There are loads of Twitter feeds that commentate bike races live. The one I keep going back to is @pelotonwatch. Run by Ross in Perth, it is a great resource in conjunction with his web site http://www.pelotonwatch.com/.
Ross was kind enough to answer a few questions for me last week.
NPC : Ross, tell us a bit about yourself.
PW : Not sure all that much to tell. I think most people know I live in Australia, Perth to be more specific. I was born here but I have a Scottish background. Other than that I am a pretty private person!
NPC : Are you an active cyclist?
PW : This may surprise people, but actually no. I rode quite a lot many years ago but not so much anymore. I still ride here and there but not to the extent I would call myself an active cyclist.
NPC : How long have you been following professional cycling?
PW : Not sure exactly when I really started following but over a decade ago. It has always been one of my favourite sports to watch. Back then I didn’t watch anything like what I do now, it was just what was on TV (usually not live) and reading up on major races. Over the years I have gradually watched more especially over the past four or five years.
NPC : What made you decide to set up @pelotonwatch?
PW : I found following a lot of the smaller races (and some of the larger ones) was quite difficult, and twitter helped solve that problem. I was doing a few race tweets early last year and I decided to start an account specifically for race tweeting.
@PelotonWatch is just over a year old now. It is really pleasing to see how many people find what I do useful.
The website wasn’t an afterthought but it came about a month or two later. I wanted a place to have start lists, results and race info that people could refer to. I think both really complement each other.
NPC : The big one, how do you do it? I have seen you commentating 3 races at once.
PW : To be honest I don’t really know. Once you get in to a rhythm on any given day I have found it comes naturally and you don’t really think about it. I think 3 is a good number of races that can be handled in one day, on the odd occasion might be a 4th.
Access to accurate information is the hardest part. You would think World Tour races would be the easiest to do, but that is not always the case. The organisations behind some of the smaller races have done a fantastic job with their tickers.
NPC : Does social media and your blog take up a lot of your time?
PW : When I am live tweeting a race I are generally doing it for around five hours. In a way we are lucky in Australia that the races are on in the evening. Depending on how many races are on that day you can be doing other things at the same time.
In terms of the website it depends, a couple of hours a day to keep start lists and results etc up to date.
NPC : Do you have a favourite pro rider?
PW : I think that is one of the hardest questions you can ask a cycling fan. To pick one rider as a favourite is very hard (for me anyway). Especially when you look at the styles of riders. You can’t for example compare Matt Goss to Cadel Evans, as they each target different things.
In terms of current riders for me it is really hard to go past Cadel Evans and Simon Gerrans. They have both achieved a long list of firsts for Australian cycling. I think a lot of people know I am a big fan of Matt Goss as well.
I am really looking forward to watching the younger generation over the next few years, names like Dennis, Durbridge, Meyer and Howard. Of course there is a number of other riders I love to watch and see win (not all Australian).
NPC : Do you have a favourite pro race?
PW : There are races I like more than others but I’m not sure I have a favourite. To me riders make the race, so while one year (or for a series of years) I might really enjoy a race the next I might not.
For world tour races I like the Ardennes classics. I also like races with a short sprint stage and a TT in the one day. Such as Poitou Charentes, Driedaagse De Panne and Criterium International. Personally I think they are great for fans as they are generally exciting, though not so much loved by the riders.
I would like to thank Ross for taking the time to answer the questions and recommend people follow him on Twitter and have a look at his excellent web site.