Category Archives: Rider of the Week

Rider of the Week #27 – Turnip

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I grew up in Blackpool, on the west coast of England, about 50 miles from Manchester. Rode to school every day because it was quicker than the bus and it’s pretty flat. Met Mrs Turnip when I moved to Stevenage after Uni. Stevenage, just North of London, is town built after the war to accommodate the people from London’s east end who were living in temporary accommodation after the war, it’s full of bike paths. Mrs Turnip didn’t own a car when I met her but she did own a bike, a Raleigh ladies bike that was very heavy from memory. Me, a single guy who drank too much found the bike paths safer than the main roads!.

We emigrated to Australia in 1988, because my boss at the time wouldn’t give me 5 weeks break to go on a holiday to Australia, so we sold our house and bought 1 way tickets to Sydney.

Our two girls have grown up with cycling parents, and have been on cycling holidays in France, and South Australia. Though they have both traded their bicycles in for a car.

2. What got you into cycling?

My first memory of cycling was used to race around the pavements in our cul-de-sac we (there were some technical right angled corners with a brick wall deigned to rub the bark off the riders nearest to the wall). These corners favoured smaller riders with lower centre of gravity who could sneak around on the inside. (I’m the one on the left, My best friend Mike, and my brother Martin always the engineer is studying the pavement surface to try and seek unfair advantage)     Dave, Mike and Martin

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

Used to commute with Zlatko, along the hard shoulder if the M2 from Browns Water Hole, and then on the bike path over the Lane Cove Tunnel. When the RTA stole our M2 bike path to build “an extra car lane” Mrs Turnip remembered seeing an article in the North Shore Times about a commuter group who rode to the city from Turramurra. I loitered outside the petrol station on Pacific until I saw St. Nav sprint pass. Big mistake, I tried to catch his wheel only to be dropped before Telegraph Road. The next day, I rolled out of the petrol station as soon as saw him, and managed to hang on until Pymble hill, gravity took over and I managed to keep up until Gordon. The rest is history.

4. Tell us about your bikes.

My first bike was a hand me down from my older brother. As you can see from the earlier picture its even smaller than my current Merida!.

When I went to high school I upgraded to a BSA 20” ( my legs were still too short for a real racer even with 24″ wheels). Some say they still are!


When I finished year 10, and passed my O-levels my parents bought me a Freddie Grubb with 10 gears ! (only lasted 4 weeks before it was stolen)

Freddie Grubb

After that I borrowed my brother’s bike whilst he was at Uni, not sure where he got it from but its Frame number as GPO12345 !

Post Bike

This dream machine saw me through University in Liverpool. Its frame was so heavy the local 8 year old lads weren’t strong enough to ride it away even if they did manage to break the lock during lectures. Nine year olds didn’t waste their time stealing two wheels, they had already graduated to anything with 4 wheels and an engine. I think my brother still has it his shed in Macclesfield, that’s probably why he doesn’t ride!

In the summer holidays I used the trusty post office bike to ride to work as a deckchair attendant on Blackpool Beach and sometimes gave a friend a lift home, with her sat on the handlebars. OK I was never that good looking!


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

Definitely France. We’ve had several great cycling holidays there, 10 days in Provence, a week in the Loire Valley with the teenage turnips. The French really understand cycling probably because the TDF reminds them every year how lucky they are to live and ride there. I’m a fan of the mountains, Mrs Turnip prefers the more gentle roads through the vineyards. It’s a difficult balancing act keeping Mrs T happy, enjoying the food and wine after a leisurely and scenic ride, or take my beloved up the hills? My answer is do both! Thankfully Mrs Turnip is still talking to me after getting to the summit of the Col du Persaud, just in time to see the Cadel Evans and his BMC team-mates come over the top in last year’s Tour. She has given me a leave pass for this year’s Tour. She is holidaying in Holland this year.

6. Tell us a riding story.

June 2011.

