Category Archives: Rider of the Week

Rider of the Week – Gretel (or is it Hänsel)

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m originally from Germany and came to Australia with Hänsel in late 2010. Of all the different places I’ve lived at I enjoy Sydney the most and I really hope we stay here happily ever after.


2. What got you into cycling?

I find this a strange question. Where I come from pretty much everybody cycles in one form or another. This could be a trip to the nearest pub and back for Frühschoppen (pre-lunch beer with friends; mostly, but not always restricted to Sundays) or a social ride on a beer-bike.

Beer truck

Also, growing up in the countryside with only one bus a day, I had to cycle to see friends or go anywhere.  And that was faster by bike. 

I’ve always enjoyed cycling at speed, competing with my Dad on family rides who could go down the hill fastest (very much to the bemusement of my mom as you can imagine). My first “serious” road bike was a pink Peugeot Aspin with a 105 groupset. It was the pride of my teenage cycling years. By that time I was competing in cross country skiing races and cycling was a way of building stamina during the summer.

Looking back the only time I didn’t ride was for three years when we were living in London and I was too scared and the weather too poor for cycling.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

Hänsel and I had been riding to work for a while prior to joining the ER. We lived in Wollstonecraft at the time. Our micro-commute left at around 7:40 each morning when the ER had already had their first coffee at the B&T.

Moving to Chatswood meant we finally had a good reason to join the ER. So we got in touch with SatNav via the website and the rest is history.

4. Tell us about your bikes.

I have a few bikes back in Germany, but the only one that matters here is my beloved Canyon. It was love at first sight. Back in 2004 Canyon was one of the few manufacturers that made specific women’s bikes. The difference in comfort to any of the other unisex bikes was immediately apparent. The triple chainring means I can climb up walls.


Apart from an old MTB the Canyon has been the one and only for the last nine years. The next bike I am considering is a cyclocross with hydraulic disc brakes for commuting on wet days, and (note that Hänsel suggested “or”) a serious MTB.

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

So many places! I’d love to do more tours and off-road riding. I’ve heard great things about desert-riding in Utah and Arizona.

6. Tell us a riding story.

The ride of total dehydration comes to mind. I only meant to go out for a quick spin but the legs felt good and, at 90 km onwards, still did. I had not taken any food and only one water bottle and soon started feeling thirsty. With no café or service station in sight I was getting desperate. I passed an orchard, but there was barely any fruit left on the trees apart from a few worm-eaten and sour cherries. I climbed over the barbed wire fence in my cycling shoes and ran to the tree as if it was the tree of life, hands reaching for the cherries. Boy, those worms cherries tasted good.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

It’s a good place to be – I like hanging out at the back. Don’t be shy to call out if the pace is too fast.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

I’m a volunteer guide at the Botanic Garden in Sydney and an absolute geek about anything plant-related.

Rider of the Week – Philby

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Ryde and Eastwood in Sydney and have lived on the North Shore most of the years since. I have two sons one of whom is a keen rider the other has to be gently coaxed onto his bike.


2. What got you into cycling?

I started cycling as a 12 year old on my Malvern Star road bike with 3 speed Sturmey Archer Hub gears. These were mostly great but just occasionally would go into neutral between 2nd and 3rd gear and I did go over the handlebars more than once when the resistance to my pedaling effort suddenly disappeared.

I stopped riding when I discovered girls and cars towards the end of my teenage years.

I eventually came back to cycling and did about 7 Sydney to Gong rides before the narrow constricted starts put me off. Since 2007 I have ridden 6 Around the Bay rides in Victoria along with a few other assorted events. Riding with the ERs has increased my riding considerably.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

I was on a training ride in LCNP one evening when coming around a corner there was a car completely on the wrong side of the road over double centre lines. After the ensuing head on collision I was a bit beaten up but no broken bones and 18 visits to the physiotherapist sorted out my whip-lashed neck. It was also the end of my 11 year old custom built Hillbrick bike.

It was at this point that my wife tactfully suggested I should ride with a group.

So I purchased the current Road Bike to replace the mangled one and started commuting again and I spied this large splendiferous group wearing the Egg & Tomato. On chatting with a non-ER rider I discovered the name of the brightly coloured ones and made contact with Saint Nav signing me up before I was any the wiser. Then as I was training for my first attempt at the three peaks I thought riding some Fluffers with Goaders would be a good idea. It was!! I suspect I would not have completed the ride in time were in not for all those early morning trips along Mona Vale road and the Northern Beaches.


4. Tell us about your bikes.

I have owned quite a few bikes over the year many of which have been custom built for me.

The current roadie is a Specialized Roubaix which has a 400mm seat post and a long angled stem to accommodate my special(ized) requirements. Note it is the XXL and they do make one even bigger than this one.


