I was never really all that interested in school or education. I was too easily distracted.
My report cards would read the same message year after year.
"IF ALASTAIR APPLIED HIMSELF TO ALL SUBJECTS THE WAY HE DID WITH THOSE HE ENJOYED..."
I very quickly found myself being drawn to the subjects that involved numbers, geometry, visual identity, and working with my hands. Little did I know that these would become the foundation to what I would later come to rely and thrive on as my career within the cycle industry began.
I recall vividly a pop up class one year. I was about 14 years old. It was 'careers planning'.
"WHAT WAS A FRESHLY FACED TEENAGER WHO SPENT ALL OF HIS TIME RIDING BIKES GOING TO KNOW ABOUT PLANNING HIS FUTURE?"
The class was a 1 hour session filled with multiple choice questions on a computer screen designed to spit out your perfect calling in life.
I looked around at the other kids, many of whom were fizzing in their seats, clearly bursting at the seams to explain exactly how they were going to become doctors, pilots or teachers just like their parents had been.
I was not so sure. All I could think about was the sick bit of forest I had discovered a few days earlier and how I couldn't wait to get home to go and ride laps on my trusty rigid 21 speed.
I sat and started at the monitor, wondering what the answer was going to be and what I would even do with it when it arrived.
I made a start, read the questions, typed in my answers as best I could, and pressed enter...
"WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?"
Having never spent much time or applied much consideration to what happens when you leave school, we were suddenly expected to start making choices about our future, and select the subjects that we thought might help us get there.
I was still none the wiser, despite asking what may be required as an Industrial Designer.
As is often the case, the class finished up and as I walked out, all of the information that I had just received was immediately overthrown by the reckless desire to sprint home and get back on my bike. It was for another 5 years that I would pay any thought to that pivotal moment when a computer generated future popped out of the monitor and into my brain.
As my time in School came to an end (albeit slightly prematurely) I found myself having spent the entire summer holidays riding bikes with my mates, without a care in the world, only to return to school for my final year and be told that I didn't make the grades.
"WITHOUT THE LUXURY OF ANY TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT, I JUMPED IN THE CAR AND HIT THE ROAD FOR THE COLLEGE THAT I HAD SPOTTED MANY TIMES JUST AROUND THE CORNER FROM THE LOCAL BMX TRACK IN THE NEXT TOWN."
Without any real notion even now of what I wanted to do with my life, I spoke to reception, made a short list of the classes that still had space to squeeze me in for the year, and quickly made my way down the corridor towards the engineering department to meet a man called Stephen McKinley.
Next thing I knew, I was signed up for a 4 year course in Mechanical Engineering & Design with the added bonus of never be more than 60 seconds away from the local BMX track!