Q&A with Vegan Tri Guys

1. What you have done in the past and in your cycling career?

I started cycling when I was around ten on a mountain bike and then a couple of years later I got my first road bike. Once I tried road riding, I was absolutely hooked on cycling. When I was 16 years old I passed the tests to join the British Cycling Talent Team and it appeared as though my dream of becoming a professional cyclist was a realistic prospect. However, in my final, pivotal year as a junior, I suffered from a condition that was later to be diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, which plagued me on-and-off for over a decade. It was only when I switched to a plant-based diet over four years ago that I haven't had those symptoms since and I have enjoyed taking part in triathlon events such as ironman 70.3 races and Xterra, achieving podiums in my age group. I also competed for GB as an age group athlete at the European Champs.   

2. Why did you set up Vegan Tri Guys

I set up Vegan Tri Guys for two reasons. Health and fitness is my biggest passion and I'd love to help people improve their lives through better choices for their wellbeing. Although health isn't everything, everything is nothing without it which really hit home during the worst periods with CFS. From my experience, having a healthy body is a fundamental foundation for happiness. The other aspect is that since I adopted a plant-based diet I have become more conscious of my personal environmental impact and whilst I am trying to reduce it, I would also like to encourage others to think about theirs. Some significant improvements can come from making different choices in our daily lives, by eating more plants and riding bikes for transport, which also improve our health, so it's a win-win situation. 

3. Why is sustainability & caring for the environment important to you?

As more and more information and research is made available about the state of the planet, it is clear that the way we currently live is not sustainable, and the population is only growing. It concerns me that future generations will have to deal with the problems that we are creating now. It feels like there could be an environmental catastrophe within my lifetime and if so, everything else will pale into insignificance. I would like to do whatever I can to help give us a brighter future on this planet, for Mother Nature herself and for all the other species we share this planet with. So I quit my job as an engineer in the Oil and Gas industry in the lovely city of Florence, Italy, and I am considering putting my engineering skills to use in the renewable energy industry. 

4. Why does eating Vegan food benefit you and the environment?

The consumption of animal foods have been heavily linked to the chronic diseases that plague the world, especially so in developed nations. The number one killer of humans on the planet is heart disease, caused by atherosclerosis. The only way of eating that has ever been shown to reverse this in the majority of patients is a whole foods, plant-based diet (A way to reverse CAD [Coronary Heart Disease]? Caldwell Esselstyn). Plants don't contain any cholesterol and are very low in saturated fat. They are also rich in antioxidants and fibre, which animal products are not. As for protein, only plants can make amino acids, splitting Nitrogen in the air, so any protein from animal foods is just recycled plant protein, and all plants contain all essential amino acids for us human folk so don't worry about it! From an environmental point of view, the 56 billion land animals we eat are all herbivores, so we are feeding them huge quantities of plants and water to receive a fraction of food/calories in return. It is an extremely inefficient way to obtain what we need. Animal agriculture, according to a report by the United Nations, is a bigger contributor to greenhouse gas emissions than the transportation sector...so more than all cars, trucks, planes, trains and ships combined. As the population is growing, we need to tend towards more plant-based diets to reduce our demands for the planet's resources. 

5. Why are you pleased to partner with Presca & what you like about the kit?

I am really happy to be partnered with Presca as their values and mission are closely aligned with my own. To know that my kit is made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets (the biggest plastic polluters in the oceans) is fantastic, especially when the quality of the kit is at such a high level. Presca's Grand Tour cycling kit is perfect for spending plenty of hours in the saddle and for the amateur racer whilst they also have a range of kit for elite riders. The kit is perfect for an aero, high-performance fit yet feels comfortable with a well-designed chamois in the shorts. When Presca make kit of this standard from up-cycled plastic bottles and fishing nets, why would you want to buy kit from anyone else? The fact that they also do custom kit and have no minimum order requirement is just another bonus for choosing your kit from Presca. You will not be disappointed.