Meet Carlton Reid


Carlton Reid is one of the UK’s most well known cycling journalists, and today we’re lucky enough to bring you an exclusive interview with him.  Carlton is founder of BikeBiz and, as well as the author of numerous cycling books.  We find out what motivates him and of course, what he wants for Christmas.

What motivated you to start BikeBiz?
I created BikeBiz – it’s a website and a monthly trade journal – when I lost the contract to edit Cycle Industry, a trade title of the 1990s. I sold BikeBiz to Intent Media about six or seven years ago. I’m now the executive editor, which means I don’t do any of the hard work. My colleagues produce the print mag; I specialise in breaking stories on the website.

What sort of reaction have you had from the cycling community?
I’ve done lots of different project in my time in the bicycle business, from On Your Bike magazine for newbie cyclists through to the Bike to Work Book and now my latest project, Roads Were Not Built For Cars. I’ve been lucky in that I can get support for my projects from bike companies and from cyclists.
You’ve been working in the cycling industry for over 20 years now, how have you seen things change for cyclists in that time?
I have been predicting the boom in cycling for 25 years. It’s been a slow burn but it’s clear that cycling is on an upward trajectory. This is most apparent in London. I live in Newcastle and visit London maybe once or so a month. Each time I visit I notice the growth in the number of cyclists. Perhaps if you live in London this growth isn’t so apparent. On some of the busy routes it’s staggering to see the numbers now attracted to cycling. This is a huge difference from 20 years ago.
How did you get in to cycling?
When I was 17 I didn’t want to get a drivers’ licence. All my friends wanted to and it was all they talked about. I’m a natural born contrarian. So instead of a car, I got a bike. I raced on it for a bit but it was a touring bike so I started touring. At 19 I set off on a two year trip around Europe and the Middle East, all solo. I lived in Israel for a year, working in a restaurant. I had a rich Israeli cycling friend. he had the first mountain bike in Israel. I rode it and could see the bike’s potential for touring so left Israel, bought a Dawes Ranger and toured much of the Middle East, including a whole load of deserts.

What was your first bicycle?
Claud Butler Majestic


And what do you ride now?
Our family garage has 20 or so bikes. Not all are mine. My day to day bike is a steel Burley with an Xtracycle on the back. This allows me to carry loads of kit and I can drop off kids at their activities and so on. It’s nippier than a car.
Any tips for new cyclists in Kensington and Chelsea?
No need to venture on to main roads. Stick to side streets to begin with. Plan routes with paper maps or the Bike Hub satnav app which I commissioned for the Bike Hub levy fund. It’s free and very useful.

What is your favourite bit of cycling kit?
I have to say it’s my jersey, another one of my campaigns. I’m very right on and Bolshy when it comes to the rights – and responsibilities – of cyclists. I like motorists to know we belong on the highway. Bikes are vehicles, too.
And what do you want for Christmas?
More LED lights. You can never have enough.

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