Outside interest: Road cycling

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 25 Mar 2015


Cycling runs in the family of James Griffin (pictured right), senior planner at Hunter Page Planning. His father Bob (left) was a bike mechanic for team GB and Griffin Jr has been racing since he was a young boy.

How did you get into road cycling?

I started off mountain biking and migrated to road racing, rising to category two level, behind category one and elite levels. I've raced in Belgium and am a co-founder of Cheltenham's Velo Club Montpellier. 

What does it involve?

I usually ride four times a week and tackle a weekly club ride of about 45 miles every Saturday. Recently I have focused more on organising races and events, involving lots of work with councils, British Cycling and the police – road cycling can be a dangerous sport, and riders need an £80 licence to cover insurance and they have to undergo risk assessments.

Why do you do it?

I do it for the shear buzz of the sport and the competitive side of things – going abroad watching and competing. We often go to the Tour of Flanders: cycling is the national sport of Belgium and there is real party atmosphere, with three million people lining the course,

What’s the toughest thing about it?

Length of races is tough – it's an endurance sport and you can't get away with minimum training and not putting in the miles. It is both physically and mentally demanding.

What’s the most rewarding thing about it?

Friendship: some of my best friends have been met at racing events. We have 30 members in our club, all from different backgrounds but united by a common love of racing bikes. It's a great way of getting fit, unlike gym work where you are stuck indoors.

Are there any similarities between your day job and road cycling? 

On the organisational side of cycling there are definite similarities with planning: you work with lots of stakeholders, from parishes to local dignitaries, towards a common project or goal. Both also call for an appreciation of towns and landscape, and doing both has given me a greater awareness of placemaking.

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