The MTB is a Scott 29er hardtail which occasionally comes out for the OTP or more often on weekends. TSS is helping with a project to get an old MTB converted to a wet weather commuter bike.

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

In Aus I love the Victorian Rail trails as a great place to ride with my kids and would love to ride in NZ as I hear they have some excellent trails as well.

6. Tell us a riding story.

I once rode an MTB with three friends from Sandy Hollow to Lithgow on the Bi-centennial National trail. That about 250 km on mostly fire trails with full rear panniers and back packs. It was 5 days of adventure on the smell of an oil rag as we were poor uni students and most meals were rice or pasta and everyone watched eagerly to ensure that we all got exactly even portions.

It started out through deliverance type country near Widden Brook where the 4 of us clad in cycling shorts and Lycra felt very out of place and received a few strange looks from the few locals we did see although none of them seemed to own a Banjo. Another challenge was when we realised we were riding though a property and in the same unfenced paddock as a bull who started to take a lot of interest in us. Our pace picked up considerably as each was keen to prove that they were not the slowest of the four and we maintained that until we finally crossed a cattle grid and could relax.

At one point one of the riders who didn’t take bike maintenance too seriously, had his quick release skewer fly apart, the front wheel come off, and his forks spear into the ground and bend. We were about 50 kms from help in rough mountain country so needed to sort it out. Eventually all the missing bits were recovered and our combined weight managed to straighten the forks enough to get the wheel on and continue the ride.

We climbed a pass called Baal Bone Gap pushing our bikes and it was so steep for while that forward progress required pushing the bike up the slope a little, clamping on the brakes and taking a step and then repeating. It was not possible to move yourself and the bike at the same time.

All in all a very memorable trip.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

There is no shame in being at the back, some days it just feels good to ride at a steady pace.

For new riders, just enjoy the ride and learn from those around you.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

In years gone by, pre-kids, I did a stint living in Cairns and working as an Adventure Tour Guide. I took tourists on overnight walks into the Wet Tropics Rainforest and climbing Mt Bartle Frere, QLDs highest mountain. No fires were allowed as it is a wet tropics reserve so dinner was prepared on small fuel stoves by the light of a roaring candle often in the rain. I am also very good at dealing with leeches as a result.

The area had lots of birds and wildlife including Ulysses Butterflies, Cassowaries, Victoria’s Rifle-bird and Australia Largest snake the Amethystine Python. All of which I encountered on one or more trips.

Rider of the Week – Twinkle Toes

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

Originally from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. I came to Sydney in 1971 and three days later was driven to Bathurst to board at All Saints College. Talk about cultural shock, instead of playing table tennis and badminton, I had to play tennis, cricket and rugby. I met Mrs Wong on the tennis court at Campsie, so taking up tennis to impress the chicks was a pretty good move.

Although I’m currently the project director at Mission Australia Housing Victoria, overseeing the organisation’s property portfolio, I’ve been a uni dropout, banquet waiter, chainman, council worker, surveyor, and engineer.


2. What got you into cycling?

I got back into cycling in 2001 when my doctor gave me two options. Lower my cholesterol by changing my work life balance by becoming healthier or take medication for life. So, I started jogging for a couple of months and Mrs Wong suggested I try cycling as she reckons pavement pounding is bad for my joints.

I got myself a hybrid bike that I still use as a commuter. I rediscovered my passion for cycling and my cholesterol dropped to between 3.9 to 4.5, As my cycling mileage increases, my weight dropped from 85 kg to 64 kg. The only down side is that Mrs Wong has banned me from visiting bike shops. Thank goodness for online shopping.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

I got to know Jill, Finchi and Anthony on my commute into the city via the Epping Road cycle path and we would meet for coffee at the Naked Duck Cafe at Darling Quarters opposite the Commonwealth Bank Building. We would also bump into Lobbster as well. Great coffee and bacon and egg rolls. Then we noticed that Finchi had gone missing for a couple of months. Eventually, we found out that he had gone over to the dark side joining the ERs.

One day on my commute to work, the ER peloton came by and I chatted to Lunchie and discovered that he lived near me. Coming off the SHB onto the Kent Street cycleway, I’ve noticed the gaggle of ERs in their egg and tomato gear at the Cava (formerly B&T) and I used to think what a bunch of wankers! Finchi tried to convince me that ERs are a lovely bunch of people who commutes.

Joining ERs was easy. But switching my allegiance from the Naked Duck to B&T was very difficult because I had to give up great coffee and food.

4. Tell us about your bikes.

Started with an alloy Specialized Sirrus Hybrid, 16 speed Shimano Tiagra triple chainring road bike. This bike has been modified to provide the same fit as my other road bikes. So, off goes the straight bar, replaced by a drop bar with Sora shifters for the triple.