Having signed up with a friend for a 16 day ride in Italy from Rome to Lake Como, we arrived in Rome a few days early to get our bike sorted and recover from jet lag. On the first day of the tour, I foolishly gave one of my water bottles to a fellow rider, as her only one had bounced out of her cage a few kilometres back down the road. As the mercury rose above 30 degrees I dropped off the back of the pack when my 750ml bottle of life giving liquid was exhausted. The next couple of hours were spent getting lost in the hills somewhere north of Rome. I discovered I’d missed the lunch stop when I got to the top of a 20km climb and looked down at the lake below where we were supposed to regroup.

A quick check of the map , I discovered that if I descended down the other side of the mountain, I would be back on the route sometime that afternoon. After a quick roadside sandwich at a truck stop, and with a full bidon, I descended quickly, to make up for lost time. Too quickly as I it turned out as I was now ahead of the peloton and as the Italian workforce raced home for their siesta, I fought through the traffic jam of a major town, and was finally spat out of the other side towards the village where our camp site was located and a well-earned rest. At the 110km maker I heard the familiar grumble of the rain gods, who were not happy that I ridden all day without getting wet, and shortly after the rain started descending with some force. Still riding on my own and with only a photocopy of a map to guide me to my tent, I took refuge in a petrol station. Unfortunately I didn’t notice that the forecourt was cobbled and liberally covered in diesel. The crack from my broken elbow when it hit the ground still makes me feel sick when I think about it.

Getting the Lycra off that night was very tricky, as I couldn’t bend my elbow. The next day I had a nice bruise forming around my right elbow. By lunch I had to admit to the tour medic Id crashed the previous day. He immediately drew a line around the bruise and allowed me to ride the afternoon as I could control the bike and the brakes.

When we arrived at camp the bruise had extended from my shoulder to my wrist, and so I was sent for an X-ray. Even though the radiologist could speak no English, and my Italian is limited to ordering beer, coffee and pizza, we looked at the X-ray together and I knew my holiday was over.

The next week was spent with my arm in plaster from my wrist to my armpit, travelling in the best sag wagon ever, a converted fire engine, through Tuscany before a Business class ticket back to OZ (Thank-you Westpac Travel Insurance).

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

Always ride at a pace you comfortable with and at a speed you think is safe. For me its about how you get there and arriving safely, not arriving first. My 3 peaks finishing time of 12 hours 57 minutes last year, sums it up. [Editors note: the cut off was 13 hours] Don’t try and ride to someone else’s ability because you may not finish at all.

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

I wrote the computer program which monitored for radioactive leaks at perimeter of the Sellafield which is a nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria England. Perhaps that’s why I now live on the other side of the world!


Rider of the Week #26 – Dora

1. Tell us about yourself?

Like the semi-professional LDF & eponymous Virgin, the decidedly amateur Dora was born in Johannesburg in the early ‘70s.

Shortly thereafter, motivated in equal measure by a distaste for apartheid and the lure of the wide brown land of opportunity, Dora’s hippy parents set sail for these fair shores and settled into a quiet existence on the Mid North Coast of NSW – a five acre bush block, 5km out of  town on the road  from Kempsey to Crescent Head.

2. What got you into cycling?

From the early days as a country kid there were bikes around. Typically battered but well-loved, these dragsters and later BMXes, were great liberators from the boredom.  All the best (and most dangerous) adventures were made possible by these faithful machines.

Behind YHC’s house, a long dirt track led to an old quarry which became a primary source of entertainment and escape. Hours were spent building jumps and circuits and sliding in gravel with increasing risk to limbs and skin as we egged each other on to ever more dangerous efforts.

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

Years later YHC has a family of his own (wife Lana, kids Will (7) Rafael (5) & Abi (2) – the latter famous for indiscriminately assaulting other revellers with a golden reindeer at the ER Xmas party) and is settled on the North Shore of Sydney not far from Artarmon station. About six months ago, a career change found YHC again commuting to the CBD, riding some days, catching the train others.

YHC heard tell of a ‘bike bus’ populated primarily with MAMILS that ran down the Nth Shore line. Next day, slightly miffed at the delay, YHC was required to wait before crossing Tindale to catch the 7.05 to Wynyard as a long stream of Egg and Tomato clad warriors mounted on steeds of steel, alu and carbon flew past. Minutes later, crammed into the BOF cheek and jowl with the Muggles, YHC resolved to intercept the peloton and do his best to keep up. YHC has been doing the same most every day since.

