As an Olympic and Commonwealth gold medallist on the track and a key member of Team Sky’s collective on the road, Geraint Thomas knows, and loves, his bikes. He also knows what it’s like to have an expensive one stolen.
“I’ve had a couple of bikes nicked, actually,” he says. “The worst one was when I left my TT bike in the back of my car that was parked round at one of my mate’s houses in south Manchester. When I came I out later that night I’d noticed that the back window had been smashed and the bike was gone and that was it. It was brand new TT bike, so that was expensive, too!”
As more and more of us are getting on our bikes, for leisure or as means of travelling to work, Thomas says bike theft is something to be wary of. “With more people cycling there will be more bikes around and therefore more theft. The more people have bikes, the more likely they are to get nicked.”
Thomas’ answer to this problem? He says insurance is vital, and has become an ambassador for insurance provider Protect Your Bubble, who will insure bikes worth up to £8,000.
“Once you experienced something like that you don’t want it to happen again. I’m lucky that I get given the bikes, but if you’ve gone out and spent thousands of pounds on a bike, you have no insurance and it gets nicked it’s devastating.”
Thomas’ advice seems particularly pertinent given that the “golden age of cycling” is still in full swing. The success of Team Sky and the Tour de France victories of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have inspired a new generation to join bike clubs and hit the road. Thomas says the feel good factor “shows no signs of slowing down” and
he harbours hopes that by the time he has retired, cycling’s profile will have risen even further.
“Hopefully it will have turned into one of the biggest sports in the UK,” he
says. “It pretty much is one now, but hopefully that will solidify over the next 10 or 15 years and we can become one of the biggest nations in cycling, like Belgium, France, Italy or Spain. We want people to put GB next to those traditional countries.”
Not that Thomas is thinking of hanging up his bicycle clips just yet. At 28, he is
reaching his peak and if his historic victory at the E3 Harelbeke classic in Belgium, where he became the first Briton to win the race, is anything to go by, there is significant improvement to be made as he makes the transition to lead rider ahead of next year’s Olympics. He certainly hopes so.
“I just want to keep that momentum going, keep improving, learn more and keep training hard. I’m just going to keep pushing it as far as I can go. If that’s being the leader at a grand tour or a leader of a team at Flanders, I’m not too bothered at the moment. I’ll just push it as hard as I can. There’s still a lot more to come.”