I had the opportunity and pleasure to photograph and interview Sam Pedder, an English cyclist currently riding in the US.
—What's your name, age and where are you from? I am Sam Pedder, I’m 24 and I'm from sunny Manchester, England.
—What's your bike setup and who are you sponsored by? My bike is a Rock Racing X2 Frameset with Sram components. It is the bike for the US team I am now riding for (www.r5-rockracing.com orwww.rockracing.us). I have just gotten the bike and I am so stoked with it. I am also sponsored by a clothing company back in the UK called The Sandyman Chop Shop. They are going to be a Traditional style barber shop in the South West of England. They are into everything that I am into from Hot Rods to Tattoos. You can check them out at www.sandymanchopshop.com. Watch this space they will be huge!!
—What or who inspired you to ride a bike and get sponsored? Or was it more as a means of transportation then the love developed? Tell your story from beginning to the present. My dad is the main man; he used to be a semi-professional rider so I grew up with riding. I used to ride a lot of mountain bike and BMX. Then when I was 14 I got the crazy idea of playing Rugby, but my dad wasn’t to keen on that idea so he took me to the Manchester Velodrome and then I got hooked. When I was 16 and left school I started to take cycling more serious and that’s when I started to travel the world riding bikes. We also now have a family bike shop back in Manchester. The shop is to help fund me and my brother do what we love. I am a family guy so it’s awesome to be working with my dad and brother when I am back home (www.base2racecycles.co.uk and www.relicsnrust.com). I have to give my Coach a shout here as well...I have known Jody for a while and having him coaching me is such a big motivation. He's a top guy and I know we will go far together (www.transitioncycle-coach.co.uk).
—How has cycling affected your life? It's affected my life in many ways...I don’t have a lot of time for friends with training and then being away a lot, I guess now I only have a select amount of friends that I make sure I see when I am home. But I do have friends all over the world that I have met on my travels though. I have also missed my best friend's birthday for about the past 6 years now (James Pringle you better appreciate this). So yeah I miss a lot of peoples birthdays, weddings, parties, the lot. I have a few buddies getting married in the next couple of years so I will try my best to be there.
—Can you describe a handful of favorite stories or moments related to your riding your bike? There are a lot of stories....we have had some wild training camps with Peter Kay. He looked after me a lot growing up through my teens and he is one of the reasons I am where I am. I had a few good bollockings off him when I wasn’t pulling my weight and it made me pull my finger out and get on with things. He took me and five more riders to Saudi Arabia; that was a bit of a trip and pretty scary at times. Riding with Luke Boulton out in Belgium was always fun; he was always willing to do something stupid (like jumping in a big pond in the middle of nowhere while in full cycling kit then having to ride home wet). I also had some good training rides with James Mather and Kieren Yates, especially having snowball fights on top of a mountain in the middle of a training ride. Fun times with these guys.
—What is the hardest thing about riding your bike? Training in bad weather and shit races. There are more bad times than good riding the bike. You need something to have to get away from the bike sometimes or else it gets way to much. For me I love tattoos, music, cars and motorcycles.
—Do you think that bikes and tattoos go hand in hand? Yes I think so. Tattoos are getting more and more popular and everywhere you go now you see tattoos. You are now seeing a lot of professional cyclists in the pro races with visible tattoos.
—How old were you when you were introduced to tattoos and what's your first tattoo? Did your mom or dad say anything about them? I grew up around tattooists and my dad's pals coming around to the house and they would be covered. My dad has tattoos and my mum had tattoos as well. I got my first tattoo when I was 18 and it was just after my mum passed away. It says Family and its on my shoulder. The "F" is the Famous Stars and Straps "F". I loved Famous Stars and Straps clothing growing up and Travis Barker was my idol.
—Any artist you wish you could get ink by? What's your next tattoo going to be? I have always liked Corey Miller. He has a cool look and his tattoos are badass. I also love all the original tattooists. Guys like Bert Grim, Norman Collins (Sailor Jerry) and Ed Hardy. Those guys are so cool and the Old School tattoos are dope. My next tattoos...hmmmm...well I will get my left sleeve finished off by my boy Mike at Ink In Tattoos in Manchester. It's always a laugh going to see him so I look forward to it. I am also going to get a Sailor Jerry chest piece going.
—What's the difference between riding in the US and riding in the UK? The sun is here. I think the roads are nicer to ride on in the UK. I can go out from home and then five miles down the road and I am in the middle of nowhere and barely see any traffic. The roads are so busy here. Belgium is the best place for training though, as it’s so quiet and nice.
—You said you’ve traveled and seen the world because of your cycling. Is there any traveling stories you would like to share? I road for a Belgium team in 2012 (Asfra Flanders) and I got put up in the team house (Zingem). People that know about Belgium cycling know the Zingem house. Man that place was wild. No hot water, one bathroom, one kitchen and at one point we had 16 people in the house. It was crazy but I met some great people and we used to climb onto the roof and have some mean BBQ’s. I’ll remember that stuff for the rest of my life.
—What's next for you? I return to England at the start of July. I am hoping to go across to Italy for a couple of months and race for the Rock Racing Italian team. They're a bunch of cool guys and would love to race with them some more. Then I hope to return to California for 2015 to race again in the US.
—Anything you want to add? If people want to follow me on Instagram its @tattooed_rider. I also have a GoFundMe account as I cannot work while being here in California. I set up the GoFundMe so people could donate a bit of money to me and help me out with race entry fees, travel, accommodation, etc. You can check it out here www.gofundme.com/chasingthedream1
I would like to also thank everyone that has supported me and helped me. A huge thanks to my Dad and Brother. I wouldn’t be doing what I was doing if it wasn’t for those two. They are my heroes.