Passing the Torch

Imagine if your Aunty was an Olympic mountain biker, and your grandfather was the first British rider to win a stage at the Tour de France, and your sister is on one of the most successful women’s cycling teams in Britain. Would it be nature or nurture that leads you to a professional road racing career? We talk to Jake Womersley, of BIKE Channel Canyon, and his Grandfather Brian Robinson to find out.

Brian is a warm and inviting host with those grandfatherly qualities that make you feel right at home. This Grandfather, however, is arguably the Grandfather of British road racing. He was the first British rider to complete the Tour de France, let alone win a stage, of which he did twice in 1955, and he also represented Great Britain on the road at the Olympics twice. Brian’s brother also went to the Olympics for road racing, and Brian’s daughter, Louise, went to the Olympics for mountain biking. Between them all, they have a whole heap of medals and achievements, but is the family’s success a coincidence?

“I’ve gotta say, it’s in the blood. The genes are there and you can always build around that” says Brian, “The proof is in Jake and Becky, because no-one has pushed them into that, you’ve got to want to do it. It must be built in”. I’m not sure if you can have a cycling gene or not, but one thing for sure is that every member of the family seems predisposed, somehow, to be able to focus on a goal and achieve it. 

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