Rider of the month – Kennet Melin

Think you are tough enough? Tony Aspell and Tinsley Janes, more commonly known as TJ, will be competing, yet again, in the Tour of Friendship. Although Tony dominated the Masters Category for five years in a row, he was pipped to the post by TJ in 2015! Both competitors are returning in 2016 to battle it out again.  Check out what you are up against below.


Register for the Tour of Friendship 2016.

Introducing Mr. Tony ASPELL


“My top secret weapon is MY WOMAN!!! She feeds me all healthy foods veggies and fish with lots of fruits and after my hard day training I think its massage that works for me”

  • Name: Tony Aspell
  • Nationality: British (Born in the Isle of Man)
  • Age: 66 Years old
  • Weight: 73 kg
  • Height: 173 cm
  • Category you will be racing in: + 60 Legends
  • Trophy:  5 times TOF winner 
  • Number of km you do a week: 300-500 during race season
  • Maximum speed:  50-53kph on the flat.


Introducing Mr. Tinsley JANES


“My secret weapon for cycling includes Coffee, Waxed Legs, Banana’s, Secret Isotonic Drink, Gels. Lots of KM’s, Massage once a week. Healthy Kiwi Food, lots of Fish”

  • Name: Tinsley JANES
  • Nationality: New Zealand
  • Age: 64 Years old
  • Weight:  74 kg
  • Height: 175 cm
  • Category you will be racing in: + 60 Legends
  • Trophy: Age Group Winner 2015. Tof F
  • Number of km you do a week: Average 350 km
  • Maximum speed:  50-53kph on the flat.

Mongolia July 2014 002resized

When did you go on your first cycle adventure?

My first cycle adventures would have been back in Sweden when I was about 5 years old: spreading out loose sand on asphalt to enable skidding through the corners, vests and helmets to look like speedway rider and a lot of scraped up knees!

Since then, my riding style has changed a little bit. I still wear a helmet, but I spend more time on the bike than off!

My first longer distance ride was on SpiceRoads’ Hanoi to Luang Prabang trip in 2010. I loved every second of it, and I realized this is how I want to spend my vacations for as long as I’m physically able to. Which I hope will be a very long time!

How many SpiceRoads tours have you been on?

After the initial trip to Vietnam and Laos in 2010 it took me almost 4 years until I could get off work for another longer trip. However, in the last 18 months I have been on 3 trips: Yunnan Discovery, the Mongolia Off Road and most recently the Bangkok to Phuket. I have also done a handful or so one day rides with Spiceroads around Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

What countries have you visited by bicycle?

Vietnam, Laos, China, Mongolia and Thailand. I have also been riding in the Netherlands, Germany and Australia, but they weren’t bicycle holidays per se.

What do you look for when you are choosing a trip?

A combination of challenging riding in an exciting destination. This normally means stunning views and mountains to climb! Another plus is choosing a tour off-the-beaten-track as you get to see places where not many other tourists go.

What do you enjoy about bicycle touring?

I love cycling almost as much as I love travelling. Getting both for the price of one is a combination that’s pretty hard to beat. However, some less obvious aspects that I’ve really loved about the trips is the company; people who choose to spend their vacation on a bicycle in a remote country away from mass tourism tend to be very friendly, interesting, curious and open-minded. I also enjoy being able to eat as much as you want of the marvelous local food without having to worry about putting on weight!

How much training do you do before a ride?

I don’t specifically train for the trips, but I normally ride a mixture of road and mountain biking 3-4 times a week. I also try to do some running and go to the gym now and then. The exception being the first tour back in 2010, it was the first time I’d ever done anything like this. I had no idea what to expect. The trip description said the trip was intended for experienced riders – I pictured myself ending up with Lance Armstrong and his mates going for some off season fun (this was before he was officially caught as a cheater, I should point out). So I trained for that trip as I would train a marathon. I quickly realized I didn’t need to worry as the group was of very mixed ability. Everyone was more than happy to wait for each other and we all got on great! This seems to be the norm on these trips.

Do you have any advice for someone that is looking to go on a cycling adventure for the first time?

Just go! In my experience, there are two types of people: those who would never consider spending their holiday on a bicycle, and those who absolutely love every second of the trip. So if you’re browsing for cycling holidays, you are by definition in the latter category of people. I can almost guarantee you will have the time of your life, get an overdose of stunning scenery, eat the best food you’ve ever tasted and you will make a few new friends along the way!

Obviously being fit does help, so if you’re not regularly training then doing some riding in the months or at least weeks leading up to the trip will make the experience more enjoyable. You certainly won’t need to be fit enough to ride at a competitive level, but you will be spending long hours in the saddle each day and if you’re not used to it, it will take a toll on your body, even if you’re not riding very fast.


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