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Phil Walton Smith

Phil Walton Smith - Social Media and fun (Twitter,Facebook & MTB Guru in the UK)

I started to ride bikes at an early age, my first big cycling adventure was touring the coast of Britain at the age of 15 during the school holidays with a pal. We stayed in youth hostels and I was given strict instructions to call home each evening (no mobile phones in them days). Cycling was put on the back burner as work, family and bills took over.  I  occasionally managed to get out with one of my daughters fastened into the child bike seat on the rear of an old racer.

I made a welcome return to regular cycling 5 years ago when I purchased a basic Muddy Fox MTB. It was quiet scary on some of the black sections of trails I rode (thank God for disc brakes these days).  I missed being on the road and bought a second hand TT bike; this was great fun but I struggled getting around corners on it! This slightly worried me and I sold the bike and bought a tourer.

In 2011 I had a great idea (or mid-life crisis) to cycle from Lands end to John O' Groats. My wife tutted and jokingly said 'everyone does that - why don't you cycle from Skipton to Spain?'  I thought this was a brilliant idea and dragged her along for the ride!  We decided to do the ride for charity, so trained and planned for 10 months and set off in April '12, taking 18 days, with two rest days. We covered 1253 miles without any backup and carrying everything we needed.  An excellent adventure, but I need to keep this short!

I got 'into' MTBing with some friends and have been hooked ever since.  I love challenging myself on technical sections and get a real buzz when faced with towering hills.  I re-homed my faithful Muddy Fox and now own 2 bespoke Mongoose MTB's (with disc brakes). I enjoy helping people get into cycling and have recently become a Skyride leader taking groups out for fun and sociable local rides.

This year has been another active one for me, running my own EIectrical Contracting company with my wife, Debs, keeps me off the bike and busy most days, but I did manage to organise and take part in a charity 24hr MTB ride in March for my local trail centre.

I relished every minute of the Tour De Yorkshire on my doorstep and I look forward to what the future brings working with the guys at pedalnorth.com