This week, our guest is Richard Robert, our Managing Director who is fond of cycling. He gladly gives us an insight into his favorite hobby.
How did your interest in cycling begin?
I was initially a fan of horse riding and running. Having taken up residence in Tamarin where it was difficult for me to continue practicing horse riding and due to a knee injury, my doctor then advised me to switch to another discipline, namely swimming or cycling. I was then introduced to cycling by my cousin, and this passion has never left me for the past 30 years.
What are the priority skills and qualities that one would need to embark on this occupation?
I would say in the first place that discipline, determination, and perseverance are essential. All in all, it is a cruel sport, because once you stop practicing, you lose your level in no time. It takes a lot of efforts and self-sacrifice to achieve the goal you have set for yourself.
Have you taken any specific training?
No, I started learning by riding an old bike! At first, I was practicing 20 km routes before joining cycling groups. From there, I began accumulating gradually kilometers: 80, 100, and much more.
Are there any national or international associations to which you belong / or with which you have any affinities in relation to this activity?
Initially I did join a cycling group from Flic en Flac over a period of 12 years. Due to my moving from Tamarin to Moka, I then joined Team North, a cycling group whose members have now become friends. They are regular riders who practice 3 times a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. My professional occupation only allows me to join them on Saturdays when we leave the north around 08.30 am to cover an average of 80 km on each outing. And once a year, we take a 230 km tour of Mauritius.
In March 2020, with Team North, we set sail for South Africa, to participate in the 120 km Cape Argus Cycle Tour. We were accompanied by family members for this trip and there were about fifteen of us. It was an amazing experience and I keep fond memories of this event.
What would be your recommendations for a beginner interested in cycling?
Above all: hang in there! Stay motivated. First, you need to practice on a regular basis. It is hard to spend long hours on the saddle, often in burning sun; it’ s a no pain, no gain discipline, so you need to be prepared to suffer, however this activity leads to a very motivating self-satisfaction. For young and older cyclists, I recommend a healthy lifestyle and a lot of abnegation and self-sacrifice. Finally, you need to be very careful with falls which can be quite dangerous.
Is there an immediate future project that you would like to share with our readers still in connection with cycling? If yes which one?
I don’t have a specific plan other than a personal goal, which is to keep fit. I have a lot of admiration for some of my club members who at retirement age and well beyond are in athletic shape and take on challenges during our outings. So, I would say that I would very much like to be just like them and become someone others would look up to.
What is your greatest satisfaction when practicing this sport?
I love cycling with my buddies, and while keeping my competitive spirit, I try as much as possible to remain among the best. I enjoy this sport which helps me keep in shape. My boost for the day is my almost daily morning bike ride before going to work.
My participation in Fun races from time to time allows me to measure my own level.
Finally, I also really enjoy cycling around the island. I came to discover the inlands: the narrow back-streets, the unknown villages, places I would never have been to if I hadn’t been practicing this sport.
We warmly thank our inspiring guest for his time and for sharing his passion with us. We wish him many more exciting years cycling around Mauritius …
Stay tuned for future interviews.