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Neil Shirley started out as a mountain biker on the trails of San Luis Obispo in the mid 1990’s. His love of the sport has propelled him into a competitive and non competitive career in cycling. Neil’s passion for the sport has opened doors for him in a world that otherwise would not let him in. As a kid, his religion prevented him from competition. As a mountain biker he wasn’t thinking of a road career. He is not a trained writer but became the editor for Road Bike action. He has lived a life of friendly defiance and has found success with it. There is no secret. Just learning through the way of navigating an industry that is notorious for being more costly than lucrative.
As a racer for Kelly Benefit Strategies and then Optum, Neil has done some of the biggest races in the country. An all around rider that could excel at the one day races, Neil had a great career as a pro cyclist. As time and outside commitments came calling, he had to plan for things outside of the racing scene. He became the editor for Road Bike Action magazine where he has brought great stories from SoCal and beyond to many readers. When he started there, the gravel riding world started to take off and he was right at the forefront of it. A two time winner of the Belgian Waffle Ride and a fan of long distance gravel races like the Dirty Kanza, Neil has found a new passion within the sport. The camaraderie, organization and new and interesting courses has made him look at cycling in a new way.
After some great years at Road Bike Action magazine, Neil passed the torch to young former pro Jon Hornbeck. Hornbeck who had a career with Holowesko Citadel and a motocross background has his own gravel and road rides along with his brand Spandex Stampede. Neil now works for the Lyman Agency, a PR firm that represents some of the biggest brands in the sport. Neil’s hope is to showcase and represent those companies in new and interesting ways while at the same time still able to test his skills in some of the most unique races and rides in the country. Only one episode to go and Neil is a fountain of knowledge, experience and wisdom. Do not miss this!