James Thompson - Managing Director

 

Tell us about yourself and your cycling or adventuring achievements.
I have worked in the bike industry since I have left school. I was employed by a well known independent bike shop for 11 years and then I had a very exciting opportunity to go into business with a friend in a Dragon’s Den sort of arrangement to set up Spokes.

In terms of my cycling, I picked up an MBUK magazine when I was 13 years old and there was a feature of the Megavalanche, which is the worlds longest downhill race. It starts at 3300m above sea level on a Glacier at the top of Pic Blanc, Alpe D’Huez in France, and is a mass start race alongside 1200 competitors. I was intrigued and spent the next 3 years saving for a bike. After my GCSE’s I travelled with a friend across France and completed our first ever downhill race- in at the deep end! 

 In 2013, I completed Challenge Henley, an Iron Distance Triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112mile bike, 26.2mile run). I did a relay (bike leg) of the same event the year before and didn’t feel like I deserved the same medal that the full distance finishers got so I set myself a huge goal to do every distance of triathlon up to Ironman in a year, despite not being able to swim and limited running experience! With a lot of help and a great training buddy, who became my best friend, I managed to succeed. 

This experience opened so many doors for me, and more importantly, opened my eyes to what is possible if you truly put your mind to something, believe in your goal and work hard. 

What are your favourite things to do on the bike?
After many years of hard and competitive cycling, I really get the most enjoyment out of simply cycling with my family around the local woods and lake. I love watching the kids get the great joy and freedom only cycling can bring and watching them learn and develop their skills and confidence.  

Where is the most exciting place you've ridden your bike?
Downtown Mumbai. If you can ride a bike there and survive, you can ride anywhere! 

What is your goal in life, cycling or otherwise?
Fulfill my potential. I give everything in life my best effort, whether that is in business, personal life or indeed cycling and sport. My personal goals are to make a success of Spokes, cycle to Paris in 24 hours, complete the Marathon Des Sables and summit Mount Everest. Bigger and more importantly than that, I want to be a good partner, a good parent and a positive inspiration to others. Many great people have helped me, inspired me and connected me to achieve success and it is my duty to do the same or better where I can for others. 

Who are your sporting heroes?
There are many people who have inspired me. Controversial, but Lance Armstrong was a true icon as I was getting into cycling, and despite everything, his determination to win, to overcome pain and dig deep was phenomenal. However, I think that Paralympians are seriously under celebrated and the stories of overcoming adversity and challenges that most of us can’t even imagine to achieve incredible sporting success is beyond inspiring. 

Tell us about what you do at Spokes of Bagshot

Everything from making the coffee to securing big deals! 

Spokes wouldn’t be here without our fantastic team. I am very fortunate to have a team of passionate and talented people who believe in the brand and can contribute a variety of skills I don’t possess to make Spokes the success it is today. My business partner has taught me a lot about business and is a great mentor. 

What does being on the Spokes team mean to you?
Everything, it is my life. I spent most of the first year working seven days a week on Spokes. I am very fortunate to have a great partner who is supportive and involved with the business. 

Despite some challenges, low points and stress, setting up Spokes has been the best thing I have ever done, I love this journey and am so excited about where we are going! Watching the community build around us, people achieve their goals, change their lives and spread the joy of cycling is infectious and brilliant. It’s hard not to love this job and every day I am learning, creating and trying to make Spokes better! 

If you had one piece of advice for someone new to cycling what would it be?

Enjoy it. We live in a world where we seem to be so distracted. Go off grid, get away from your phone/computer/stress and be in the moment! Enjoy the freedom, the beautiful views, the solitude or the company, explore and enjoy the adventure!