Became the proud owner of a Lance Armstrong’s 2000 (full carbon OCLV handmade in USA) limited edition Trek in 2003 when Renegade Cycles reduced the price by 50% after it had been on display in their showroom for a couple of years. This wonderful bike has served me well for 11 years. The 9 speed Dura-ace drivetrain has been replaced by 10 speed compact Sram Red for my successful completion of the inaugural 3 Peaks Challenge Ride.

The most recent addition to my bike collection is a custom built Seven, a titanium framed bike equipped with some of the latest components. 11 speed compact Shimano Dura-ace Di2, rear derailleur is the Ultegra GS long cage model to accommodate the 11-32 cassette. The ride, handling and feel of this bike is simply sensational.

One of the best looking bikes in the ER peloton

One of the best looking bikes in the ER peloton

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I have a bucket list of places around the world that I would like to ride. Having ticked off Le Tour two years ago, the next destination would be either Italy or Spain.

6. Tell us a riding story.

With 5 years riding experience under my belt, I signed up for the Alpine Classic 200 in 2006 on my yellow Trek then equipped with standard 52-39 cranks and 12 to 27 cassette. We arrived in Bright the day before the big ride and thought it was a great idea to loosen the legs by riding the rail trail. I still remember vividly after an hour or so in the saddle that my butt was feeling a bit numb. I simply shrugged it off and told myself mentally to HTFU.

Bright and early the next day we breakfast and rolled up to the start line after collecting our brevet cards. The route goes from Bright to Tawonga Gap to Falls Creek than back to Bright for lunch before heading out to Mt Buffalo and back to Bright. On the return to Bright from Falls, my butt was so sore that I felt like giving the Mt Buffalo stage a miss. Again that voice inside my head reminded me to HTFU so I had no choice but to put up with the pain to finish the ride.

It took 3 days for my butt to regain any sort of feeling. I made an appointment with Steve Hogg, handed over $500 and it was the best value for money decision I’ve made. It took 7 months trying out many different saddles and positions before that illusive perfect fit was achieved. Other things that need to be corrected included, one leg is 5 mm shorter than the other, spine and hip was out of alignment.

Going by the number of emails from ERs after their 3 Peaks triumph, outlining their custom fitting experiences and love hate relationship with their bikes, I’m sure they’ll relate to my ride story.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

Due to the elastic band effect, the back of the ER peloton is not the best place to be particularly if you are not one of the fitter riders or on sweeping duty. Due to the unpredictability out the back, good communication via signalling or calling is essential for your own safety as well as the safety of others.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

I used to be a pretty handy ballroom dancer, but don’t all come rushing to me for lessons as I haven’t danced for quite awhile. My nickname was Twinkle Toes!

Rider of the Week – Daffy

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in Sydney and went to Pymble Public school but my family moved about a lot when I was a child. I lived in the UK for 18 years. When the kids came along we decamped again and came to Sydney less than two years ago.

I have lived on 4 continents and worked in shops, offices, schools, pubs, restaurants, farms and factories, knocked doors as a salesman and spent six months as a volunteer in the third world. I like to get about and try new things.

2. What got you into cycling?

I had a bike with twisty-change gears and back pedal breaks in the 80s.. My dad bought me a mountain bike for my 17th birthday when all my mates got cash towards their first car. I almost never rode it.

Then I came to Sydney! Why wouldn’t you cycle here? I did 1000ks in February this year: more then I have done in my life up to last year when I joined ERs.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

In Jan 2013 I commuted for the first time to the CBD and was warmly accosted by Admin, Sat Nav and Half at SHBN. I was still not sure of my ability to keep up and rode alone for another week until on the way home one afternoon I witnessed Big Goaders being playfully cheered/abused by the peloton up Tinsdale hill. That convinced me that ERs were a bunch worth riding with immediately.

Schleck lent me his egg and tomato for last years Bobbin Head race and I burst the zip…. I have lost 10kg since then!

4. Tell us about your bikes.

Who can forget the basket bike? That is now proudly affixed to the wind trainer.

I rode a hybrid flat bar with front suspension a lot last year and have also purchased some carbon: Cube Agree GTC. I recommend the bike but not the company or its distributors!!

My favourite biking hobby is custodianship of Old Gold: the single-speed steely owned originally by Horatio’s dad. I bent the front chain ring when attacking on a hill recently! Cant wait for it to come back from TSS.

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I haven’t had my fill of Oz just yet: it is a wonderful place to ride. Overseas it would have to be Guatemala. I volunteered there and the scenery is epic, the people friendly to a fault and there are few vehicles on the roads. There are multi-day mountain bike races there through jungle trails, over volcanos and past Indiana-Jones-esque Mayan ruins filled with howler monkeys.