From there it’s been brilliant fun getting slowly fitter and faster with no end of additional challenges to extend the 10km sprint from Artarmon to the CBD – early dashes up to Gordon for a full run in, Rhodes on a Friday, Fluffers, Flambies and, best of all, the sacred pilgrimage to the GG for Friday prayer.

4. Tell us about your bikes?

For the first few months YHC has been chugging around on an old but extremely reliable Trek 1000 purchased for $500 from a friend a few years ago.

Come Christmas, Santa found the name ‘Dora’ at the top of the ‘well behaved’ list and rewarded him with a Trek 5.2 which he’s been riding ever since.

However, ‘n+1’ syndrome has set in – these days YHC is often to be found with iPad in hand trawling through eBay listings of the sacred steel as well as annoying other members of the peloton with “is that steel?”, “Reynolds or Columbus?”, “really, what number?” and so on.

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

It’s a cliché but hopefully forgivable – France when the Tour is on.

6. Tell us a riding story:

Once upon a time, YHC was once driving home about 7pm through the backblocks of Sydney’s inner west (between Glebe and Fish Markets). Stopped at the lights with the sun setting in the west, YHC could see a cyclist coming from the right and a car coming from the left which was slowing to turn right across the path of the cyclist.

Perhaps assuming he’d been seen the cyclist continued to pump along at a fair clip through the intersection. The motorist slowed but then accelerated through the right hand turn and perfectly t-boned the cyclist sending him spinning into the air before crunching onto the road.

YHC flicked on the hazards and went to the assistance of the cyclist who was in shock and pretty banged up. At this point YHC observed his courier’s livery. True to form the first thing he wanted to know was “is my bike ok?” and took it badly when the mangled device was dragged into view.

To truly add insult to injury, the motorist then began berating and swearing at the bike courier for “not giving way”.

So the next few minutes YHC had his hands full trying to call Ambulance and Police, keep the patient still in case of spinal or other injury and intervene between him and the driver (who’s next move, once the severity of the incident was apparent, was to try to depart the scene before the constabulary arrived).

Said officials were there quickly and YHC was able to leave the situation in their capable hands after providing details and a short statement.

Next day YHC was at work in the city visiting a customer. Coming down in the lift the doors opened at another floor and in stepped a bike courier with a heavily grazed face and his arm in plaster. Sure enough it was him (what are the chances?) and we stopped and chatted on the ground floor. Turns out the bike was a complete write-off, the wrist was broken and he was still shaking off the mild concussion.

Never knew his name but is should be ‘Ken Hard.

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

The jokes are funnier at the back.

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

When I was younger I lived in Japan for a year and for a few weeks I dated Nicole Kidman’s cousin (not at the same time).

Rider of the Week #25 – Ravi the Grate

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a bean counter who likes to pretend I can ride a bike. I live in Wahroonga where all the aspiring MAMILS congregate. I am married to Megan, who has now accepted my addiction to cycling is not a passing phase and have two daughters who hate seeing their dad wear lycra.

2. What got you into cycling?

We moved buildings and I lost my permanent car spot in 2008. Best thing that happened to me. I hated catching the train to work. One day my boss Ashley Fenton told me I should try and find that bike track from Chatswood to the city as I may like it. My old Giant steelframe mountain bike ventured out one morning in January 2009, found this track and the rest is history.

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

I mentioned to Peter McNamara who was doing some work with me I had started riding. He told me I should join the Easyriders as it was safer than riding alone. I got onto the email list and three months later took my first ride with the group after talking to Captain and Satnav by email.

4. Tell us about your bikes.

I own a trusted aluminium Argon 18 Plutonium which has survived two crashes and still does the commute well, the Pinarello FP7 which flies up hills as some have noted and still keep my 20 year old Giant Steelframe Mountain bike.

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

I love riding the Adelaide Hills. Want to try a TDF stage one day but still think Adelaide Hills scenery is hard to beat (go Beebs).

