Gino Bartali was a focussed, resilient man. Despite the death of his brother and WWII, he achieved a great deal. He was said to have risked his life on several occasions to help the Jews escape the Nazi's. A brave man.Bernard 'the badger' Hinault is the last French winner of the Tour de France and has won it five times. I like that he doesn't care what people think, in an interview he once said: "I race to win, not to please people”. I’d imagine it would be easy to get caught up in appeasing your fans, Hinault never lost sight of his ultimate goal - to be the best cyclist he could.
Matt Harper, co-founder of Look Mum No Hands (LMNH) has selected five of his all-time cyclists for our Prelogram Tour de France prints. LMNH is a cafe and bike repair shop rolled into two venues in east London. Matt was much too busy to be interviewed, but agreed to do one anyway, so thank you Matt! Through the sound of coffee being ground and raucous laughter, we just about managed an interview about Matt and his Tour de France prints. When did you get into cycling? I got into cycling twice, I cycled when I was a kid but stopped for a while. In 2000, I started cycling to work and mountain biking and the old passion from childhood came through. Within a year I was racing and going on cycling holidays. What did you do before you started Look Mum No Hands? I was a disgruntled City worker. Like a lot of people in London, I fell into City work and was looking for way out. Where did you get the LMNH idea from? My friend, now business partner, ran cafes. We were discussing the idea of combining a cafe with another business and we came up with a bike shop cafe. I got made redundant which was the catalyst I needed to jump right in.
Yeah It sounds like a lot but you're completely transfixed by your surroundings that you barely notice the distance. You get to see an amazing mix of countryside that you can only experience on a bike: the cotton trade heartland of Lancashire, the dry stone walls of Westmorland, St Michael’s Mount, Edinburgh castle. There are so many hidden treasures - all beautiful for their own unique reasons.
How old-school are you when it comes to bikes? A fixed in winter? Mud guards or no mud guards? Steel or carbon fibre?
I ride fixed on the track but not on the road anymore, I’d be mistaken for trying to be cool and I'm too old for that. Carbon fibre when racing. Steel and mud guards when I'm not in a rush.
What do you think of the Tour coming to Yorkshire and London? Are Team Sky going to produce another winner?
I think the Tour is going to be fantastic this year, people are going to be blown away. When it last came to London in 2008, everyone was amazed by how much the British public took to it. Cycling has really exploded in the last few years. The road side gets completely mobbed, it’s a real party. As for winners: it would have been nice to see Bradley Wiggins take part but Chris Froome is going very well. I’d be proud if Froome were to clinch the GC.