i began crankpunk so that i’d have a place to vent and so that my friends could follow my exploits as i raced around Asia, but as there are more readers coming each week i feel it’s time i explained who i am. i enjoy writing with the ‘mask’ that crankpunk affords me, but in truth it’s pretty much the way i always write anyway. anyone who read my race diaries on VeloNews and Pez Cycling would have guessed it was me though I think…
crankpunk is me, Lee Rodgers, an English professional road cyclist on UCI Continental CCN Racing Team, based and living in Asia, who also doubles as a freelance journalist, writing in the main about this great passion of ours. i say ‘ours’ cos if you’re reading this then i’m presuming that you too are edging the bike-geek-o-meter’s needle dangerously close to ‘this one’s a lost cause’, and no doubt have at least one room in your house that bears witness to your love, manifested through countless sets of wheels, useless busted tires you for some reason keep around, chammy creams in various states of crustiness and endless nuts, bolts, saddles, hex wrenches and on and on and on, and maybe even a few race numbers strewn about too.
maybe, unlike myself, your collection is nice and tidy and not looking similar to the compactor room in Star Wars. i’ve probably got three complete bikes in there, in pieces, that are just waiting to be re-discovered… i’ll get round to it someday.
i started racing originally over two decades ago, then walked away from cycling altogether when i was 18. i found it hard to contemplate the years of hard work it’d take even if i was to scrape a bare living from the sport, and eventually came to see no real future for myself in what i’d gradually discovered was a drug-addled sport. my generation was that of the EPO era, and all i can say on that is that i am glad i never had to make those same choices that so many riders of my generation did.
i came back to the sport 19 years later in Japan (where i lived for a decade), purely as a way to lose some weight, but the competitive juices returned. suddenly i was racing wherever i could and doing well enough to get a spot on a Continental team to race in the UCI Asia Tour. i’m not sure but i may have been the oldest neo-pro in the history of the sport. highlights have been many, i have loved racing again and challenging myself to improve, and every ride feels like a gift.
i won the Singapore Road Race National Championships in 2010 and the TT version in 2011, and raced in 5 or 6 post-tour criteriums that year too, against guys like Cavendish, Andy Schleck and Samuel Sanchez around cites like Heerlen and Maastricht with 20,000 mad Dutchmen cheering us on. i raced in the tours of Qatar and Oman this season, which was just mind-bending, truly – some idiot’s screaming at you in a cross-wind to ‘close the gap! close the ******* gap!’ and you turn around and it’s Tom Boonen. i had a quiet chat with Philippe Gilbert at the back of the peloton one day, rode back from the finish with Thor Hushovd and he said ‘i like your jersey’, and had Fabian Cancellara lean over the table at breakfast and ask me to pass the cornflakes. amazing. i won the Tour de Taiwan 2.1 Points Classification despite not being a sprinter, but by breaking away on 4 of the 7 days. i also got 2nd on the GC at the 2012 Tour de East Java and 3rd on Stage 1 of the Tour of Brunei, where i was on my way to another top 5 GC finish until food poisoning struck and left me with my face slapped up against the toilet tiles for 5 hours. the biggest win of the year was at the Hong Kong Cycling Classic in October.
it’s been quite a ride, but essentially i really feel like the fan who gatecrashed the party…
this website came about because i was in between work, getting frustrated at having no space through which to communicate and tired of sitting around all day waiting for my most recent bout of road rash to heal up. the name crankpunk came about because ‘on the rivet’ and ‘my shaved legs’ and just about every other cycling-related name you can think of was gone. but turns out it was quite apt, because i can get quite cranky. not sure about the punk though, let’s just leave that one up for debate.
thank you for reading, thank you for visiting, and thank you for riding. no matter what the bastards get up to, we must remember – this will always be our sport. the sport of kings.