'I love going to charity shops with loads of grannies': British national champion on his favourite hobby

In this Q&A, Cameron Mason tells Cycling Weekly about his earliest cycling memories, a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South Africa, and browsing clothes racks with grannies

Cameron Mason winning the British CX Championships 2024
(Image credit: Ian MacNicol/SWpix.com)

Cameron Mason is a cyclo-cross racer for the Belgium-based Cyclocross Reds team. He is the current British national cyclo-cross champion, winning the title for a second time this January, and is a rising star in the discipline. Mason hails from Scotland and races in mountain biking as well as CX.  

What was your first bike?

The first bike I remember having is a silver Ridgeback, 20-inch I think it was, and it had mud guards on it but then as I got more serious I realised mud guards weren't cool. Ten-year-old me took off the mud guards and then I felt like I had more of a race bike. And then a bike after that was a Scott Voltage, a bright red Scott Voltage, and that was proper sendy. It felt like a dirt jump bike but I did loads and loads of Scottish racing on that bike as well. 

What was the first race you ever watched?

Well, my cousin used to race at a pretty high level in the UK. So the first race I was probably at would have been a national British mountain bike round, probably in Wales or down south somewhere. But watching him, watching my uncle do the bottles in the pits and all that. That's my first kind of racing memory with my cousin, Callum, racing a national round.

Who was your first cycling hero? 

Danny MacAskill. I would have had posters on my wall of Danny. That was because of YouTube videos, from seeing him live in show in Scotland. We used to go to the Fort William Downhill World Cups. Danny MacAskill would have been my first cycling icon and he still is today, even though he's not really actually connected to racing, which is a bit different.

What is the best place that your career has taken you to?

South Africa, Stellenbosch area, for the Cape Epic which I did with Specialized Racing in 2022. Those two, three weeks were just crazy, amazing trails, such different cultures. Good bits and bad bits of the culture, obviously. It was just totally unlike anything I've done before because I've been very kind of Europe based, so that was pretty insane.

Cameron Mason with his face caked in mud

(Image credit: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

What first appealed to you about cyclo-cross

It wasn't a conscious decision. When I was 11 or 12 years old, I was really enjoying racing cross country mountain bike, and I just wanted to do more racing. So naturally, when I got to September, and October, and the mountain bike racing stopped, I was like 'Ah Mum, Dad can we go to some more bike racing?' And the only bike racing that was on was cross. We learned where the Scottish cross series races were, and then just started going to them. We got an Islabike from the club and then started going there. 

What would you be doing if you weren’t a cyclist? 

I would probably be another sort of athlete, probably. Or, I'd quite like to be like a chef or a cook, like a personal chef. I'd quite like to help people and give people good food in some way. Or I'd be doing social, outdoor enterprise type stuff so like helping kids discover the outdoors. I think a lot of people in disadvantaged situations don't get to experience how amazing being outdoors is and I can credit a lot of what I do to that. So I'd like to help other people get into the outdoors.

What do you like doing in your free time when you’re not racing or training?

Nothing that exciting because you can't get your heart rate or your adrenaline going too high. Probably charity shopping. I love going down charity shops and just having a browse, seeing if I can get lucky and get some bargains and cool things. Scottish high streets are really good for that because they're just bargains and you're just shopping with loads of grannies and stuff. That's very like low stress and very far away from bike riding, so that's a good off-the-bike activity.

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