Not so much ‘anti-establishment’ as more ‘part of the furniture’, ViCiOUS are entrenched in London’s racing and we’re better off for it!
Grass roots racing is very much alive and well in and around all the boroughs of London.
The club scene is thriving and the local communities have seen steady progress in terms of everything from bike hire schemes to cycling networks.
London boasts so many niche cycling brands your head will spin and come summer you can forget about driving around a park without being slowed by any number of shapes and sizes happily (and rightfully) enjoying a friendlier mode of transport.
In a nutshell, cycling is booming in the big city and it can sometimes feel like its losing its individuality and it’s sense of humour, you are given any number of annoying titles and you are defined by your kit, apparently.
But then along comes ‘ViCiOUS’ the team with kit to make your eyes bleed, a cult status and a non existent entry criteria, i.e. don’t ask unless we ask you
I’m over simplifying, but you would need your pulse checked if you hadn’t noticed this crew at your local race…or you’re not at a cyclocross race, their preferred discipline.
Led by the horizontal Kevin Knox and founded by a collective of friends within the cycling industry, racing tooth and nail week in and week out and hosting events bigger teams shy away from its little wonder they share a very special place in our blackened hearts.
We grabbed five minutes with Mr Knox to see what makes these fluro anarchists tick.
Hiya mate, we’ve missed you at the London League, Peg is doing more racing than you?
She probably is, we’ve been racing Eastern League and EKCX this season but stopped racing just before Christmas. With the whole family racing getting up a 6:30 every Sunday to arrive in time for the U10 race takes it’s toll so we’ve finished the season early.
No excuses, we’re making sure you are pre-entered for all of Palace this year. So Kev, hit me, how did Vicious start?
Andy Waterman and I were doing National Trophy Cyclo-Cross races pretty much on our own when still in Dulwich Paragon but we both wanted to do something different to that. Back in 2009 there was quite DIY/Punk vibe to cyclocross especially in the US so we took our inspiration from that and Andy came up with the name ViCiOUS VELO. We found Bio-Racer would do small kit runs so I designed the kit and that was it. We asked Mark Perry and Simon Bird to join us, they’d both also been in Dulwich Paragon and that was it. We registered with BC and that was that.
You guys had some pretty obnoxious kit way before the likes of Attaquer hit the scene, it certainly still gets the cameras clicking, who designed it?
I designed it but it went through a lot of permutations before Andy and I agreed on a design. Initially it wasn’t fluro as Bio-Racer didn’t have a digital printer that could do it, we just did it CMYK. We had to wait a couple of years before we could go fluro. So far we’ve had three versions of our kit done. We’ve also made random T-shirts and caps that we’ve sold to help fund the stuff we do. ViCiOUS Velo has been as much a creative outlet for me as a cycling one.
Speaking of which, your event trophies, you guys cop much grief from BC for those?
Paul makes our Trophies and he’s done some really good ones. We’ve had grief from BC on our kit designs too, I’ve been phoned up at work by BC telling me that they don’t like the kit designs that we’ve submitted and that they don’t like stuff on our blog which is pretty ridiculous really.
What do you think of the current state of affairs in local racing?
I’m completely out of the loop with local racing. Cross always seemed to be the most relaxed option but now even at cross races you see people taking it way too seriously. Cross has grown over the last few years which is healthy, to the point that it’s becoming impossible to find venues that have enough parking. Road racing on the other hand seems to be in decline, so many road circuits aren’t used anymore, the Surrey League and SERRL are both a shadows of their former selves. Even at Palace the field sizes are constantly being reduced by BC. I can see road racing becoming something that only happens on closed circuits.
One of your rider’s seems to have an unnatural love for the 3 Peaks tell us more…
Badass is an animal (Delia Beddis), she’s won it twice and only races in it if she thinks that she can win it. She’s been riding cyclo-cross with us from way back. My best memory of Badass riding cross was at Shrewsbury where she came third in the National Champs behind Helen Wyman and Nicki Harris, it was an utter mudbath with us doing running bike changes in the pits. I don’t think I’ve ever been that muddy again.
The Knox family takes it to the next level with it’s racing, how do you handle all the bike washing, do you have a rota?
We’re lazy with bike cleaning, this season we’ve managed to dodge all of the wet races. I’ve only had to jetwash the bikes after the Ford Manor Farm round of the EKCX. You should get down there and do that race next season, It’s a very difficult but great course.
ViCiOUS seems to operate like the Masons, no one really knows how you join, if its possible or what the rules are, its all rather vague?
There is no joining process. In fact there’s really nothing much to us, we’re just a bunch of people that get on together and race. It’s grown over the years in a haphazard and dis-organised way. We often have people asking to join because that like the kit but that’s never going to get you into ViCiOUS Velo. Bribery works though.
Where would you like to see ViCiOUS this year?
Same as every week, we like to hit you with some quick fire questions:
Crit racing in France around Montreuil-sur-Mer, cobbles, a hill, and a table full of trophies. What more do you need?
Best cake stop
I only stop for punctures.
Corbyn or May
What’s the secret handshake?
Well its been fascinating sitting down with this stalwart of London racing, thanks a million Kev and we look forward to seeing you and the team at the races!
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