The SAS Interview Series returns today with Comedian and full time cyclist, Wouter Meijs
Wouter, please introduce yourself to our other customer, that bloke who follows us on twitter and our other friend on the facebook.
I'm Wouter Meijs. I'm Dutch and 41 and I make my living as a cycling tour guide in Tenerife (and also soon in the UK, Italy, and Holland). When I'm not riding my bike I'm a stand-up comedian.
You are the world’s first and possibly only cycling
comedian. Some people would say that about the Spin Dr. too, but you and I both know that’s not completely accurate. So what was it that got you into telling
jokes for a living whilst riding your bike all over the world?
A combination of poor public transport and no driver's license. I noticed I could do some very nice gigs in the middle of nowhere
just by cycling to them (and back). When it got too far I’d usually take the train for
part of the journey.
And what was it that got you into first riding your bike?
My sister had an old blue racing bike and just when I’d seen
all these dutch heroes on tv going up Alpe d’Huez, I went out for a ride and
Who is your favourite road racer of all
time Wouter, and why?
Apart from you, that would be Jens Voigt, the way he won
races going for it alone and he seems to be friendly. Recently one of my cycling tour participants was wearing ‘Shut up legs’ socks, so Jens seems to have had some impact!
What’s the best thing about being Dutch? I’m guessing it's that there are no
hills whatsoever in Holland, apart from the Cauberg, obviously.
First of all, the worst thing is that there are no hills in Holland. The best
thing is that we grow up learning multiple languages. This has given me the
opportunities to travel, joke and work as
a cyclist abroad: where the hills are!
You know Wouter, whenever Mrs Spin lets me out for a ride on
my bike, inside my head I’m no longer that crazy old Spin Dr. Instead I’m instantly and magically transformed into Hennie Kuiper or Jan Raas, usually on my way to winning yet
another Amstel Gold and about to claim some more lifetime supplies of beer. So when
you’re riding your bike, who do you pretend to be?
I guess there’s not much pretence. I switch off most of my
mind and go into a meditative state. Some might ask what I’m thinking about? The answer is not much!
I hear that recently you’ve taken up escorting wannabe
cyclists up that big climb in Tenerife, the one those Sky racers use quite a
lot. What’s it like?
It is wonderful and an absolute privilege to take many
international fellow bike lovers up that vulcano. But also challenging as not
much of the island is flat, so wannabe is not enough!
Climbing the Teide is the
longest climb from sea level you can make in Europe: 2200 metres! We do this one or twice a
Wow. I bet you're pretty good at riding your bike by now! So how do you become the world’s fastest comedian?
Eat proper food, lots of organic, non-processed foods and much
What do you like most about working with Spin?
When I met Dr. Spin at a fair in London, he wasn’t trying to
be a salesman. What he did was just sharing his love for the material and
explaining why 25mm wide rims had less rolling resistance than narrow traditional rims, and much
more. Plus the bikes and wheels he brought with him that day looked amazing.
Thanks - you're too kind! Well, you've already come a long way in the worlds of comedy and cycling. So where next Wouter?
No idea, I’ve always lived day by day. I’d like to use a
quote of the great British philosopher Alan Watts; “I
have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in
the present, which is what there is and all there is.”
Profound! Who’s gonna win the two most important races of the year, de
Ronde and Roubaix this year?
My bets are on Stybar, G. Thomas and Terpstra (again)
Are there any other races that are special to you, and why?
Three days of de Panne. Because many times on my cycling
travels from the UK to Belgium and Holland, I passed through this nice area and
can watch it back. I’ve often done this route in 2 days: London, Dover,
Dunkerque, Belgian coast, Zeeland coast, Holland and met many other crazy
cyclists on the way.
Is there a question you wish that I’d asked and if so, what’s
That question is: “hey Wouter, how much percent of all car
journeys in the UK are 5 miles or less?”
The answer is: 69%!
Yes, do what the Dutch do, clear all
city centres from cars and get cycling! To work, shop, beach, anywhere!
That sounds like a top idea! Actually, apart from
racing and riding, what else is there?
Anything you wish for. There’s enough for anyone’s need, but
not for anyone’s greed – Gandhi
Many thanks for taking time out to speak with us Wouter. It's always a pleasure to catch up with you.
You can follow Wouter's epic cycling and comedy adventures, or join him and Chris Froome pounding the Teide climb here: