James Phelps Talks Cycling and Memories from “Harry Potter”
James Phelps (Fred Weasley) is funny, caring, and a good person through and through. One would expect nothing less from the man who brought to life one of our favorite Weasley twins. Since his time in Harry Potter, Phelps has been doing his part in lending a helping hand where he can. For those who are not aware, Phelps recently turned into a cycling fanatic, and he’s using this to support those in need. He recently sat down with Cyclist to discuss his love for the sport and all the benefits that go along with it.
If there’s one thing Phelps loves, it’s getting out on his own. He prefers taking his bike out early in the morning and simply enjoying the beauty of nature. He cites it as one of the things that’s really good for mental health, explaining that it helped him work through his grandmother’s death.
Cycling wasn’t always a sport Phelps was allowed to do. During his time on Harry Potter, there were strict rules regarding what type of sports the actors were allowed to participate in, and cycling was entirely off the table. Phelps recalls playing golf and running on the treadmill to keep active, which he now says was “so dull.” He really started getting into cycling when he decided to take part in the Big Mountain Challenge cycling event last year, which raises funds for Thames Hospice, a British nonprofit organization. The event, which took place in the Alps, was no joke, and Phelps admits that he felt intimidated by the distance. He wasn’t sure whether he’d be able to finish the ride, but he believes in challenging himself, and it paid off.
I’m always after some kind of new challenge, and usually I know I’ll be able to get through it, but I hadn’t given this much thought, and it was one of the first things I’ve done where I wasn’t sure if I’d finish. I did manage, though, and I can’t express how much I enjoyed it. The sense of achievement and camaraderie from being on a ride like that is incredible.
Phelps immediately signed up to be part of the next Big Mountain Challenge, which will take place September 16–20, 2021. He even tried to get some of his Harry Potter castmates to join him for the challenge next year, but he hasn’t been able to convince them just yet. He seems pretty confident that he’ll be able to persuade them eventually, and if Phelps is anything like Fred Weasley, that shouldn’t be too hard to do.
Speaking of the Weasleys, Phelps still reminisces about his days on the set of Harry Potter as much as we do, admitting that it still feels surreal at times.
To this day, I’m not sure I’m fully aware of how big it is, because I’m so close to it. We went for our first audition nearly 20 years ago. I was reading the third book, so my brother and I thought we’d go for it. It was a day off school. A couple of weeks before we chose our GCSEs, the drama teacher at the school said [‘]don’t take drama, you won’t have a career in it.[‘]
We bet that drama teacher is still feeling like a bit of a fool to this day, and thank Merlin that Phelps decided not to take her advice, because we couldn’t imagine anyone else portraying the roles of Fred and George Weasley.
Phelps is definitely an inspiration – taking the time to keep fit with a sport he enjoys and participating in charity events to help those in need is something we can all get behind, and most definitely try to do ourselves. We can’t think of a better way to manage some mischief.