12 Sep, 2016

Off The Mic & On The Bike


Continuing our regular Q&A with cycling personalities, we chat to well known race commentator Alistair ‘Allycat’ Cronk, who is a keen cyclist himself when he is not the voice behind the events in and around Gauteng. – BY KYLE DEELEY.

MC: Who taught you to ride a bicycle?

AC: My dad taught me to ride a bike.

MC: What is it about cycling that hooked you?

AC: I have always been interested in sport and I have a very sporty family. I was talking to one of my mates about cycling back in 1989, he made it sound like fun, so I decided to give it a try.

MC: What is your favourite cycling memory?

AC: I used to love riding with my mates on the weekend. We would do a six or seven-hour long ride on a Sunday… it was as if we were so fit that we were having fun.

MC: What do you do when you’re not cycling?

AC: My life revolves around sport. My life is spent more behind a microphone, but I still ride when I can. Unfortunately, it is not as much as I would like, but I enjoy my job and I have an edge as I understand what the riders are going through. This makes it a whole lot easier to relate to them.

MC: What is your biggest achievement as a cyclist?

AC: I have three race wins under my belt, the biggest being the Hell of the North 90km Tandem Race, but that was a long time ago.

MC: What is your favourite race to compete in?

AC: I can’t say I have a favourite race, as such. I enjoy all the races I take part in as long as they are well organised and challenging.

MC: Who do you enjoy riding with most?

AC: My mates and my girlfriend. With my mates it is a more social ride, but with my girlfriend it gets a little more serious. She is a professional triathlete, so she forces me to lift my game.

MC: Most embarrassing cycling memory?

AC: Arriving at a race and realising I had packed a set of women’s bib shorts into my bag… That was the longest 105km race!

MC: Who are your heroes?

AC: I believe that anyone who uses their talent to the best of their ability is a hero, be it a sportsman, a musician or an actor. However, mothers that have children and still find the time to train, they are heroes.

MC: Tell us something people don’t know about you.

AC: I have a twin brother, I have completed 10 Comrades Marathon races, and I always wanted to be a professional soldier.

MC: Is commentating a hard industry?

AC: Commentary is not that hard to get into, but it is hard to be good at it. There are a lot of guys out there that think they can commentate. You need to make it exciting and informative, and you need to be interested in the sport that you are commentating at. Try acknowledging the riders, because they have done their best.

MC: Have you ever made a commentating blunder?

AC: I have never had a major blunder, but I have been on the wrong end of people’s abuse a few times. It is hard not to take it to heart, and unfortunately, when someone has had a bad day, you as an announcer are the first point of contact.

MC: Who is your all-time favourite cyclist?

AC: I have enjoyed watching lots of cycling careers on the international circuit. As a South African, however, the one that stands out is Robbie Hunter. He wasn’t the first to go overseas, but he was the first to get it right, and I remember the day he won the stage of the Tour de France. I was on the edge of my seat and it was an unbelievable achievement for a South African rider.

MC: Who do you see as the biggest loss to cycling?

AC: I had the privilege of spending time with the late Burry Stander. What an absolute gentleman and the definition of a true sportsman. I would have loved to see what he would have achieved.

MC: What is in the future for you?

AC: I hope to one day be in a position to work at a prestigious international event and maybe even crack a television role, but right now I am enjoying being able to interact with people at races.

MC: Any advice for those just entering cycling?

AC: Enjoy it, be safe on the roads and trails, and ride in groups. Riding with your friends or in a group is a lot safer, and riding with a group that is stronger than you will be even better. This will motivate you to become better and will force you to push yourself harder.

MC: What is your favourite quote?

AC: “If you’re not tasting blood, you’re not going fast enough.”

Kyle Deeley

Kyle Deeley

Editorial Assistant |