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New Year – Lets Go!…

So many of our 2020 goals have been put on hold it’s been frustrating for everyone, but we squeezed in as much as we could last year – racing when we could and working hard on training when we couldn’t. Best of all we found a bunch of new trails and made some new friends so all-in-all there’s lots to be grateful for. With that in mind we decided to organise an #aeightbikeco Secret Santa with a difference this year. Each rider drew a random teammate out of the hat and then spent some time during the Yuletide break planning a challenge for that rider in 2021.

The Rules; The rider who nominates has to help that nominated rider achieve their goals – the challenge may need special equipment or training which they may need help with. The rider may also need support at the race or challenge itself. All the riders will document their own challenge through the year so as well as the normal racing we’ll get to see the training, prep, bike tech, the challenge itself and the conclusion. So, without further to do here’s what each rider will be doing in 2021;

Pip’s Challenge (picked by Sheila); “You’re a very accomplished cyclist so it can’t all be about the cycling”. Unlike Lance suggested, sometimes it is actually a little bit about the bike, so, “I’m challenging you to make your own frame bag for your ØNE adventure bike. Then to test it I’m going to give you a set of four coordinates that you’ll use to plan a route. You’ll need to plan how to set the bike up, how to get there, what to eat and drink, what kind of shelter to take and how to get back without assistance. The ride will be in the spirit of the TCR so details of the route will only be released a week before you ride. I plan to be at the CPs to mark your Brevet card and of course I’ll help you make the bag. Once you’ve tested it we’ll post details of the A8CR route on the website for other challengers to try it self-supported”.

Cameron’s Challenge (picked by Pip); We know you’re fast but how’s your endurance? “I’m going to test this and enter you into the Kent CA 12-Hour TT. That’s just you, the bike and 12 hours of tarmac! Sounds simple but it’s a long time in one position and it’s a tough mental challenge. Both of these things we’ll work on through the year. I’ve got plenty of spare it we can stick on the bike to help and lots of experience when it comes to how to fuel and what strategies work. You’ll never worry about a 2 hour road race ever again!” Bryony’s Challenge (picked by Glen); “Your challenge is going to be Endurance XC Racing. The first part is the Mixed Pairs Bedgebury 6-Hour race with me – I’ll use this to teach you everything you need to know about Marathon XC Racing including the training, bike prep and strategy. That’ll be a cinch after riding the SDW in a day last year. The second part will be the main event – racing one of the big open races solo, where I’ll pit for you, making sure you’ve always got food, drink, kit and a spare bike if you need it, so all you have to do is enjoy riding the bike – sounds more simple than it is, but I know you’re going to love it”.

Sheila’s Challenge (picked by Cameron); Cross is Boss – “I’m going to challenge you to the ultimate game of BIKE! I’ll teach you all the skills you’ll need to compete in the London and SE Cyclocross League. You’ll learn a proper cyclocross dismount, how to deal with the barriers, a proper remount and how to bend-the-tapes and commit-to-the-rut! Once you’ve mastered all of the techniques I’ll pit for you at a round of the London and SE Cyclocross League!”

Glen’s Challenge (picked by Bryony); It was tricky to find a race that Glen’s not done so hats off to Bryony for thinking up this – “Your challenge is to summit by foot or bike, all of the HuMPs [We’ll check with Charlie exactly how a HuMPs compares to a Marilyn] in Kent, Surrey, Sussex and East Hampshire. That is, hills with more than a Hundred Meter Prominence above the land around them. According to my research there are 28 of them to test your navigation, route planning skills, possibly your running skills and depending upon how you choose to tackle the challenge, possibly your bikepacking skills. Me and Dad will help you with the planning and logistics.”

#aeightbikeco #aeighttech #aeightescape #aeightmanufactory #aeightconditioning Photos by Glen Whittington

2021.RIDERS – PIPJENKINS Pip races road locally and TT at National level. In the last two years she’s developed from a background in Triathlon to one of the best riders in her club (SDW), currently holding all female (and two outright) club records including the 24 hours and has collected more than 15 Open TT wins along the way. She races all distances including 12-hour (PB 268.7 miles), 24-hour (PB 463.8 miles) and receives personal support from Geoff Roberts Frames. As a physiologist, Pip is our resident Soigneur, is in charge of setting up ÆIGHT.CØNDITIONING and is coaches us on health and well-being.

2021.RIDERS – CAMERONPREECE Cameron’s been riding with us since 2014 when Glen first built a tiny 650c Youth road bike for him – since then he’s raced his first season of ‘Cross in 2017/18 in the Juniors, followed it up with a highly successful road season, before a blinder of a 18/19 ‘cross season where he broke into the top 5 and raced the national champs on the ÆIGHT.MANUFACTØRY ØNE. This was enough to secure him a place on a new team, Southdowns Bikes/Casco Pet, which will help him make the step up to 1st cat and possibly some euro racing.

2021.RIDERS – SHEILAWOOLLAM Sheila picked up a bicycle nine years ago and rode the Camino from Canterbury to Santiago de Compostella. That’s quite a first ride but since then she’s ridden unsupported around Iceland, from Tunbridge Wells to Budapest, completed the London-Edinburgh-London event and competed in the 2018 Transcontinental, riding 4,202km / 39,352m in 21 days. 2019 saw Sheila winning the long route in the Race around the Netherlands, and after a few weeks of rest, Sheila competed in the Pan Celtic Race around Scotland, Ireland and Wales placing 2nd Solo Female on the long route. What’s next? Watch this space for updates! #TCRNo6cap127 #RATNCapNo88 2021.RIDERS – BRYONYFISHPOOL Three years ago, Bryony entered her first cyclocross race at Herne Hill and instantly clicked with racing, soon moving onto other races (and clipless pedals, after falling off a lot!). During her second season of racing she raced her first national cyclocross champs and tried four of our club’s Time-trials, enjoying the local courses and the atmosphere. Last year Bryony raced some XC MTB races, and we’ll be helping her develop her across all disciplines. Bryony says, “in the future, I would like to improve my cyclocross skills especially now I’ll be racing as a Junior – I’d also like to compete in more TT races, XC and maybe even try road racing after building my fitness a bit more”.

2021.RIDERS – GLENWHITTINGTON #aeightracer – Glen’s an ex-racer who still finds time to ride mountain bikes, road bikes, TT and ‘cross bikes for Southborough & District Wheelers. He started building custom steel frames in 2013, has worked in bike shops since 2002 and started racing in 1998. He helps out with London and SE Cross League and receives personal support from Helly Hansen, Geoff Roberts Frames, Four4th Lights. His most recent claim to fame is 13th in the 2018 British National XC Mountain bike rankings and 15th overall in the National Series whilst setting up the.æight.bicycle.cø


#aeightbikeco – In training, as in racing, by working together several riders can be faster than the individual. The C Ø L L E C T I V E is a brotherhood of riders on different clubs and teams who race, train and ride together to improve their results collectively… The common factor isn’t the jersey, it’s the equipment – we race custom steel frames and use similar kit so we can support one another at events with spare wheels, parts and even complete bikes. If you’d like to race with us then get in touch via the details below.

GOT.WHAT.IT.TAKES? We’re always looking for other riders to be on our collective. We have some strict qualifying criteria but don’t be put off by this – if you’re interested in being part of the #aeightbikeco then please get in touch by emailing your racing CV to

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