Laura Pickering
Posted by
Laura Pickering

Ride along: Ride Captain Tom Morton

Laura Pickering
Posted by
Laura Pickering
02 Dec 2015

Tell us a bit about yourself Tom. 

Hi, I’m Tom Morton, and at 61 years I’m probably the oldest amongst member of the ride captain team but having said that I’m still race fit and very experienced! 

I’m from Ashford in Kent and my day job is with Kent County Council as a Driver Safety Trainer and Road Safety Officer.

How would you describe your cycling career so far? 

I’ve been riding for over 50 years and still race track, Time Trials and the occasional road race. I’ve won Bronze medals at both National Masters and LVRC track championship level. Another high point in my cycling career was in 2013 when I was voted British Cycling Hero of the Year. I’ve ridden the London to Paris ride at least eight times now, some as a fundraiser for various charities and sometimes as a ride captain.

What does your training schedule look like? 

Most of my training is in the Ashford area, however I head off to the sun and Majorca at least once a year, around March or April, then again in late September if I can, for training camps.

And how about your London | Paris experience? 

I have had the honour to be part of a team of ride captains on at least three London to Paris rides, some for Bloodwise and some other rides, and have helped the participants in the event realise their aims and objectives - by offering moral support and (on occasion) the helping hand on their back.

It takes a lot to top seeing the pleasure on the faces of the riders as they arrive in Paris at the end of four hard days in the saddle - knowing that I had played a part in their journey along with the support my team. I'm looking forward to joining the Bloodwise cyclists on their spic trip in September next year! 

What are you top tips for our riders? 

  • Don't train when you are tired or unwell. It won't make you fitter, it'll only prolong your illness.
  • Get used to eating and drinking as you ride - you'll need to do both a lot during the ride to Paris.
  • Try and ride in group with others as much as possible. You'll be doing a lot of group riding on route to Paris, but it will also encourage you to ride further and faster and provide welcome company.
  • There are only three parts of your body that touch the bike: your hands, feet and backside. Make sure you wear good quality gloves, shoes and shorts and that the bike fits you correctly. If not, riding will be uncomfortable and unpleasant.
  • If you train in the winter when it's cold remember to wear layered clothing. Layers can be removed as it warms up and in cold weather the layers trap air that help keep you warm. They don't need to be thick but at least three layers of clothing on top of your body will keep body heat in. A hat also works well - and it can reduce heat loss by up to 60%. Always wear leg warmers in cold weather: your knees will love you in old age, trust me!
  • Remember that training never gets easier only you get faster.