Commons to Commonwealth: Ghana bike owner Symonds builds his personal legacy | Commonwealth Video games 2022

As the Commonwealth Video games’ largest cyclists flew round Wolverhampton on their £10,000 superbikes, the odor of glory of their nostrils, a 48-year-old doorkeeper on the Homes of Parliament used to be doing his easiest to maintain – and, in his personal small approach, to create a legacy of his personal.

Whilst gold within the males’s time trial used to be gained by way of Australia’s Rohan Dennis in 46min 21.24sec – with England’s Fred Wright and Wales’s Geraint Thomas taking silver and bronze respectively – Ghana’s Chris Symonds may take really extensive pleasure in his efficiency, in spite of completing 16 mins again.

Now not handiest as a result of Symonds, who turns 50 subsequent yr, had males greater than part his age in the back of him as he got here forty seventh out of 54. But in addition as a result of he has stored in form by way of driving from his house in Edmonton to the Palace of Westminster, the place he works as a doorkeeper, chargeable for each safety and rite.

“The adventure into paintings is set 12 miles on a hybrid commuter motorcycle,” he defined afterwards, flanked by way of his Slovakian spouse Lucia, and his children Jakub and Lukas. “You attempt to paintings up a head of steam, but it surely’s no longer simple with the entire site visitors lighting.” His motorcycle isn’t parked within the Space of Commons, then again. “It’s more secure within the Space of Lords, to be fair!” he mentioned.

Cyclist Rohan Dennis.
Rohan Dennis completed 16 mins forward of Chris Symonds within the males’s particular person time trial. {Photograph}: Tom Jenkins/The Father or mother

Requested about his process, Symonds had a glint in his eye as he defined: “I’ve been a doorkeeper for twenty years, since Gordon Brown and David Cameron had been top ministers. We stay the doorways to the chamber, to verify other people such as you don’t get in. I’ve barred access to a couple of well-known other people, however I’d higher no longer say who.”

Symonds is in a position to compete on the Commonwealth Video games as a result of biking is an open match with out a qualifying time. Now not everyone seems to be pleased with having biking Eric the Eels in Birmingham. However Symonds, who used to be born in London to an English father and a Ghanian mom, believes he and others are inspiring the following era of riders from Africa and in different places who don’t essentially suppose biking is for them.

Chris Symonds pictured whilst at work as a House of Commons doorkeeper.
Chris Symonds while at paintings as a doorkeeper on the Space of Commons. {Photograph}: Courtesy of Chris Symonds

“The Commonwealths get a complete spectrum of athletes and if nations are to increase and get along the likes of Australia and Nice Britain, they want most of these races to be informed,” mentioned Symonds, who’s the oldest street bike owner at those Video games. “The right way to arrange a motorcycle. What wheels to make use of. All that form of stuff. Coaching programmes.

“You wish to have to do those occasions to recuperate and higher and higher. So possibly in 10 or twenty years, possibly the smaller countries will have the ability to compete with the larger countries.” One position above him used to be any other history-maker, 46-year-old Jim Horton, who was the primary bike owner to compete for the Falkland Islands. His moderate pace used to be 35km/hour – a long way slower than Dennis, who sped across the route at 48km/h. However as Horton identified afterwards, his £2,700 motorcycle used to be the heaviest within the box, whilst the location of his gear-shifter supposed he needed to alter his driving place in an effort to trade them.

“I’m positive I’m dwelling the dream,” he mentioned. “I feel there’s a position for the Commonwealth Video games, I feel there’s a position for amateurs who educate onerous and get to the highest in their recreation. I feel that is the precise position for it. I feel there are different puts for pros, the Grand Excursions, the sector championships, this can be a house for each, I feel it really works.” Horton additionally printed that he had approached his idol, Geraint Thomas, to hope him the entire easiest. Then again it wasn’t the most productive day for the Welshman as he crashed within the opening two mins of the race after skidding at the street paint and right into a barrier.

Cyclist Jim Horton of the Falkland Islands.
‘I’m positive I’m dwelling the dream’… Jim Horton of the Falkland Islands. {Photograph}: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

“The recon I did in site visitors so there’s no boundaries up or anything else,” Thomas mentioned. “So I used to be considering it’s a sweeping left however there are boundaries in the best way and their legs protruding and it’s like: ‘Oh shit.’ It’s by no means easy is it? Then again Thomas’s temper lightened when requested in regards to the likes of Symonds and Horton competing. “They are saying it’s a pleasant Video games, don’t they?” he mentioned.

“It’s been excellent to form of combine with all kinds of other countries. No disrespect, however probably the most countries I’ve by no means even heard of, you understand, so it’s been great. It’s more or less peculiar you probably have other people come into the pen requesting pictures that you just’re racing towards. But it surely’s the sort of nice surroundings and a really perfect match and I’m in point of fact glad to be right here representing Wales.” Symonds, in the meantime, is already considering of his subsequent Commonwealth journey.

Requested whether or not he’s going to be again for Victoria in 2026, when he’s going to be 52, he checked out his trainer. “Trainer, will I be again?” he requested. “4 years’ time? Australia?” “Maximum indubitably” got here the answer, as Symonds broke out into a good looking smile.

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