Who are you?
Mohammed AlAteeqi, A music teacher and a Kuwait national team Cyclist, Road Bike shop owner, bike mechanic, ex-motorcycle Road racer in many GCC (Gulf States) events, and ex-Mv Agusta motorcycle mechanic
What got you into cycling? Did someone inspire you? And how long have you been cycling?
"The story behind my cycling journey is a little bit strange. I wasn't into sports until an old friend, Khaled, told me about the Spartan race, a series of obstacle races of varying distances and difficulty ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances. In 2011, we completed our first race without any preparation and no sports history. That was the point of no return for both of us,
We started working out to build our fitness for the next race. I also started doing 5 & 10-km cross-country races for a few years. All was going well until I got one of the worst injuries in my sports career. I got shin splints in both legs, which put me in recovery mode for more than 5 months.
Throughout the same years, I raced motorcycles at Bahrain and Losail International Circuit in & Bahrain. I was really into it and even got a few trophies and podiums. That led me to get sponsored by Mv Agusta Kuwait and a job offer as a mechanic. This step brought me closer to the cycling world, as later on, I found it very helpful as a cycling mechanic and shop owner.
Due to the injuries and time spent as a motorcyclist, I look towards cycling as a way to recover and retain a good fitness level. After a few rides, I saw the resemblance between cycling and motorcycling. I felt the same joy and adrenaline rush of moto racing.
That was the point that got me into Cycling. In 2017, I quit moto-racing and Running to be a full-time cyclist, and I couldn't be happier."
What does cycling mean to you?
"Honestly, it means a lot.
Being a Cyclist is not easy. It’s costly, time-consuming, and requires a lot of dedication. But there is something about this sport that I still don't get. I have no clue why I ride for 3-4 hours a day! Does that mean this is a sport to me? I don't think so... I think it’s more than a sport. But cycling became part of my daily routine, and most of my close friends are cyclists.
On days I don’t ride my bike, I feel like something is off or missing. An important part of my day that keeps me active and happy. From the outside, I might seem addicted to cycling. However, it's a part of my daily life that keeps me alive."
What was your best ride ever?
"The best ride I remember was in Kayseri, Turkey. Back then, I was a member of the Kuwait cycling team. We had a 140 km, and my role was to protect the team leader and normalize any attacks.
The problem was I draw bad luck when racing.
In this race, I got a flat tire halfway through. Though that wasn’t the issue, the issue was that I was forced to change to a larger-size bike. That threw everything off, and it was unlike what I usually ride. Starting with the groupset, I ride Sram. The replacement bike had Shimano. I use a disc but got rim brakes instead.
I was at a fork in the road. I either give up or follow Rule #5 (Harden up.)
Pain and struggle are part of the cycling journey, and I had a team to support. So the choice was clear.
I fought as hard as I could, but after a glorious 50 km, I was forced to quit since my role in the race was completed, and I also suffered very bad cramps due to differences in bike sizes and geometries.
I have to say, the struggle made this day one to be remembered."
You ride for Kuwait's National Cycling Team; what is the experience in racing been like?
"Being part of Kuwait’s National Cycling Team is something I’m proud of. It’s not easy to ride with the best cyclist in Kuwait. It took a lot of hard work, effort, and time to be part of it, and I still need to do more.
It a continuous progress.
I used to race to join the team, and there is a huge difference between what I did before and now. Prior to joining the team, my riding style was like riding in a fast group ride with no tactics and strategies, just going full gas.
My experience with the team taught me that when racing, you need to read and wait for the right moment to do your task. For example, in some races, you don’t need to cross the finish line with the leading pack but instead work together to pull and support your team and get them on the top of the leaderboard.
Racing taught me a lot about discipline and sacrifice.
Working with a race director changed the way I raced and taught me how to be calm and how to race in a proper way, not to kill myself in the first 10 km because power is not everything in cycling; you need to be an actor in the peloton."
What can you tell us about being a Bike shop owner in Kuwait? What are your goals for Velo in the future?
"Being a shop owner is very hard, and there's no doubt about that.
The shop is co-owned by two of my friends and I. All three of us happen to be active athletes with regional & international races to prepare for. So you can imagine the difficulties in wearing multiple hats, especially when I have so much on my plate already.
Still, with that, I feel extremely grateful to be in this position and have the chance to help build up the sport in a place that desperately needs it.
We are doing our best to meet all needs of cyclists under one roof with the best prices in Kuwait. We’re also hoping to expand in the GCC, but that’s very challenging to achieve at the moment.
For the future, we have a 5-year plan that will guide us through this emerging market and position us for success. Soon Velo will have an E-shop where you can buy all your gear, bikes, and whatever you want with a click on your phone, tablet, and computer. We will also launch our home services soon.
We have a vision for the future of this region, so stay tuned to keep up with the latest."