I got my first serious bike whilst still at school in 1987 - this was just at the start of the mountain biking boom. I entered a few races which were great fun, and then was encouraged to ride a local club ten mile time trial by a school teacher - challenging me to get inside 30 minutes. My younger brother also got himself a mountain bike as well and that started his journey from being “Andy's brother” to a full-time cyclist and medalist at both the Beijing and London games. My Dad also eventually got fed up watching us race and got interested too.
The Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers was also where I met my long-term friend and now employer Mick Tarrant founder of Prendas Ciclismo. I first met him at Poole Track League where he would watch with his friends whilst I'd be racing around the cricket oval at Poole Park.
The Art of the Jersey book actually started out life as a website (cycling-jersey-collection.com) that I still run today - initially just a way for me to experiment with new web technologies. The site currently attracts around 4,000 visitors per month. Whilst I'm interested in the subject, I'm always amazed at where some of the text and photos from the site end up - used by specialist forums all the way up to the articles on the Telegraph and Guardian linking to my collection.
The website is how Octopus Publishing got in touch. Their enthusiasm was clear from the start and I was delighted to be able to get some of the jerseys re-shoot by a professional photographer plus adding some further research.
Clearly I have way too many cycle jerseys, but it's great to get able to pull one of my my cycling drawer that I haven't worn for a while and bring some vibrant colour to my ride!