The clue to making it as a professional cyclist? Dedication
Pure dedication is the key to becoming a professional cyclist, according to former British champion Tim Harris.
Harris pulled on the red, white and blue striped jersey of British road race champion in 1989 during a lengthy career which saw him race professionally across Europe.
“As with every professional sportsman, you have to be 100 per cent dedicated to what you’re doing,” says Harris, who was also crowned national criterium champion in 1987. “It’s hard work, but if everything comes together then it has its rewards.
“If you want to be a professional cyclist, you have to give it absolutely 100 per cent.
“[The rewards are] not only financial, but you get to see the world and meet fantastic people. You have to give it everything, because you’re only young once.
“When you have a dream, everything else you don’t think about. The minute you think something is a sacrifice, then you’re in the wrong job.”
Harris says his dream of becoming a professional cyclist was born partly from the necessity of riding a bike to school and partly from seeing professionals riders on television.
Now living in Belgium, Harris also spent time riding for teams further south in Italy, Spain and Portugal.
“I got into cycling because I used to have to bike to school and I realised I liked cycling,” he says of the humble beginnings to his career.
“I also saw a documentary about the Giro d’Italia one Sunday afternoon and from that moment I just decided I wanted to be a cyclist.
“I left school, and as soon as I did I went to live with a family in Italy on Lake Como. Luckily for me I won a race there and from that moment I thought I probably had the ability to maybe not become a great champion but at least make a living from it.”
But such a career does have its low points, with Harris pointing to a bad crash in Mexico during his career as one mental scar which offers a permanent reminder to the dangers of racing.
“The worst thing is the crashes,” he says. “I’ve been in a couple of really bad crashes and that’s far and away the worst part of cycling.
“For example, I was in a really bad crash in Mexico when a drunken driver came into the peloton; one rider was killed and another lost his leg and it was just horrendous.
“The helicopter took 40 people to the hospital in Guadalajara. It’s scarred into your brain. Even know, I think back as I’m preparing to go cycling and yet there are people missing legs from that same situation.”
Having been brought together by Dare2b to form The Brotherhood with Stephen Roche, Oscar Pereiro and Angel Furlan, Harris admits for all the highs and lows, cycling is now embedded in him.
“Enjoyment is a funny word when you talk about cycling,” he explains. “When you do it, it’s a love-hate thing.
“Even now I can’t say exactly say I really enjoy it but it’s part of your DNA when you’ve been in professional cycling. Whether I enjoy it, I’m not sure. I just like it, it’s part of me.”
Find Dare2b’s full range of cycling gear here or check out the Signature Tour jersey here.
Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.