Once described by an acquaintance of Cordelia’s as ‘that Hipster guy with the massive beard dressed head to toe in Latex’ it’s clear that Matthew Swain (a.ka. The Swain Train) has made his mark further afield than just the cycling community of Plymouth. Matt Swain is somewhat of a celebrity within the Rockets family, even after hitting the red carpet since starring in the 2018 film, Beard Envy, he still always finds time (some say too much) to sit and ponder his cycling career over a large mocha with us down here on the Barbican. I sat down with the steel frame advocate #steelisreal to chat about how he got into cycling and what Rockets and Rascals means to him.
Having started riding back in 2014, spending a chunk his student loan on a Kona mountain bike (because let’s face it, that’s what student loans are for: buying bikes not books), Matt recalls his first rides consisting of a singular lap around Saltram. After initially riding with his sibling and his closest and oldest friend, a few months later Matt became a solo rider and continued up into the trails #nostalgia. Riding really became a tool for Matt to de-stress from the pressures of final year of university and his dad's battle with cancer. Shortly after starting out, Matt took part in a SkyRide to learn more about his bike and Plymouth and this, my pedal pushers, is what led the Swain Train to pull into the Rockets station down at Royal William Yard #tbt. The Swain Train has gone full steam ahead, competing in many local events, most recently including the Rockets Jan Fondo and Century Ride, pedaling over 5, 374 miles thus far. This was mostly done after finally converting to a road bike. Trying to climb up Barnstaple Close hill in Leigham on the Kona Cinder Cone and getting cramp in his calfs, hamstrings AND quads in BOTH legs as he rode home after the 2015 Plymouth Gran Fondo, meant it was time to purchase a 2015 @Genesis Equilibrium Disc Ltd in Flash Green made of Reynolds 725 steel - colours designed by local boy Gary Rough - to conquer those longer distances. And you know what they say, once you go steel you know it’s really the only frame worth riding.
To him Rockets and Rascals is a hub for anything cycling related. It’s allowed him to grow in cycling experiences, rub shoulders with other cycling legends and to build memories, which we hope we can continue to provide to the rockets crew, old and new!
Matt, we love having you as part of our cycling community here at Rockets, serving you and your mighty fine beard!
Words: Cordelia Roberts