ROB HARWOOD has been a rider for the Hunt Open Dev Team since it was first announced. Hailing from the lanes and b-roads of Essex, UK, there is nothing more Rob likes than a long day spent out on the bicycle (and finished off with a few beers). Until recently, Rob has been keeping things on the tarmac, however, the draw of gravel has brought this roadie to enjoy the adventure that venturing off the beaten path offers. Spending weekends in Scotland and Wales, as well as being co-founder of a bunch of great guys as ColVelo Collective (read below for more) - Rob sets a bench march for being an ambassador for not only Hunt Wheels but the wider cycling community in general.
We managed to wrangle in Rob to answer a few questions for the latest edition of On The Drops. Enjoy.
Rider: Rob Harwood
Born and Bred: Born in London but raised in beautiful Essex! It’s not all ‘Towie’ and ‘Sugar Hut’ ya know!
First Bike and Favorite bike?
Early 90’s Raleigh Outland. Metal Frame, Bullhorn bars, Cantis. The thing was a beast! My Condor Fratello will always be special to me. I’ve been through a lot with the old bird and it’s such a versatile machine.
Ride time selfie!
Finish this sentence:
Climbing on my bike is… a constant reminder that I should drink less beer and eat less crap!
What music are we most likely to find on your iPod?
An eclectic selection. But a quick shuffle will usually find it’s mostly Mogwai. It’s like riding in your own sepia soaked Rapha film!
You have finished a huge ride. What is the food you’re craving most?
Bruge Zot Blonde is food, right? If not, I’ll take Fish and Chips. Instant calorie replenishment and always satisfying.
Post ride beverages enjoyed whilst watching Roubaix
Best place you’ve ridden?
North West Scotland without doubt. Our trip to the Loch Assynt area last spring is going to take some beating. Wild, quiet, interesting roads, miles from anywhere, world class scenery and weather to keep you guessing. I whole heartedly recommend it.
Racing – yay or nay?
Love to spectate, and follow the pro-scene avidly. Huge admiration for those guys. Hard as nails. I’ve always fancied a dart at a midweek 10/25 TT, but reckon my devastatingly sub-par bike handling would provide a mechanics bill I can’t afford if I was to dabble in local crits!
What grinds your gears?
Impatient drivers. We’re all just trying to get somewhere.
Jersey pockets or Saddlebag?
Got to love a bit of luggage!
We noticed that you have built up a sweet new gravel bike, any adventures planned?
Inspired by Josh’s (ed. Former Hunt Bike Wheels Brand Manager) Dirty Reiver write up last spring, in late June I’ve organised a 3 day tour of North Cumbria /Northumberland with a one big day in the middle exploring the trails and fire roads of the Kielder forest. The place looks epic.
I’m loving the rise of the gravel scene. The new tech, styles of bikes and crossover of philosophies from MTB to road. Its fun to see.
Do you regret choosing downtube shifters!?
Not yet… I will confess it might be interesting when things get really rough under the rubber… But the positive clunk of an indexed downtube shifter if one of life’s great feelings… I’ll get my coat.
Throwback to downtube shifters anyone?
Tell us a bit about your involvement with ColVelo Collective? Who are you guys? We thought there were no Cols in Essex!
Elevator pitch… Myself and a good friend started ColVelo in 2014. The ethos is centered on variety of riding (style, terrain and location), big days out and a decent social aspect. Cycle Clubs, by design, can be focused very much on a theme. We just wanted to create an outlet where anything goes. If you have an idea or suggestion we’ll do our best to get it going. If you ride your bike fast or love to smash out big distances, come and ride with us. If you prefer a sedate café spin with an emphasis on cake over kilometers, come and ride with us. We feel we add something a little different to the local scene which we hope compliments what other clubs are offering. If you live in or around North Essex, ride with a club already or are looking to, give us a try. www.colvelo.co.uk
You’re correct. There are no cols in Essex, but there is in Colchester!
ColVelo ride time
There seems to be a lot of love for Surly Bike with the guys you ride with… whats the story there?
Steel tubes, loads of braze on’s, jazz hat colours and model names. What’s not to love?!
In reality the versatility is the attraction I think. Sort of fits what the club is about. A bike that can handle a big day out clocking up the k’s, a tour, a gravel grind or a mellow café Jaunt. Surlys nail that brief!
There is definitely a bike geek element to our club as I’m sure there is with all clubs. But ColVelo has a very high percentage of riders on Steel bikes! Lots of love for metal bikes in our ranks.
Most memorable experience on a bike?
Probably my first alpine climb (Col des Aravis) not a big name climb, but being the first it was special. An hour toiling and weaving uphill to be hit with amazing vistas. It was a life affirming moment!
What single point of advice has made you a better rider?
Wish I had some kind of cycling Sensei I could quote here, but the simple advice of being sure to get out and ride. Whatever the weather.
Our club members are quick to remind each other that you’ll regret not going out when you’re sat at your desk on Monday morning.
Dream place to ride?
As long as the roads are interesting, the views are good and the post ride beer is refreshing. I’m game! That said, I’d like a crack at Ventoux one day.
"...Get out and ride..."
THANKS ROB! ENJOY YOUR RIDING.