6. Tell us a riding story.

Having only recently started riding on a regular basis most of my stories revolve around stacks. I have never ridden more than 100km without suffering a stack within the first hour. Clip stacks, collisions with other riders and overcooked corners validated my loony toons nickname in 2013.

On the Gong return the race started with Horatio and I locking wheels just before the national park. The saddest thing about that for me was losing my PBJ sandwich in the crash. I released the front breaks to allow for maximum wheel wobble and got it patched up at the end of the national park. It got me 190ks home after that although after Bulli Pass any residual worries about wobbling at high speed were redundant!

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

The back of the pack is where I go for advice myself! Not overtaking the captain was a key plank in my bid for a white jersey last year. The best advice I have been given is to listen to your body during a ride, but only those bits above your legs.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

I am the retired pimp king of Sydney (according to some in the peloton).

Rider of the Week – Dtc

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I am 26 live with my fiancée Meredith in Cherrybrook in a place we bought a couple of years ago. I work in Marketing, and studied Psychology & Statistics at University. I started off as a telephone counsellor at a not for profit after graduating university and worked in aged care research, aged care technology, residential market research and I run my own statistics tutoring business for fun where I teach stats courses on the weekends.

2. What got you into cycling?

My dad got me into cycling on the 22nd birthday by buying me a Kona Dew Deluxe commuter bike. At the time I had been working at St Leonards and it took me 60 minutes door to door to commute via car/train from Hornsby Heights to St Leonards. Going to the gym for an hour a week 3 times a week meant some nights I was getting home at 8.30/9pm – my dad finally convinced me that there was a better way.

I had trained up to running the city to surf that year (2008) and was enjoying a health kick, so jumping on the bike although slow at first was not particularly difficult. My dad had been cycling with the B2Bs for a few years at this point so I was used to seeing many bikes and sweaty lycra around the house.

My journey with cycling has been a rocky one and only in the last 18 months have I had a real improvement in my cycling. When I returned from France in 2012 I weighted 100 kg and was cycling around 80 kms per week. I knew I was over weight and if I didn’t change something up that I would be this heavy set for ever. Since then I have returned to around 80 kg with thanks to a strong combination of personal training once a week for 18 months including a strictly monitored diet and the will to cycle longer harder and faster.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

I joined the ER as I had moved to Lindfield late 2011 and my allegiance with the B2Bs although blood deep was not a practical one. With the ERs going past my door every morning at around 6.50 am it was a great way to stay in shape (even though I was working from home). I was finally pushed over the edge when Sat Nav convinced me to get a jersey in the latest ER Jersey buy (they needed the numbers to qualify for buik shipping on 10 or more Jerseys). After getting this Jersey I unleashed a war of emails between the ER and B2Bs as I was seen as a defector, the latest acquisition in the crown jewels of the ER.

4. Tell us about your bikes.

Truth be told I only really have the one bike that I ride which is my Cannondale Carbon Six. I bought this bike just before I joined the ER and since then I have changed over just about everything on the bike (including the frame 6 months in 😉 ). I do have a commuter Kona Dew Deluxe but I have lent this out to people who want to get into cycling as a great starter bike. Its making its way back to me now after being at a friends place for the last 8 months to get him into cycling. The Cannondale is all I can really ask for in a bike. I have done road rides, time trials, touring around France, long distance and commuter rides on this bike and it works for all of these situations and more. As much as I would love N+1 I struggled to maintain 2 bikes when I had the option of riding 2 bikes,so I do have to say I like the idea of being a 1 bike man.

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

My favourite place to ride? Sydney of course! But if I could see any where in the world by bike where would I go? I would like to do one of 3 rides Paris – Brest – Paris Audax ride, Ride Across America (great way to see the states) or along the Karakoram highway in China/Pakistan.

6. Tell us a riding story.

There are many good riding stories that I have had over the years – but I must say I have documented most (or nearly all of them) in elaborate detail so there aren’t many surprises here. I guess my most memorable ride was the Thredbo ride from last year which I struggled the whole way out and back. The ride really pushed and tested my limits of what I was capable of. But what I remember the most about it is how the whole group really looked out for me as I was undoubtedly the slowest rider. Darcy (Simba) stuck with me for most of the ride, even though it meant taking him 2- 3 hours longer to complete the ride. This kind of mateship and camaraderie is exactly what the ER is about.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

My advice to the ER at the back of the peleton is to buy a lighter faster bike because that is the only thing holding you back.

Failing that my advice would be

a) Cycling isn’t just a hobby its a way of life. Cycling will consume your free time, your weekends, and your social life. Embrace this as its probably the healthiest addiction there is.
b) To improve on a bike you need to mix it up – if you are struggling to improve then change up the type of cycling or exercise you are doing – that’s what helped me.
c) Cycling is a lot about a mental toughness as much as it is a physical toughness. Completing long and hard bike rides is not necessarily limited by a physical factor rather than mental factor.
d) Ride for fun when you feel like riding. If you don’t feel like riding today they listen to your body! Ride as much as you can whenever you can!

