Life as a professional cyclist is ‘priceless’ according to a Carnforth road racer.
Matt Cronshaw, 25, has made his living on two wheels for the last six years and wouldn’t change anything about it.
The Velosure - Giordana RT rider, who shares a flat in Lancaster city centre with team mate James Gullen, said: “The majority of riders on teams get a wage as well as prize money.
“It’s not mega bucks but I get to ride a bike for a living.
“I’m not sat behind a desk all day, there’s the travelling, the free bike, the free kit.
“Not many people get to do something they love for a living. It’s been the best six years of my life.
“Travelling round the world on a bike is priceless.”
With the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire this Saturday, July 5, Cronshaw is going to watch with his family but is realistic about the level he will compete at in the future.
He said: “I used to think about it (competing in the Tour).
“I think James (Gullen) might still hope to move to a bigger team but the Tour’s the biggest race in the world and you can see how difficult it is to race in it when people like Bradley Wiggins are being left out.
“It’s always in the back of your head and it’s inspiring to see it in the UK but I know that I’m not going to get to the race and I’m not sure I’d want to.
“It looks really tough!”
The Carnforth racer is simply delighted to be part of a sport which is in rude health both socially and for British professionals.
Cronshaw said: “Cycling in the UK is booming at the moment.
“Whether it’s cycling to work, doing it for recreation or racing, it’s all doing really well.
“For most British riders the Tour of Britain (in September) is the biggest race on the calendar.
“For us there’s the criterium series (the Tour Series) that’s televised and is the main focus for a lot of the teams.
“Racing in the UK is a lot more competitive than in recent years.
“Professional riders can make a decent living. The televised races will be my focus for the next few years and then I’ll try and retire before I get bored!”
It doesn’t mean things having been tough at times with Cronshaw having lost his father suddenly earlier this year.
He said: “It’s been pretty difficult.
“My dad passed away quite suddenly at the start of the year.
“It was quite difficult to get my head around because my dad was the reason I got into cycling.
“But things are picking up at the moment and hopefully the rest of the season can go well.”
One high point of the rest of the season will be Lancaster’s third criterium race around the city centre on August 6.
Cronshaw, a former winner, can’t wait.
He said: “It’s a good race that could be really good.
“I think over the last couple of years it’s lacked a bit of publicity but the organisers have changed this year.
“It’s great to race round the city and Dalton Square and finish on the cobbles.
“Being from the area it’s a special race.”