Sir Bradley Wiggins: ‘Kid from Kilburn’ to reflect on decorated career at Kentish Town Forum event
- Credit: Archant
We spoke with Wiggins ahead of his UK tour, which starts in Manchester on Monday.
Wednesday August 1, 2012: can you remember where you were? Can you recall what you were doing when Bradley Wiggins, the Kid from Kilburn, surged across the finish line to take gold in the cycling time trial, becoming this country’s most decorated Olympian as he went?
Images of Wiggins – shattered and triumphant – celebrating his victory amid a scrum of photographers have become as synonymous with London 2012 as the Mobot and the Queen’s cameo in the opening ceremony. His gold medal, coupled with the monumental achievement of becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France earlier that summer, elevated Wiggins to a level of sporting legend that few others get close to.
Sir Bradley’s personal take on that golden summer will no doubt feature in his upcoming tour. The 38-year-old, a former pupil at St Augustine’s High School in Kilburn’s Oxford Road, will reflect on his illustrious career in front of a live audience at six venues around the country. On Tuesday he will be at the Kentish Town Forum, so what exactly can we expect?
“It’s going to be about my career, with some anecdotes and some funny stories that I’ve encountered along the way,” he says.
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“We’re going to freestyle it in a way. I’m not a musician, I’m not a comedian – I’ve just had a career and a life that people seem interested in. It’s about how I’ve got from the beginning to where I am now, standing on stage.
“Twenty years ago who would have thought that a cyclist would have made a living doing a tour like this?”
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The tour begins in Manchester on Monday and will also include dates in Guildford, York, Cardiff and Nottingham across the week. Audiences will find Wiggins – who was knighted for his services to cycling in 2013 – sharing funny and heartfelt tales from his career, taking questions from the crowd and discussing his latest book, which is titled Icons. TV presenter Matt Barbet will host each event, with Wiggins also bringing along a clutch of his bikes and pieces of memorabilia.
Wiggins’ connections to Kilburn are deep-rooted and plentiful. Upon announcing his retirement at the end of 2016, he took to his Instagram to say: “Feet on the ground, head in the clouds, kids from Kilburn don’t win Olympic golds and Tour de Frances! They do now.”
Growing up in Dibdin House and attending St Augustine’s – where a sculpture recognising his achievements was unveiled in 2014 – Wiggins entered his first race as a junior at the age of 12 and told his art teacher he would be an Olympic champion at the same age.
“For a kid to say something like that: it was a bit of an outrageous statement,” he adds.
“My art teacher thought I wouldn’t amount to anything. Back then it was impossible to think that a kid from Kilburn could go on and represent his country at the Olympics. The world was a much smaller place then.”
When the sculpture paying homage to Wiggins was unveiled by Graham Hatch, his former PE teacher, and headteacher Eugene Moriarty in May 2014, Wiggins remarked that: “I doubt there’s an inch of road around here I haven’t cycled through the years,” while Moriarty said: “He came from Kilburn, like many of our young, and he became the best in the world. What a fantastic message to all our young people out there today.”
Does Wiggins have a message for the next wave of ambitious cyclists who might look at him as a hometown hero?
“If I can do it then any kid can – that’s the most important thing. You don’t need to be something special; you don’t need to have come from the ‘right’ school.
“Work hard, set your sights on your goal and you can achieve anything. Don’t let anyone else undermine it.”
An Evening with Bradley Wiggins is at the Kentish Town Forum on Tuesday. You can find tickets here.