Finally – I am still at the back of the peleton. I am one of the slowest climbers in the group and always have and probably will be, so I am used to going on a big ride and being at the back. Once you can embrace this idea that it’s OK not to be the fastest in the group but instead you enjoy the journey and focus on your achievements and your PR’s then the ride becomes about something internal rather than external.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

The thing about me that not many people know? I am a certified solo skydiver.


3 Peaks 2014


Halfway through Audax 250km


Kangaroo Valley Training Ride December 2013


Climbing out of Kangaroo Valley



MS Gong Ride November 2013


Top of Mont Semnoz the day after Chris Froome rode his second last stage at this year of the TDF (July 2013)


Top of Col. Madelaine waiting for TDF to come through


Top of Glandon private training ride


Woke up with this bus at my hotel


Half way up Mont Ventoux


Top of Mont Ventoux


Top of Alp D’Huez just before the mountain got shut off


My first triathalon


3 Peaks 2013


Me at my largest in France in July 2012 100 kgs


Rider of the Week – Highlander

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I moved to Australia when I was 8. Although my parents were Irish, I was born in Bahrain because my dad worked in the oil industry. I grew up in Lane Cove, so have always been from the North Shore, although we used to think Turramurra was in the sticks.

I’m married to Heidi with two children, both of whom have now finished school. That’s a relief and yes, I’m older than I look. We moved to Turramurra about 6 years ago.

When resting between rides, I’m a software developer, working for Atlassian.

2. What got you into cycling?

I got into cycling for health and for fun. I’m lucky to have good cycling facilities at work which makes commuting by bike feasible

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

I used to cycle to town by going through Brown’s Waterhole and onto the Epping Rd cycleway. In June 2013, the waterhole flooded and was not passable so I started to look at alternative routes. We have a cycling related forum at Atlassian and Jason Friedland suggested trying riding with the Easy Riders. I turned up at Gordon and SatNav signed me up that morning at the B&T.

I have been riding more and more with ER ever since. It’s hard to comprehend how good it has been for me.

4. Tell us about your bikes.

I have a Whyte Portobello, the so-called shopping bike. It’s a flat bar hybrid with hydraulic disc brakes. I had upgraded from a Kona Dew Deluxe which I had destroyed by cracking the bottom bracket just after the frame warranty finished. That said, it didn’t owe me anything in the end but the Whyte seems a stronger bike.

Whyte Portobello Black Whyte

The Whyte, which is black, used to have flat pedals. It took me a while, but I did eventually get around to putting SPD pedals on it. I only clip-stacked once on the first OTP with them. I have recently started riding a Trek Domane 5.2. It’s a proper road bike. That also took me a while. It’s carbon with 11-speed Ultegra so I think it should satisfy N+1 for a while. A year ago, I would never have considered such a bike.

Trek Domane 5.2

Domane Five Series

I do also have a Trek 3900 mountain bike. I don’t think you will ever see it.

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I’d like to ride in Europe. I could probably tour around Ireland easily enough as I seem to have a cousin in every town who are always keen to put me up but I’d also like to try riding in the French countryside.

6. Tell us a riding story.

One of the most joyful moments of my life was the day I took the training wheels off my son’s bike. It was a tiny little red bike from

Renegade cycles in Lane Cove. Holding his saddle, I got him going, running along behind him until I let go. He took off, he was launched. It was an amazing feeling. He has never looked back.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

The back of the ER peleton was, for me, the best place to improve my cycling. I remember wheezing up each climb on the OTP, particularly Rawhiti and Scaramanga, trying to keep up with the group. There was no stronger motivation than wanting to stay on.

Early on, going up the highway, I would often be shepherded at the back by some of the stronger riders in the group. I always got great encouragement on these rides and it’s part of what I love about ER.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

I went to the KISS concert at the showground in 1982. Not as good a Thin Lizzy though.

Rider of the Week #31 – Lemming

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
A recent convert to the north-shore way of life, I was born and dragged-up in the badlands of Bankstown and surrounds. “Educated” at ANU, Newcastle Uni and Griffith Uni (Brisbane); I then set forth to South Korea where I lived, worked and wreaked havoc in my futile attempts to make them understand Australian (Proppa) – English. Until the end of last year, I were a enGlish Teecha. Some health issues (MS) have seen the need for me to wind back and look for a somewhat more part-time occupation – which I am just about to commence the search for.

2. What got you into cycling?
I can’t remember never not being able to ride a bike as a kid; which I did, probably, excessively during high school (mostly stalking girls). However, the advent of university and a driver’s licence – well, I’m sure it’s a common story.

