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XX5.FIVE/COLLECTIVERIDERBLOG – GLENWHITTINGTON

And the 5th element in our 2024 ÆIGHT CØLLECTIVE is me! Glen! I started this whole thing way back in 2008, when I wanted to get a bit more support for a few of us who were racing together. It’s slowly and organically developed from a hobby, into proper race support, then building bikes and frames for my mates to race, and now into doing all of those things, and more, as a full time job...



I did my first race in 1998 but I didn’t really know what I was doing - a couple of guys I knew in school raced the NPS XC series, so I just went along and chucked myself in at the deep end. I loved it, but had absolutely no idea about training, and my bike was just a base model Scott from Action Bikes. Over the next year or two I upgraded just about every part on the bike, learning by trial and error how everything worked, from magazines and books.


All the things I enjoyed at school were practical things and/or outdoors, and so I got almost as much fun out of fixing or improving my bike, as I did from riding it.


Once I’d replaced everything with the kit that I could afford, I took it all apart and repainted the frame with rattle cans. Then I rebuilt it, raced it, and took photos of it, all over the place. I guess it gave me the motivation to do a lot of that stuff from a fairly early age, and 25 years later, I’m essentially doing the same thing still, albeit with a bit more tech and knowledge! I’m really happy I stumbled into it because it’s taken me to some amazing places and I’ve met a heap of great people - I try and remember not to forget this.


In 2003 I started taking the XC racing a bit more seriously, and I started thinking about what I ate and how to plan my season. I still made time to just ride, but I started looking at the race calendar first and booked everything else around it. The National Marathon Series was my focus for a couple of seasons, alongside Mountain Mayhem 24, Sleepless in the Saddle and the Newnham 24. I seemed to do better at the longer distance stuff - nowadays loads of guys are doing 600km gravel races with no sleep, but back in the day everyone thought that a solo 24-hour was absolute madness, however I found I could tolerate that and ride well.


I’ve raced for various teams and sponsors over the years, but it’s been nice to do the last few years as a club rider for Southborough and District Wheelers. I still get personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen clothing and Schwalbe Tyres, along with support from a big list of brands including Lazer helmets, Hope components, my own AEIGHT steel frames, and now, OPEN carbon bikes - the same ones we stock and recommend on the bikes and repairs at the SC.


Speaking of which, OPEN is a new partnership that we have through Hotchillee - we’re now able to offer repairs, servicing, small parts and sales on all current, future and past OPEN bikes, so if you’ve got one, or you’re interested in buying one please get in touch. The brand has always mirrored what I offer in steel, and shares the same way of doing things, so when the opportunity to work with them came along I jumped at the chance. I’ll do a more in depth blog about my current bike and what I’m going to be doing with it very soon.


Through work we also offer Basso and ENVE frames amongst others - we’ve more or less got a bike to suit anyone.


Alongside riding bikes, occasionally racing them, building steel frames, selling carbon bikes and servicing all kinds of race bikes, I also like to support other people racing as much as I can. I have an intentionally small database of racers who get my attention so that I can give them some proper support, both in the workshop and at races - you’ve already met my SUPREMÈ AEIGHTBIKECO in the last four blogs, and then there’s another eight DËLUX riders who get priority, and then a bigger group of loyal riders who get the PRIMØ treatment. This is always evolving so get in touch if you’d like to join us at any level.


I also provide support for our two local cyclocross leagues, and mechanical support for a UCI Continental Team - Saint Piran. Last year we raced in Norway, Belgium, France and in the UK, winning more than our fair share, and we’re looking forward to more of the same this season. The season for me starts in a weeks time at the GP Criquielion, which is a Belgian 1.1 race and we’ll be banging shoulders with all the big guys like Visma, DSM, Alpecin, etc. It’s hard work, but being in the car in the race makes up for it!


This year my own races will include the Traka, the Gralloch, and some mountain bike stuff - all for fun rather than results, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be trying! I’m looking forward to racing in Spain again and I’ve got half an eye on some NPS venues that I’ve got good memories of, and maybe even some ‘cross later in the year!


My next project is building a drop-bar 29er boost frame which is something that I’ve wanted to do for about a year... The theory being that it’ll be an evolution of my ØNE gravel bike, which can currently handle everything up to a 45mm tyre. Going boost will allow for a full size XC tyre and give the bike even more range - everything from commutes and bike packing through to off-road touring and trail centres. I’ll document the whole build, testing, tweaking and production on this blog through the year, so if you’re interested make sure to subscribe for updates!




2024.RIDERS - GLENWHITTINGTON


#aeightracer – Glen’s an ex-racer who still finds time to ride bikes as much as possible - follow his adventures on Instagram. He started racing in 1998, initially specialising in XCO, Marathon and Solo 24-Hour Mountain Bike. He became a mechanic in 2002, working in shops and also for professional race teams. During this time he spent more time racing ‘Cross and Road, and then also TT. In 2013 he built his first bespoke steel frame and then spent several years at Roberts learning the art. Since then he’s designed his own range of bikes, frames and wheels which he now offers to the public, alongside servicing and race support, as part of his ÆIGHT brand - you can find his business Instagram account here.



GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO RACE WITH US?

We’re always looking for riders to be part of our ÆIGHT CØLLECTIVE. The #aeightbikeco is about doing things a little differently - Rather than a jersey being the common theme, we kit our riders out with bespoke steel bikes and handbuilt wheels made in our Sussex workshops, the ÆIGHT WHEELWØRKS and the ÆIGHT MANUFACTØRY. We then support each other at events and races regionally, nationally and internationally - whether that’s for mountain bike, ‘cross, gravel, crit, road or TT - it’s what we call, the #aeightbikeco


The best part is that we’re not asking you to leave your team or club - that includes racing in your club/team kit. We’ve got certain brands that we work with, mostly so we can standardise shared equipment, but your own sponsors and clubs are almost always welcome. 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 eightbikeco@gmail.com



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