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CHANGING ROOM CHAT: Mark Rohan, Bikeshed Manager at The Campus, Quinta do Lago

Firstly Mark, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in sport?

In hospital you come into contact with some great people. I used sport to rehab initially and build up a bit of health and integrate back into the community.

I then saw the opportunities to travel, meet new people, and see new parts of the world.

Sport is part of who you are. When you come off the pitch or off the bike after a good session you just feel alive. You have to make the most of what you have got.

I’m finding ways to live a normal life like I used to. Spinal injuries can be very challenging physically, but also mentally – because your whole world changes.

However, sport is very powerful as it helps breaks down a lot of barriers.

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What does a typical day for you look like as the manager of the Bike Shed at Quinta do Lago?

At the moment I recruit people who can help us showcase what we have here. Not just getting bikes ready, but planning routes and putting together a package to send to cycling clubs around Europe. We try and offer cycling in Portugal to a broad spectrum of people – and offer a broad service. Quinta do Lago is associated with the best golf resort in Europe – and we have an obligation to replicate that in our other offerings. That’s the pressure! I want people to see the hidden gems of the Algarve.

Ireland to Portugal is obviously a huge lifestyle change. How are you enjoying the transition?

As an athlete you travel a lot. I’ve been on the road a long time and so it is not an issue. Nowadays it is so easy. There is no adjustment really – it’s just better weather and getting into a habit of putting on sun cream every morning!

The Campus has become a hub for high-performance athletes. Why do you think this is?

The Campus is accessible. We respect people’s needs. We don’t judge them – we see them as an athlete. They want to be the best that they possibly can and we put processes in place to enable them to achieve those goals. We don’t discriminate – we just want to enable people to become the best version of themselves.

Coming from a high-performance sport background myself, I know there’s a list of things you need. There’s the fundamentals, and then the add-ons. Having an open-mind and being respectful – and listening to the client’s needs is the biggest thing. We’ll meet with clients, establish what their needs are, and then try and go above-and-beyond that.

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If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring athlete, what would that be?

The KISS approach – Keep It Simple, Stupid! One of the best pieces I ever received was to keep it simple – especially nowadays with all of the advances in technology, apps, nutrition.

Keep it simple, work hard, and the all other stuff will take care of itself.

What makes the Bikeshed such a unique sporting holiday?

We’re like a big family. We all want the best for The Campus. Our inside knowledge of the Algarve is what separates us – the secret cafes, the nice coast-road that nobodies on that you can experience.

But also, the level of bikes that we have. We’re trying to continue the quality of our offering. It’s a combination of the staff and the knowledge factor.

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Why do you think cycling has enjoyed such a boom recently?

In the UK, it’s down to Team Sky and the Olympic success. Cycling has become more accessible. The government has put some initiatives in place (Cycle2Work scheme for example). In general, people are becoming healthier. Also, urbanisation is a factor. More people are moving to cities and promoting exercise, with places like London and Manchester promoting cycling and making it a safer option. Cycling is also a sport that lends itself to a healthy lifestyle throughout your life.

People are time-poor and cycling is something that you can do in any timeframe, on your own, or with other people.

What are your prediction for this year’s Tour de France?

I have no idea! I think cycling has become a cleaner sport – and so it’s not as predictable as it once was. It’s become more exciting to watch.

Finally, tell us something about you that we might not know?

I am in the process of establishing an orange orchard! I want to have a healthy lifestyle and be self-sustaining, which lends itself to the climate here.

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Interview conducted and written by Joe Tyler – Senior Account Executive at Henman Communications.

The Campus at Quinta do Lago: https://www.quintadolago.com/en/the-campus/

Interested in sharing your sporting story and being featured in Changing Room Chat? E-mail joe@henmancom.com to find out more!