As one of the most famous climbs in Britain, Swain’s Lane has become a fixture amongst the London cycling community. We interviewed John Blight, who is taking part in the event for the 3rd time in a row, and he tells us his hacks to get to the top!

If you’re aiming to meet up with real cyclists, Rapha Soho before 9 am is the place to be. Having breakfast at the clubhouse is part of the community's daily ritual. We kick-started the day there meeting the cyclist John Blight. John wears a black Gillet on top of an aero Jersey matching his ultra-light Custom Cannondale bicycle. The 90’s cycling fashion vibes are somehow revisited and updated by his edgy and innovative style, which consequently is a bold trace of a character embracing everything he does. He shares his current projects with us and tells us exactly how he prepared for Urban Hill Climb 2018.

L: When did you start cycling?

J: It was probably through my dad, he told me how to fix bicycles. I have a picture of me when I was really young with a bicycle upside down, what a sacrilege! It has always been related to mountain biking, I suppose. I did a little bit of BMX then I’ve moved to road cycling. I tried a friend’s road bike and that was like omg this is so fast, I mean so fast! And that was it! I was in it.

L: You’re doing the Urban Hill Climb next week, tell us a little bit about it.

J: I went to watch Will Adams two years ago at a club ride out, and it was awesome, I really love the old-school vibes of it, I think it’s really cool. The event involves really old clubs that have been around for about 100 years. I’ve always been okay going uphill so why not give it a go next year? Then next year came, I didn’t really train specifically for it but I did okay, and then I was hooked, so I decided to commit and get ready for 2018. I thought about what bike to get, and I decided to base around a specific kind of bike, I know what I want to do, I know the kind of part to get.

If you like cycling, looking at the parts and stuff is less interesting when it comes to the checkout and the bill.

L: What kind of preparation is involved prior the event? Do you have a specific plan for it?

J: I called it project Hill Climb. Once you start thinking, How light can you get with a bike?, you ended up in the exotic world of carbon fibre. I found a guy called Oliver Bridgewood, who had done something similar to what I wanted to do with the frame. He removed the frame's paint, and I took that as an example and thought well that might be worthwhile.

L: Do you have a coach?

J: A couple of months ago someone said ‘Have you got a coach for it?’ Then I realised I’m putting a lot of work on this bike but if I’m not physically ready for it that doesn’t make much sense. My coach is Matt Clinton, he used to be a Hill Climb National Champion. I never had a coach before, so that was quite interesting.

L: What’s the most exotic part of your bicycle?

J: The seat post, I wanted a set back seat post.  Typically they are made out of carbon fibre and in the size that fits my bike they are normally straight, then I found this Italian brand called Dinamo. When I saw they were in pre-production I emailed them straight away, the saddles are all made by hand. Another piece is probably the skewers, which are made in Germany and stupidly light - they were quite difficult to get. I had an idea but there was quite a lot of research involved. If you like cycling, looking at the parts and stuff is less interesting when it comes to the checkout and the bill.

L: How much does your bike weigh?

J: My bike is 4.9 kg

L: Your bicycle is pretty expensive, do you worry about crashing?

J: Yes, I think that’s kind of part of riding, especially riding in London. Cycling is really good at just grabbing you, taking all of you.

L: Where do you see yourself in five years?

J: Maybe doing hill climbs a bit more, doing it better. Maybe doing a bit of racing. I don’t know, it changes quite a bit I think. In the cycling industry, one thing leads to another, there are always big trends going on. At the moment, there’s a strong focus on gravel, I don’t know what the next one is going to be.

L: There’s a lot of panache in Hill Climbs, how does that look like to you?

J: When you think about hill climbs, you normally think about someone in pain, with their cycling cap on backwards, and people cheering. I don’t wear a cap because I don’t want to shave my hair. Caps don’t really suit me. I’d probably go for some nice shades.

L: When you’re climbing do you completely zone out?

J: Last year I heard a friend calling my name. That was brave and that really helped. It makes a massive difference. Near the lower bit, it’s really quiet, you’re going hard and when it kicks up that’s where the crowd is.

L: What’s coming next?

J: I’m going to Reading then I’ve got another one on the next day down in Kent, then Matlock. This is all to qualify for the nationals, which I’d love to do. I know it’s really hard and competitive, but I’m quite ambitious, so let’s see. If that happens then that’s great. Then I’ll go for a nice meal with my girlfriend because I’ve been avoiding dessert for a long time now.

Follow @lakahq on Instagram and tag two friends on the pic below for a chance to win 2 FREE tickets for Urban Hill Climb.