunning. You are also spoilt for choice when it comes to mixing it up between flat roads and mountain passes; so for road racers it really is paradise.
4) You’ve become a big name on the Zwift scene in the UK. How and why did you first get into riding Zwift?
I wouldn’t say I’m a big name but I’m definitely enjoying it! I got into it big time during lockdown when we first went under. I would mix endurance rides of 3-4hrs in the morning with a zwift race in the evening. I love the focus it gives me and the fact that Zwift races require the same mental approach as normal racing. The races are full gas and sometimes so hard that you just want to stop, but I’d be lying if I said that a small part of me doesn’t enjoy that suffering element. I think it’s really important for bike riders to be able to mentally adapt to different styles of racing, and that’s arguably one of the reasons that Zwift has ended up becoming so popular.
5) You recently made it to the finals in the Zwift Academy. How did it go and how did you find the experience of racing virtually in front of so many people?
It was an amazing experience to make it to the final when over 125,000 people went in for the pro contract. It was a tough week of different challenges and the final races were particularly arduous. I was far from on what I would call my ‘top form’, but I certainly have no regrets and it was very special to make it that far.
6) You’ve experienced most aspects of racing and spent a long period of your life riding and racing. How has cycling positively impacted your life?
To be honest cycling is all I know these days. It was my first real passion and I wake up every day thinking about my bike. I am at the point in my life where I just love riding my bike, and if it helps me to avoid having a desk job, then that’s an added bonus.
Cycling has positively impacted my life to a degree that I can’t really explain. It’s my life and a day doesn’t pass without a bike somehow being involved. Over time I’ve also come to understand that bike racing can sometimes be taken way too seriously. People forget what made them fall in love with the sport in the first place. I remember how it all happened for me, and that gives me the added drive and motivation needed to move closer to my goals. The moment you lose that love, you lose yourself on the bike.
An early start but an instant love
Passionate, no nonsense racing - Belgium, 2018
Chasing dreams in the Saudi Tour, 2020
Zwift Academy Finalist, 2020