Wise Words | Fleur TK.

Wise Words is our interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.

We’ll ask our short list of questions to a heap of influential, inspiring and outspoken people that we feel are driving the direction of mountain biking today. Some will make you think, some will make you laugh, some will be plain dumb, some will inspire you to better yourself and your riding. We hope!

Wise Words this week come to you from Fleur TK.

Multitalented doesn’t quite come close when it comes to describing Fleur. Having several trans-Atlantic crossings under her belt, she’s settled into the quiet life of training to be a paramedic while racking up some serious air miles on her Starling. Faster and sendier than you, every day of the week.

Photo by Stephen Sweeney.

How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?

Oh my, straight in with the big questions. Too cringe to write this myself so this is what Bryn wrote when I joined the Starling team. “So Fleur isn’t scared of anything and doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks. She’s super friendly to everyone, a total bad ass and goes well fast on her bike. She owns a canal boat, she’s a student paramedic and has sailed the Atlantic like 9 times or something crazy.”

How kind is that?! I reckon we all need to hear kind descriptions of ourselves, not just at our funeral when we’re dead.

What thing or things have you bought in the last year that had the biggest effect on your life as a mountain biker / cyclist / person that works in the industry.

This is a tricky question because I live by trying to buy as little as possible and make do with what I have, and partly because I am so lucky to have support in most bike related kit from the brands that work with the Starling and Friction Cycles teams.

I bought a gym membership and got back into training after a stint away from it.

As a professional sailor, weight training was essential to be in the mix with the male-dominated industry and getting back into the gym has done wonders for my focus on my studies, satisfaction in overall life and obvs my riding. I don’t know about you but I feel fucking great all sweaty and fired up collectively listening to D’n’B at 6.30am.

What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?

I don’t talk about bikes? I love riding my bike but can we talk about something else during and after our ride please? The state of your love life or what book I should read next interests me far more than the angle of your offset suspension ratio feedback torque. Also, I don’t use hashtags which seems to be unusual.

What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?

I haven’t lived in the UK for 10 years and since I’ve got back I’ve noticed a lot of us don’t know how to greet new people. Like, can we nationally introduce a standard greeting please? in France- 2 kisses. Holland- 3 kisses. It’s a set unwritten rule, easy to follow and friendly to strangers. What the F are we doing over here? So many times the lazy option is to do nothing because it’s awkward to stand out. F*ck that. We clearly both like bikes so have something in common. Acknowledge those around you, be friendly, even if it’s not cool. Post COVID will be the perfect opportunity to introduce this national campaign.

Ignore what some marketing teams want you to believe. That you have to look a certain way or ride a certain bike to ‘belong’. From my understanding mountain biking was born from a sub culture who didn’t want to follow the rules. So make your own rules. You don’t have to post content of the latest trick you landed or go wicked fast to enjoy being out in the woods and riding your bike.

If you could go back and re-ride one day from your life so far, where/what/when/who would it be? Would you change anything?

It would have to be my 2017 solo bikepacking tour in New Zealand. I rode from the very north of the North Island to Queenstown on a beat up, hand me down hardtail. I had a mechanical on the Old Ghost Road trail so had to turn back. I remember being so frustrated that I lacked the appropriate equipment and riding mates to enjoy the epic trip with. So it’s definitely a dream of mine to return with the right bike and the right people.

What have you wasted the most time on in your life as a rider or bike industry career that you wished you’d given up years ago?

Instagram. F*ck, we all do it. I have found how to make it work for me now. Only follow those that lift you up. I mostly follow rad women because I can relate to their riding more than the guys. Do they inspire you for the right reasons? If they piss you off, unfollow. It’s simple.

Photo by Luc Lacey.

How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?

It’s taken me a while to have a set algorithm for this.

  • acknowledge and sit with it
  • accept that life is linear and this too shall pass
  • sleep
  • do something creative or go play with my nieces and enter their wild child-state.

What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?

Progression, seeing others overcome a fear or pushing through your own fear. And then that sweet, sweet blissful shared moment of happiness after. So yeah, community and progression.

Photo by Luc Lacey.

What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?

The other night when I drank too much and tried to cwtch with my fave Shredmansion boy. Sometimes I forget I’m 31 and not 18 anymore. Sorry. Love you, and please erase all cougar behaviour. Thanks.

What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?

I would love it if Chris Boardman’s Active Travel England government campaign is successful in improving town and cities’ infrastructure for cycling. We’re so lucky in Bristol to have a strong community of people who get around on their bike. But more needs to be done. We all laugh when a cycle lane abruptly ends and spews us out into a crowd of innocent pedestrians or a dual carriageway of death.

Who else should we ask these questions to?

Boostedbryn, obviously. And maybe include a music element, like what is your most played album on Spotify.

You can keep tabs on Fleur’s exploits on her Instagram feed here.

You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.