About, 8 years ago, I decided I was too fat and unfit – enter the bicycle until about 4 years ago, when I suffered a major MS attack. About 1 year ago, I was able to get on the bike and build up my fitness and shave 50kg from my gut. Hopefully, my new, semi-monastic life-style – sans sugar, wheat, legumes, red-meat, and ESPECIALLY aspartame – will keep the nasties away from my auto-immune system.

Before losing 50 kg


3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

Blame Bucky!

4. Tell us about your bikes.

As a little kid: A dragster – with T-bar shift (cool)
Then, a BMX
High School: A couple of Jim Bundies
Since 2005: A Giant Yukon (broke it); my trusty SCOTT 🙂 – and waiting on my delayed JIM BUNDY HANDMADE with Di2 😀

Fixing stuff

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Perth => Sydney is definitely on my wish list as are the French Alps.

6. Tell us a riding story.

I hope this doesn’t sound too dumb; but about 6 months into this past year of riding, I decided to test myself and if I really wanted to push myself to overcome the issues around my health, weight & fitness.

So, one day – without any plan – I took off on what would become my first, and only (so far) 300 km day. The first 200km (Mittagong then back to Prestons) went by surprisingly easy; but the final 100km, especially the last 50km, were a hellish blur.

Riding up and down lengths of the M7, I had hours to experience pain, self doubt and the noises in my head telling me to stop – to end the stupid test I’d set.

However, once done – I can say that not only did I have an awesome ride under my belt; more importantly, I felt that I had achieved something – won the battle against my own doubts.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

Carpe Diem!

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

In the 5th grade play, I auditioned for Prince Charming; they gave me the part of an ugly sister 🙁 Thus ended my fledgling acting career

Wearing a cape at the beach (as you do)

Rider of the Week #30 – Ivan The Terrigal

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

A Sydney boy relocated to the central coast, happily married with three kids, owns the only dog that is not a Staffy on the Central Coast, owns an old and ‘hand me down’ cat (thank you sister in law!) and two fish that just won’t die (the ones we wanted only lasted 6 months).  I love to surf, although less so now I’ve been bitten by the bike bug and generally spend my time running the kids around to music lessons and soccer.  I love making pizza, cooking in general, camping, and the occasional yoga session.ivan2

2. What got you into cycling?

Have always been into cycling as a mode of transport, although as a young rider was bought an orange Malvern Star road bike, rather than a BMX, like all my friends.  Recently, at the local BMX track, I took it upon myself to demonstrate for the benefit of the kids, the best method to attack the bumps at speed.  It was all going so well until I accumulated a little too much speed, lost it and hit the dirt pretty hard.  Nothing seriously injured other than a bit of blood and the kids laughing uncontrollably.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

Other than having a hankering to wear lycra amongst like minded men, I was looking to extend my commute from the Central Coast to avoid work, and noticed the ER website.  I just turned up at Gordon and was swept up with the momentum.  Thanks Turnip and others for making me feel welcome.

4. Tell us about your bikes.  

Cannondale CAAD 9, which has been recently refurbished.  Thanks Brownie I love it and definitely not too many CAAD9 s with Campy group sets getting around The Central Coast, or Sydney for that matter.   Recently the proud owner of a 1990s Peter Bundy steel framed road bike, thanks also Brownie.

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Definitely Italy or France, but am happy to be convinced otherwise, and would actually settle with anywhere that gets me out of the office.

6. Tell us a riding story.

Thanks to the Three Peaks ride, I now have a good riding story.  There are now quite a few ride reports making their rounds, however, my story is somewhat unique.  The lead up to, and the morning of the ride was fantastic and much the same as all the ER’s, however, I had barely crossed the start line when …….gently rolling forward (one foot unclipped), with WBA positioned in the start line chaos just behind me, I heard a crash although don’t recall feeling anything undue.  The peloton stalled again and WBA pointed out that I was lucky, the guy who fell tried to grab my shoulder on the way down, but missed.  I thought all great, no harm done, however, it soon became apparent that something fairly dramatic was wrong with the rear end of my bike.  WBA and I had agreed to ride together, so as he passed, we arranged to meet at the bottom of Falls Creek at the round about.  Did you really wait 4.5 minutes, 5 minutes I think would have been acceptable!  But seriously, not much WBA could do with the whole peloton flying past him, 200km left to ride and lots mountains to get over.  Back on the side of the road, I was at a complete loss.  Where was the help?

