Outside interest: Cycle riding

Written by: Jez abbott
Published on: 28 Oct 2015

Matt KinghamMatt Kinghan balances commuter, competitive and recreational cycling with his day job as an associate director at Nexus Planning.

How did you get into cycling?

Cycling is a key thread to how my family gets around; my sister for example last year cycled for the Mozambique women's national team. I have done road and cross-country cycling and last summer tackled the London Triathlon. I used to cycle to work in north London but when I moved to Herts I had to compress my time on the saddle to Sunday mornings and the occasional day here and there.

What does it involve?

Right now my partner is expecting our first baby, so both my bikes have been parked temporarily in the shed. But normally I'm trying to get two to three substantial cycles in a week – it's about getting kilometres under the wheels, so 50 to 100km on the Tarmac. I recently sold a bike, leaving me with a 'good bike' of carbon fibre and a 'wet bike' for cycling in rainy conditions.

Why do you do it?

Cycling is about freedom and seeing the world at a pace that enables you to actually see it. You can stop whenever you like and in planning terms it is, arguably, the best way to understand the geography of a place.

What’s the toughest thing about it?

Having a cycling accident is always bad - and I've had a few – but bad weather is pretty tough. If you consider yourself a proper cyclist, bad weather is no excuse for not mounting up and getting out there, but it can be unpleasant: I was recently caught in a downpour without my waterproofs and the ride home got slower and more painful to closer I got to the front door. 

What’s the most rewarding thing about it?

Getting out and seeing the world is great, but I also like the competitive side, sitting down in a pub after the cycling and laying down the number of kilometres covered verses the person next to me.

Are there any similarities between your day job and cycling?

OK, here comes the parable: if you consider working life as a series of hills and valleys in terms of the successes and challenges every project in planning involves, you have to pace yourself. You mustn't overexert on a single problem because there will always be other ones, in the same way that after every hill another one rises before you. You need to use your team wisely in the office and as a cyclist.

Do you have any interests or hobbies that you would like to tell us about? If so, please email planning@haymarket.com