Effect home page >>>

Jon Joynes

Age: 42

Bike: Giant Defy 3

Where: Yeovil, Somerset

Cycling status: From nothing to commuter, to road rider, to time triallist

I hadn’t touched my old hybrid for five or six years, but I’ve always followed competitive cycling – whether it’s at the Olympics or the Tour de France – and after this summer I found myself looking at my old bike more and more.

When the Olympics finished I decided to buy a road bike. But I was thinking to myself: what’s the point of buying a road bike if you don’t use the bike you’ve already got? I was having lunch with my mum and dad and I was telling them about the road bike, and they asked if I thought I’d use it. So I came up with the idea: I’m going to commit myself to cycling 2012 miles over the next year and in the process raise £2012 for Save The Children.

I went home and at 11.30pm that evening, with this idea still going round in my head, I hopped on my old Trek hybrid and cycled the six miles to work and back in the pitch black. I thought, yes I can do this. Over the next couple of days I built up my confidence just doing short rides, getting my legs working.

Then I went down to my local bike shop. On the internet I’d been looking at the Giant Defy 3, which was way more than I ever expected to spend on a bike. But I had a quick spin on it around the car park and thought, well that’s streaks ahead of my hybrid. So I said, on the spot, I’ll have one of those and I picked it up the next day.

Sporting Challenge

I was planning to do 40 miles a week, spread over a year, which roughly comes to my 2012 target. I thought that was all that I was capable of doing. But by the end of the first week I had done 122 miles and by the end of the second I had done 205 miles. I ended up cycling every day.

I put what I was doing on local cycling forums and Twitter and Facebook, then a lad from my local cycling club, Yeovil CC, contacted me. He told me about the cycling he did – he did time trials – so I looked on the club website and saw that they were holding a club time trial that night. I thought, why not give it a go?

I chucked the bike in the back of the car and drove to the Royal Navy Air Station where they were holding it. It was only a five-mile time trial, so it was quite doable. I did it in 16.18 minutes, meaning I was 19th out of 22, so I beat a few people. All the other riders were really welcoming and it was nice to meet a few people that had obviously been cycling a long time.

There’s not been a day where I haven’t cycled. Money wise I’ve raised £330 so far. And I think what I’ve been doing has nudged other people I know into a bit of action as well. I don’t run or cycle or do any sport, but seeing what I’ve been doing has spurred a few of my friends and colleagues into thinking about what they do in terms of exercise.

On target

I should reach my target of 2012 miles well inside the year I planned. I’ve committed myself to cycling to work three days a week, and I want to keep at least one long ride in each week. I also want to do some of the 40 or 50-mile club runs with Yeovil CC and, if I can get my fitness levels up, I’d like to do more time trialling.

All this is definitely a result of what I saw elite cyclists doing this summer. I’ve watched and followed the Tour de France every year, but that’s never been enough to inspire me to get out on my bike – it was the Olympics and Bradley Wiggins’s Tour victory which had the effect. Seeing what can be achieved on a bike was constantly going through my mind, and it’s what has got me on my bike.



James Markey: going for broke

Jon Joynes’s cycling goal – to reach a target of 2012 miles in a year – is eminently do-able even for a new cyclist, but some of those inspired by the Wiggo Effect have bitten off decidedly more.

Take for example the case of 23-year-old former air conditioning engineer James Markey. We say ‘former’ because shortly after the Olympic James handed in his notice and decided he wanted to pursue cycling full-time, despite not having ridden a bike for five years.

“Around July time I was reading David Millar’s autobiography and that coincided with the Tour and it all just gave me a bit of inspiration, so I decided I would pack in my job and give cycling a proper go,” James said.

“At first I was doing 10-mile loops then I progressed slightly and more recently I’ve been doing 75-mile rides. I’m riding every day, I’ve just joined Coventry Cycling Club and after some advice I’ve also joined the West Midlands cyclo-cross league to gain some race experience. At the end of the month I’m entering the Cycle Show sportive at the NEC and at some point next year I’ll have a crack at racing.

“There’s a lot of pressure on me from my family to get a job, but as far as I see it, I’ve worked since I was 16 and I’ve saved up money so I’ll see how I get on. Life’s short, why do something you don’t really like doing, why not have a crack at something you actually enjoy?

“Turning professional would be the ultimate goal. But if I couldn’t do that, it would be nice just to say well: I’ve given it a go.”


Rachael Levy: The speed queen

Linda Donaldson: Scaredy cat turned tiger mum

Tom Blake: Bike addict

Adam Green: From keen to commited

Pennington and Laurence Ellis: Box Hill habitués

This article was first published in the September 20 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.

This article is from

Cycling Weekly – In print and online, Cycling Weekly is the best source of breaking news, race reportage, reliable fitness advice, trustworthy product reviews and inspirational features. First published in 1891, the magazine has an amazing and unrivalled heritage, having been at the heart of British cycling for over 120 years.

Subscribe to Cycling Weekly in print » | Read the digital edition »