I managed to attract the attention of a ride official, who said to bring my bike up the stairs, behind the buildings, and into to the bike registration area (where we had the ride briefing the previous evening).  It was strangely disconcerting to be out of sight of the race start and to be around people who were at Fall Creek just to enjoy a day in the mountains etc.  A mechanic took one look at the wheel and said ….”maate, maaate that wheel is hitting both sides of the brake callipers, I reckon the rim has been bent, you got another wheel”  I said no, and thought OMG I’m having a Satnav moment.  “If you had a Shimano wheel, I could have put something together for you, but a Campy wheel…?!”  The mechanic said that he would not be able to spend the time to attempt to true the wheel.

Panic starting to take a grip, heart rate and blood pressure up, I asked them to mind my bike, tore off my shoes, and bolted up the side of the mountain to our apartment building and to my only hope, that Collette, whom I thought was still around, knew where a spare wheel was [note for next year, could we get accommodation a little closer to the start line!].  Unfortunately no spare wheel.  Collette’s bike had Campy wheels, although she was planning to ride the other side of Falls and around the lake.  To my eternal thanks, Collette made the ultimate selfless act and offered me the use of her rear wheel.  Wheel in hand, I ran all the way back down to where my bike was, only to find that the mechanics had trued my wheel a little.  The mechanic said I should take it easy around corners (bit hard when hurtling down Falls Creek and Mount Buffalo), but at least I could ride, although I was not filled with confidence in the road worthiness of my wheel.  I asked the mechanics to return the Campy wheel to Collette, and off I charged.  I didn’t have Collette’s mobile number and gave pretty sketchy directions to the mechanics as to how to find her, however a little way along the ride, I found the mechanics, who told me they found her and put the wheel back on……phew!).  Now, a small aside, should anyone find themselves in a similar predicament at the start of a ride, and you are lucky enough to be able to continue…make sure you actually cross the start line….I spent a good few kilometres wondering if I had done so, although as it happened, the accident happened after the start line.

I must have been 25-30 minutes behind the last rider ie about in 1,499th place and the good news was that I had the road to myself, but with adrenaline pumping, care was required to avoid loosing it on a corner. I had expected to see the last of the riders prior to the end of the first 32km descent, alas nothing but an empty road.  I did, however, catch up to a rider about ¾ the way down who said she was not in the race, but knew the mountain well and on her rear wheel we flew down the remainder of the descent, at a faster pace than I would have otherwise done.

I made the first round about at Mount Beauty, however still no sign of the peloton, the race officials seem to be closing their marshalling stations….more panic….ride faster, but not too fast, 200km left to ride…..don’t blow up.  Still panicked, but on the other hand, glad to be on the road and moving.  Is it possible to finish the ride this far back, or will I have to accept riding as far as I can prior to being pulled off the road.

I started to run into the first stragglers on their way up Tawonga Gap, but after the initial relief of seeing these riders, any riders really, I realised that these guys were never going to make the ride within the 13 hour cut off.  I think don’t panic, keep steady pace up hill, keep passing these riders.

At the top of Towonga Gap, I passed 20-30 riders who had stopped at the drink station, and at that point I really started to feel a lot better…‘Ivan The Terrigal’ is back in the race!

Sometime after the descent from Tawonga, I caught the wheel of a far stronger rider, and held onto it for dear life, and made good time to the drink station prior to Mt Buffalo, albeit ‘wheel sucking’ (appropriate I think, but will leave that to others to make a ruling).  To make up the time was pretty good however I had spent a little more energy than I would have liked.  I took my time up Buffallo which I found a long and tough climb, however really enjoyed seeing the ER’s speed down the hill.

At the top of Buffalo, I took my bike to a mechanic for a check,  a European guy, who had my rear wheel almost trued in 3 minutes flat.  It would have been fantastic if the guys back at Falls had spent a little time on the wheel, prior to dismissing it!

I rode into the lunch stop and saw a heap of ERs getting ready to depart….I filled my water bottles, grabbed some food, sorted out my drop off bags, and set off with them, happy as anything.  It was an amazing feeling to be with a group that I knew would look after me (read…more wheel sucking!), and to have company for what I suspected would be a long valley floor, and possibly dreaded UNDULATIONS (refer to Thredbo training camp).  The valley floor was hard, hot, long etc etc, but I had no doubt that I would make it…I had come so far….overcome panic and prevailed over a horrible start to a 230km ride.

I should also thank B1/Michael for mid ride, repairing my ‘broken’ shifter, apparently using all his mechanical skills…pushing the shifter button a little harder!  Possibly, fatigue had set in a little there.

As it turns out, with B1/Michael, WBA and Laurie, my best time for a climb on the day was the final climb up Falls Creek!  B1 and I were even convinced by the ERs cheering us on at Falls, to finish with a 300m sprint!

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

I just assume they are having an extended “sandbagging” strategy, and with a blink of an eye will be on the front.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

I answer to “Squid” whilst on the Coast.

Rider of the Week #29 – Andy H (Pigeon?)

