Master of all trades and handy on a bike too, BikeBiz catches up with cycling coach and professional beard groomer Tom Dowie to learn more about his day to day cycle...
What bikes do you own?
Currently I own two Giants from this year’s sponsor Giant Radlett. I'm riding a Giant Defy for my boring training rides and the awesome Giant Trance advanced setup with the new pikes and a few extras.
Also I still own my 4x bike, jump bike and a race BMX to keep it mixed. I'm riding a lot of cross country at the moment to keep fitness up.
In your opinion, what's the biggest rush achievable on a bike?
For me it’s big jumps. You can't beat a 50-60ft double to get the adrenaline going.
How does a typical day normally pan out for you?
My weekdays are pretty chilled. Starting with emails it'll be a training ride after, maybe some coaching and finishing with a session at my gym.
You aren't shy of a bit of shovel work, how many hours a week do you spend digging trails?
I can't afford to be shy of the shovel having to run chicksands! It takes a beating weekly. I keep up with the general maintenance week to week so that’s easily ten hours a week, but I go on mad ones occasionally ranging up to 30.
Tell us about your coaching business?
Tom Dowie Coaching has been established a good few years now. I love the coaching as its always so rewarding seeing the client enjoy their riding more during and after the session. I coached a lot out of the Olympic XC course last year, which has been a good push for the numbers of my coaching clients. Currently I'm coaching around four days a week, but due to racing all summer I lose out a bit.
(You can view a few coaching sessions clips on Dowie's Youtube channel.)
How do you go about building a rider's confidence?
A lot of coaches like to trick you into not thinking about the things that could go wrong. I like to explain the skills and use a breakdown, so you can eliminate risk entirely and focus without just plain ignoring the scary part.
And you're currently working on an off-shoot grooming business – is that right?
I am! Growing a beard is more work than shaving and I'm not paying £20 for beard oil every other month. After making my own for a while and supplying Tom Whitton of Highway Cycles for his valiant beard I decided to smash out a few bottles to the public. I'm still a bit shocked by it as I'm already stocked in four barbers and selling to the public and friends through the website. A nice little sideline to fund some awesome riding trips, so check it out - Bedfordshire Beard Co!
You're not doing to bad in competition this year – what results have gone your way?
This year currently I've only been pump track racing and one night enduro. Getting back on my hardtail after months of riding my new trance was a bit odd. The pump track at the London show is always something I look forward to, its the best wooden track I've ridden. I spent the whole show racing and picked up two 2nd's and two 1st's making it worth my while.
The mini Enduro night race was a bit of a shock to the system. I'm still working on turning the sprint power I had into more endurance, so I've got a bit more to work on yet. In the light I felt pinned in practice, but riding at night for me is a new thing and it all went to pot a bit. A good learning curve for me and a good bit of feedback on where I need to improve for this year’s coming enduro series. I was happy I didn't come last and managed 5th in Pro mind.