As we launch the UI Fatigue Club with our first collaborative piece -an exclusive collection with bespoke performance cycle clothing company Milltag – we catch up with cyclist Kris Fowler, part of the #UIFATIGUECLUB community, to talk bikes and travelling.
Check out the full interview below and you can purchase the full Urban Industry x Milltag collaboration here.
1. Please introduce yourself? Name, Age, Town
Kris Fowler, 29, Eastbourne.
2. How long have you been riding? Always Road bikes?
Forever! From Raleigh Y-frame pavement riding kid to baggy MTBer and fixed gear commuter to Lycra-clad Cervélo roadie.
3. Pro racer or Avid Amateur?
Strictly amateur, though thanks to working at fellow Eastbourne independent business The Tri Store I’ve been lucky enough to ride all kinds of top-level bikes to at least help me look a bit more pro! Winning the Sussex Cyclocross League for 2 years is as close as I’ve come to stardom but still no one’s offered to pay me to ride my bike.
4. Tell us a bit about the journey to Thailand by bike from the UK, sounds crazy!
When I was 22 I cycled away from my friends and family in Eastbourne and pretty much kept riding until returning home on my 24th birthday – just me, an outrageously heavy fully loaded touring bike, a bunch of maps and a compass. The 8,113 miles took in 23 countries including Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Turkey, Iran, India, Japan and China; the Alps and the Himalayas; temperatures between -20° and +55°C; and probably most of the emotional (and physical?!) sensations it’s possible to experience!
After the initial terror of feeling like a vulnerable speck on a huge merciless planet it became the most valuable experience of my life so far, proving to me that the world is fundamentally a good place full of kind, hospitable, caring people – nowhere more so than Iran where you genuinely can’t go more than 5 minutes without someone wanting to give you food or a place to sleep.
The only real concerning moments were being interrogated by Kalashnikov-wielding men outside a nuclear enrichment plant and running out of water in the Iranian desert, being constantly chased and attacked by huge, barbed-wire-collared sheepdogs across Turkey, and one minor violent attack by a disgruntled Kurdish shepherd. Stumbling into the Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday party in the Himalayas was a surprising highlight, as was meeting people that will remain friends for life. If you ever get the chance to travel by bike, even for a few days close to home, do it!
5. What does the future hold for you and bikes, any more long trips?
I’m soon going to be swapping Beachy Head and the Pevensey Levels for Dartmoor and the Cornish lanes so I’ll be wheezing up the nasty 25% hills and throwing up after the South West cyclocross league races this winter. The long trips are taking a backseat for another year while I complete my Master’s degree but I’m hoping I can go on to combine work in new economics with the as-yet-unridden lines on my map through South America and Africa… Whatever happens, I’ll have a bike with me!