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

Yet another English import. I’ve been here 10 years now, attracted by the climate and the great outdoors and I haven’t been disappointed. From the North West of England originally although I moved around a bit for work. I’m an actuary by trade and work in reinsurance when I’m not on the bike.

2. What got you into cycling?

I’ve cycled for as long as I can remember. As a kid it was the fastest way of getting anywhere. I cycled to school and to work whenever it was practical. Mostly I’ve cycled to explore places. You can’t see enough on foot and you miss too much in the car. Cycling is just about right. More recently I started cycling to work to lose weight as I’d become a bit of a porker and within a couple of months of the OTP did the trick with weight, liver and cholesterol all normal again.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?

A common story here. I was struggling up Pymble Hill and Saint Nav glided alongside and explained there was an easier way and I haven’t looked back.

4. Tell us about your bikes.

I have 3 bikes currently

  •  My Peugot Alu 9000 road bike from circa 1998. It’s been a great bike and is my regular commute bike.
  • My Marin Attack Trail full suspension mountain bike. It’s getting on a bit now (new in 1998) but it’s still a great bike and we’ve had some great adventures together.
  • My most recent purchase is the Baum Corretto. This was about 12 months in planning / debating. It was a reward to myself for losing 20kgs and it has been well worth the wait. (The pictures speak for themselves:)


5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

On the mountain bike it would have to be Marin County, California. On the road bike, the high passes of Europe would take some beating. I hope to achieve the latter in 2014 by having a go at the Haute route or similar.

6. Tell us a riding story.

I’m struggling a little here…..One adventure I had on the bike as a kid ( i was about 10) was a trip with some mates to Beeston Castle which was around 40kms from home. Parental permission would not have been granted and so naturally was not requested. All was fine until my brother (on his BMX) lost a pedal when we got there and I had to rig up a tow rope whilst he pedalled with one foot on the return journey. This proved a little too much and we admitted defeat about 10kms from home called dad to pick us up and face the consequences. His displeasure at not asking permission was more than offset by his amazement that we managed to get so far.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?

Not really. It seems to me that the back is the best place to be … is a commute group after all.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.

As a kid I raced homing pigeons through to when I left home for university. It seems to be a dying sport now but it kept me off the streets for much of my youth. In my spare time I volunteer with DARTS which is an organisation that provides road transport for disabled people giving them an opportunity to attend events and activities.

Rider of the Week #28 – Van Diemen

1. Tell us a bit about yourself:
Ex rower, rugby player and lifesaver, happily married to Marisa , with two boys Joshua 11, and Andrew 8.


2. What got you into cycling?
I’ve always had bikes from the age of five. My neighbours on the Gold Coast were keen cyclists heavily involved with the Nerang cycling club which had its own velodrome.  I never had access to racing bikes back then (BMX was king, I saved up at bought a Peugeot BMX with blue tuffs) so these days its great to reconnect  with the idea of flying along on a racing bike, something I always hoped to come back too.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?
Your cousins in B2B were waiting at the SHB one night just before Christmas in 2011, I got a tow, and they mentioned ER to me. Satnav did the rest of course …

4. Tell us about your bikes.
When I finished rowing in 1999 I had a vacation in Jesolo (near Venice) staying with an Italian rugby mate I had played Rugby with. I went into a bike shop there to buy a gel seat for my bike, and came out with an Olympic master .The Italians drop gear at the end of a season (fashion is soooo important) so I got a GREAT deal!
Since then I’ve stayed loyal to the Italian Brand and have two Colnagos , a master ( to replace the stolen Olympic) and a CX-1.

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
The north of Italy, Lake Como and the Dolomites.

6. Tell us a riding story.
When I got my Olympic master it was in April in the north of Italy , Which coincided with the Giro Italia, it was in town and I had no idea… back then I was a complete ignoramus ! I couldn’t even pronounce Colnago let alone ride one!

Anyway they gave me some shoes and I rolled out on the brand new Yellow Olympic master, turned right just as a peloton went past , so I hoped on and ended up riding some ridiculous distance with them (hours) with no idea where I was going or what they were saying. All I know was that I had got them excited (must of been the new yellow bike) and the pace went up, and up, and bye!  see you later…..then I had to work out where the hell I was and find my way back!

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?
In rowing like cycling, the more you put in,  the better you get, no doubt about it.
With that I had a saying for myself “the difference between a hassle and a habit is two weeks!”  It’s worked so far!

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.
One Sunday in the mid 1990’s after racing surf boats all weekend , my crew ended up at the Clovelly hotel in the eastern suburbs. There  was a Miss legs competition, and in a time a sexual equality , I thought I would push the point for us poor guys and enter! The rest as they say is history! I bloody won the event (crowd scoring) which caused mayhem!