Katie Archibald column: Three minutes of fame for Gus Gillies, bike mechanic

Katie gives her professional mechanic boyfriend, Gus, his brief moment in the limelight

My boyfriend is a mechanic. A professional, though he also does his fair share of unpaid labour at home. I get exceptional support from British Cycling and Wiggle-High5 maintaining my fleet but, somehow, I can always find a problem to take to Gus.

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The grind has been pretty light for him today though. We made pizza, had friends round, watched a movie, and now we’re sat in bed ready for the land of nod. He hasn’t touched his 5mm all day and there’s not a chain oil mark on him.

A full day off? Don’t be silly. Instead of fixing my bikes, tonight I’ll have him fixing my column. This is my three-minute interview with Angus Gillies, bicycle mechanic.

Why did you become a mechanic? He stutters over a few variations of his answer that he keeps verbally erasing through fear of insulting his trade. They all imply he just sort of fell into it but the answer we’re most happy with is: “I’ve been a cyclist as long as I can remember. I love bikes. But it interests me more to work on them sometimes than it does to ride them.”

What’s your favourite thing about being a mechanic? “Problem solving.” I then let him paint a scene that implies he’s both Hugh Laurie in the TV show House and Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock. I start to daydream about eponymous TV shows and try to think of one that’s female, internally fist pumping when I get The Mindy Project, and zone back into Gus saying something about internal cabling.

He has skipped a question and is now moaning about the worst bike he’s ever worked on. I get him back on track: What’s the best bike you’ve ever worked on? “Cervélo R5 Ca. It costs £7,500.”

I ask him if this made him nervous. He scoffs. I remind him of the time I saw him crack his own frame man-handling it into our bike stand.

He takes exception to what I’m implying and ends the interview. I don’t really mind, I’ve lost interest in the game anyway since now I’m wondering if man-handling is a sexist term I should remove from my lexicon. Answers on a tweet please.

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