Famous Last Words: Gareth Thomas

The Welsh rugby hero tells CW about taking up cycling, singing along to Queen, and donning budgie-smugglers on Christmas Day

Before I played rugby, I was a postman and I loved it because I was out in the fresh air and it kept me fit.

Cycling was a world that I walked into and knew nothing about; rugby was all I knew. The psyche may be the same — you have to be driven — but there are things that happen to the body, when it comes to endurance, that I knew nothing about, because I’d never trained for longer than 90 minutes.

My body has taken a lot of abuse over the years, so cycling is great, as there is less stress on the joints. It’s a sport for all ages, and since I’ve retired I’ve been open to other sports, and this is something I can see myself continuing 
to do.

I have some great memories of Wales and it has some beautiful countryside. I’ll be supporting Macmillan on the Etape Cymru, as I had grandparents that were affected by cancer, so it’s important for me to give back. It is also giving me the drive and encouragement to challenge myself over the next few months to be able to do it.

I think you should have some kind of challenge every day, whether that’s cycling a certain distance or doing something else. It’s about embracing things, not fearing them. If you live in your comfort zone, you never really find out anything about yourself.

I like to go out on my motorcycle when I can and walk my two golden setters, Amber and Ebony. I’ve spent so much time on the road that when I’m not doing anything it’s important I spend time 
with my partner 
and family.

Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen would be the theme tune for my life… “Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball….” It’s a great song. It’s me down to a ‘T’. I would’ve loved to have seen Freddie Mercury 
in concert.

I’d love to be able to fly because I hate walking. It’d probably make the cycling a bit easier too! I’d go to the moon and put a Welsh flag on it.

Going for a swim on Christmas day in a pair of budgie-smugglers, that’s the strangest thing I’ve ever done. It happens every year in Porthcawl — hundreds of people run in to the sea. It was absolutely freezing.

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