© Maglia Nera Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
My son at full tilt in a MTB race
At the top of the Galibier - my homage to Peter Sagan!
The Red Jersey is a bike repair and servicing business owned and run by me, Alex Cook, and operated from my home (and mostly garage!) in Leamington Spa. And yes, that's me on the right of the picture above, taken during the 2015 Etape du Tour.
I've enjoyed bikes for virtually all my life - as a child my bike was my ticket to freedom.
As a boy my BMX was the most exciting thing in the world. Confined to riding not much further than the end of the road I still managed to rack up the miles, doing wheelies and jumping off anything that looked survivable.
As a teenager I graduated to a (very heavy!) mountain bike and would often at the weekend simply ride the 15 miles to the nearest city to my home town only to drink a pint (of milk!) and ride back home again.
As a student my bike (by now a much nicer, lighter mountain bike) was my mode of transport. Each week in my second year at Warwick University I'd do the shopping for my house of 4 on my bike, carrying home up to 50kg of food and drink in a 65 litre rucksack. It may even have been a greater challenge than the maths degree!
And it's not just riding, I've also been fixing bikes since I was a kid - many an hour was spent in the garage with a cheap spoke key straightening my BMX wheel after the jump off the wall at the end of my road wasn't landed quite as well as I'd hoped. Bottom brackets were replaced after being completely destroyed by youthful exuberance and, to be honest, a lack of regular maintenance. My dad was an engineering tool maker, so I guess mechanical ability was in my genes.
In 2010 I did a charity bike ride from London to Paris which reignited my love for bikes and riding and got me into road riding. Since then I've also ridden Paris to Geneva, RideLondon (twice), the Tour de Yorkshire and most recently the Etape du Tour, not to mention countless sportives. I also still have a mountain bike, often riding it with the kids on the 4X track and at trail centres. I've not done anything other than informal competition... yet!
In 2014 I took voluntary redundancy from the civil service, having served 14 years in the further education sector, in order to spend more time looking after my children who were, and still are, growing up far too quickly to risk missing any of it.
Knowing that it was only a short time until my youngest started school I decided to get formally qualified as a bike mechanic, using the industry's own Cytech training, with a view to starting up my own business. Thankfully it turned out that what I'd figured out as a kid was, in the main, the right way of doing things. So many days of practising on my own bikes, followed by more days practising on friends' bikes later, I was ready to go pro! Initially I was called 'Maglia Rosso Ltd.' but due to lots of confusing conversations and to avoid conflict with a bike cafe in Bury St Edmunds, I renamed myself 'The Red Jersey'.
I currently do bike repairs, servicing and wheelbuilding. However, when family commitments allow, I plan to set up a café catering specifically for cyclists with all the facilities you could wish for, including repairs and servicing of course. Watch this space!
So if you need some work done on your steed, give me a call or drop me an email - just click on the 'Contact' link at the top of this page.
Got something unusual? I'd love to work on it - recumbent, tandem, hand bike, you name it!
A local (informal) MTB bike race
My kids on their bikes,
complete with race faces!
The bike workshop