Bradley Wiggins has done little to harm his rock ‘n’ roll persona in the last week, making two separate appearances on stage, the latter with long-time musical hero, Paul Weller.
Playing what looks like a Gibson ES335 in cherry red (the axe of choice for guitar luminaries Johnny Marr and Bernard Butler) Wiggins confidently strums along with Weller and band to The Jam’s 1982 hit, That’s Entertainment.
Wiggins’ status as a mod, obvious to those of a similar calling for several years, is as much a part of his public persona as his professional accomplishments, and he’s as likely to appear in the mainstream press in mohair as lycra.
A good thing for cycling? Certainly. Cavendish, Hoy, and Pendleton have transcended the sport in recent years, but Wiggins’ journey from back page to front has been made on his own terms. Don’t expect to see him in cereal or shampoo commercials any time soon, or appearing on a reality television show.
While Wiggins is famous, he is not a celebrity in the modern sense. His public recognition is based on his athletic achievement, not his haircut. And if he jams with another working class hero in the off-season to raise a few quid for an extremely worthy cause, more power to him.
Weller, however, seems to have entered an uneven partnership. At 54, he is likely to find Team Sky’s training camp in Mallorca next month a challenge. Last seen on a bike in 1984 in a video to promote The Style Council single, My Ever Changing Moods, Weller’s riding partner on that occasion was pianist, Mick Talbot. He will find Wiggins a little faster.