Mick Gough is a mate of mine. No, that isn’t the reason that I have the task (or honour) of telling you all about him and how good he is on a bike…any bike for that matter. Mick is 44 years old and yet rides with the passion and commitment of the ‘next big thing’ that a lot of kids have, yet take for granted. The ‘Goughster’ isn’t a big man, in fact he’s kinda on the small side when it comes to the male physique (5’ 5.5" to be exact). Picture Peter Pan, but on a bike, the boy who never grew old or up, because when our Mick gets on a bicycle, pirates and pixies, ladies and gentleman, he can fly, he can fly, he can fly...

DIRT ISSUE 131 - JANUARY 2013

Words by Steve ‘the Butcher’ Walker. Photos by Thomas Gaffney

Yo Mick, how’s it going?

I’m smashin' thanks mate, all good!

Where do you live?

Burntwood, Staffordshire.

We meet up a lot at BMX tracks. Do you think riding a 20" helps with other forms of bike riding?

I personally think that if you can ride a BMX at a good level you can ride most any other bike with not too much drama. The skills involved definitely transfer over to MTB without a doubt.

You race a lot of BMX. Have you ever thought of racing a similar discipline but on a mountain bike (like 4X)?

I haven’t yet, but I’d certainly give it a go. If you can lend me that Pivot 4X (in the photos) I’ll be at the next race for sure! Love that bike! I wouldn’t mind a bash at DH too.

When I watch you ride you always seem to be having so much fun. Is that what keeps you looking so young?!

Yeah that and Oil of Olay, plus I sleep in an oxygen tent for 10 hours a day. Oh and not forgetting the goat’s milk bath I have daily with my Swedish au pair. Oh yeah!

The fun factor thing, it’s because you ride flat pedals right?

I guess so. I’ve always run flat pedals since I was a nipper. I certainly have more fun on flats, I know I can bail if I get it wrong.

Most of the kids (including us old uns) are all running clips for BMX and mountain bikes, without the bike skills to back it up. What’s your opinion?

I see a lot of people young and old on clips and some scare the bejeezus out of me watching them. You can tell the riders who’ve gone straight to clips without serving their apprenticeship on flats. I think you should learn to ride well on flats and get your skills up to scratch before even thinking of clipping in otherwise you’re asking for trouble.

Have you ever clipped in yourself and did you enjoy riding the ‘Robot’ style?

Yeah I’ve tried it and it felt faster for sure, but I just couldn’t relax with them, so they’re gathering dust in the garage now. I’ll use them on my road bike if that ever comes out, but not for off–road. I tried, but it’s not for me.

I’ve seen you manual entire straights and then jump them, then manual/jump them, then jump into manual, into jump them. Your combos are mind boggling. How do you think them up?

I watch what the top guys do at tracks and watch vids and edits from time to time and think, ‘I’ll have a go at that’. Then I try and apply it to wherever I‘m riding. I love manulin’ straights, I get a kick out of it. It doesn’t always go to plan though. At Wolverhampton BMX track earlier this year I did a fantastic jump to manual…to tank slap…to casualty! Still got an ankle like a shire horses hoof from that one. If you wanna do the dance sometimes you’ve gotta pay da piper.>>

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[part title="Mick Gough | Bulletproof Talent Page Two"]

Must be pancake day...well almost.
Must be pancake day...well almost.

Your trail/XC mountain bike is a singlespeed DMR. Why a bike with one gear?

My best mate Steveo started riding singlespeed a couple of years back and I thought I’d give it a whirl, more so for the fitness. I’ve got into riding without gears and I like how quiet it is. No rattle off the derailleur, less things to go wrong and the bike looks cleaner with less clutter. You’ve gotta work harder up hills, no dropping it into the granny ring to make climbing easier, so it’s really good for the fitness.

I personally think DMR should sponsor you. Shall we ask them?

That’d be tip top. Yeah, give them a bell for me. Ask them if they’d be interested in an old boy that still loves getting rad form time to time! That’d be mega. I’d probably end up with a pair of grips and a sticker. Ha.

What other mountain bikes do you own?

I’ve got a Giant Glory, Iron Horse 6 point and a 24/7. The Glory only really comes out for the Alps though. It’s the DMR Bolt that does the miles and sees most of the mountain bike action.

Your 45 (or thereabouts), do you ever see yourself retiring from bike riding and racing?

I suppose at some point it’s inevitable unfortunately. But I can’t see it happening anytime soon, I’m having too much fun. I’m 45 next year and I’m just as excited about riding as ever. I remember when I was 13 and razzin around on my Raleigh Ultra Burner. I wanted a Skyway TA and my dad said, ‘Son it’s just a fad, you’ll grow out of this’. Thirty years later and I’m still stoked on riding bikes and loving it. I’ll keep doing it for as long as I can and as long as I’m still having fun.

Now you’re nearly an old man! Can you still do a back flip?

Yeah I can still do them no bother. Booked a day off work a few years back to go and learn them at Corby before I turned 40. Learnt a few combo’s like X–ups, and turn down flips and stuff, and I dust them off from time to time. I still love doing them.

I recently watched a film called ‘The three headed shark, with two tails, eight eyes, and a bad attitude (that hunted surfers)’. Someone told me you are a good surfer. How’s the rush from surfing compare to the one you get from bike riding?

Haven’t seen that one. I go surfing as often as possible. It’s fantastic and is a different kind of buzz from riding. The surfing is always different every time you go because every wave is different. But the track and the trails don’t change really. I love doing both in equal amounts, they’re both really exhilarating and mega fun. The good thing about the surfing though is that there’s less chance of getting hurt than the biking. But then there’s not much chance of drowning whilst out on the bike is there!

How long have you been a welder? Have you ever thought of making your own frames?

Too long mate. The peepers (eyes) are starting to pay for it now. Me and my mate Steveo have cut up a few frames in the past, tinkered with them and re–welded them in the chop shop. He’s got some good ideas and we’re in the process of building a full sus MTB at the moment, so watch this space…

Have you enjoyed this interview? Let’s face it, it’s been a long time coming...

Mate I’ve loved it. It’s only taken 30 years to get a feature in a magazine! Good things come to those who wait.

I’d just like to say, thanks for doing this interview and that you’re an inspiration to all us ‘old boys’ who are still at it! Have you anyone you’d like to thank?

Well thank you very much, I’m truly flattered! Yeah got loads of peeps I’d like to say thanks to. Firstly to the ALV boys, all the B’wood/B’hills boys ‘n girls, you know who you are. Pete, Phil, Toki, Gaz ‘n Geth for keeping me stoked up on riding. Bert ‘n Kirk at J and R Bicycles, and Sean for their help and support with the team and thanks to you Steve for sorting this out, it’s been a blast! You deserve a rise...