Toby Adkins - Photo: © John Cairns -

Sports: Cycling - Toby Adkins

  • Year Fourth*
  • Subject Mathematics & Physics
  • Sport Cycling

Details of your sporting career at Merton and Oxford
I initially joined the Merton Boatshed due to my coxing experience (as I had been a coxswain throughout high-school), where I coxed a variety of crews for a couple of years. Most notably, I coxed the Merton 1st VIII to Blades in Summer VIIIs of 2016. Following this feat, I retired from regular coxing, and pursued my cycling interests at a University level with OUCC. Since then, I performed well in the Cuppers 10-mile Time Trial (TT), and represented the University at the BUCS 3-up Team Time Trial (TTT) in Trinity of 2017.

What got you started in your sport?
I've always liked cycling, but never really could get into it due to not having a road bike. However, I was happily given one at the start of 2016, which allowed me to get fully stuck into training.

How do you manage to stay competitive in your chosen sport while maintaining the level of academic work required?
The cycling training schedule is fairly flexible during the week, with the longer rides at the weekend. I tend to get up early, so that I can get it all done before the day even starts properly.

What’s special about the sporting side of life at Merton?
Everyone tends to be very inclusive, and helpful; there are always people willing to help you out with your training! Having a gym actually on college campus is also very helpful, as it takes less time out of your day to make a visit.

Who is your sporting hero?
Tom Dumoulin, the Dutch TT specialist, who is currently the UCI World TT Champion. He's a magnificent rider to watch, and can even hold his own in the mountains, which he used to great effect to win the Giro this year.

What’s been your greatest moment on the field of play so far?
Despite it not being my main sport, it would have to be winning Blades with my rowing crew; given that a lot of them were my friends, it made it all the sweeter to reach this pinnacle acheivement of college rowing!

...And the worst?
Definitely being on a long ride in sub-zero temperatures, accompanied by wind and rain. I've never been more cold - or down-right miserable - playing a sport. But you gotta do what you gotta do!

Finally, what word, phrase or mental picture do you use to get yourself through the tough times in your sport?
Usually, I just sing the song Remember the Name by Fort Minor to myself in my head; it's surprisingly motivating…

[*2019/20 update: Toby is still at Merton, studying for a DPhil in Theoretical Physics]