Ravi at the Tour Down Under



6. Tell us a riding story.

Has to be my first ride with the Easyriders. The Argon was on a flatbar back then. Satnav said join the group at Gordon and he would hang back with me. He did. I had to push the bike up the Esses at Roseville on my first morning and by Boundary was finding it hard to stand up. It was a damp cold July morning as it had been raining. We got to the Artarmon path and I said to Satnav I knew the way go on. He still hung back so I decided to catch the group. I accelerated then had to brake suddenly along a grate. All I remember is the back wheel sliding from under me so I applied front wheel brakes and went over the handle bars. Satnav first on the scene got me to sit on a rock whilst he rang an ambulance. Up till then I had never broken a bone but I knew I had done just that. I was operated on that evening. Still have the titanium plate and six screws. Actually was too embarassed to feel any pain. I remember the Peppous and B2Bs coming through talking to Satnav as the ambos arrived then went gaga as they gave me the gas. Captain later named in the the ride report “Ravi the Grate”. A ride not to forget. Megan told me not to ride with the ERs again as for six months I was riding alone and nothing happened! Good thing I didn’t take her seriously…..

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

My advice for riders at the back of the peloton is don’t try to get to the front as I will get left behind (I’m still at the back four years later). My philosophy is it is all about enjoying the ride and the company. I like a challenge but am not competing with anyone except myself to improve. I try to set small achievable goals and stick to them.

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

In my school years I was known as the “concert pianist” and harboured ambition of one day performing with the SSO. At uni I could not complete both my music and accounting studies and with 8 job offers from all the major accounting firms after finishing my economics degree I decided the money in music did not compensate the ambition. I failed my final music exams and have hardly touched a piano since.

Rider of the Week #24 – PD

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

Born and bred in Sydney too many years ago to remember, I settled in the sunny north shore after moving around Australia for University and work, I have 2 sensational teenage daughters, a caffeine addiction and should be a shareholder with Vic in the bitter and twisted!

2.  What got you into cycling?

I started riding as a kid. My old man was an Oncologist who also had a small old fashioned private practice doing home visits and having his patients come to our home. One of his patients, Jim, was a very keen cyclist having taken it up as a mid-life cancer survivor. At the time I had just got my first bike (at the age of 10 which I will come to later). Jim picked up the enthusiasm with which I attempted to throw my little legs over an ill-fitting 23” frame. He took me under his wing, got me riding a bit of distance, had a bike built for me by Jim Bundy (I still have the frame), introduced me into Northern Suburbs Amateur Cycling Cub and the rest is history.


Well it was history. A driver’s licence, University, job, mortgage and all those things that get in the way of cycling saw the bike relegated to the back of the garage where it stayed for 20 years. At the age of 40 odd, a hobbit size fella weighing in at 77kg was having trouble keeping up with his two athletic young daughters so things had to change. Thinking I was too precious to ride a bike on the road, I went out and bought myself a cheap mountain bike and began the long grind back to fitness. For the first few rides it was me that broke; then slowly but surely it was the bike that came out second best. Every ride resulted in hours of repair work to the point where I started riding a MTB on the road. That was the point where I realised my destiny and returned to road riding. A new carbon road bike became the newest member of the family, the same LeMond I ride today.

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

Living in the Hobbit shire West of the Pacific Highway, I started commuting into the city through Brown’s Waterhole and Lane Cove National Park – which is still one of my favourite commutes.

With my bike tucked neatly beside my desk at work, I heard the too familiar sound of tick tick tick and saw another cyclist sneakily bringing their bike onto the floor. This unusual fella not only named his bike, he also called it a cappuccino pursuit vehicle. Yeah you guessed it – BUCKY was sitting at the other end of the floor and as cyclists do we introduced ourselves and realised that we shared a love of cycling, place of work and a postcode.

Bucky told me about this group he commutes with from Gordon most mornings and enthusiastically introduced me onto the ER email list. My productivity has never been the same – but the richness of friendships and support (on and off the bike) has never looked back. I became an occasional rider, then semi-regular and although not a ‘Nav-man there aren’t too many days when I can’t be seen sailing along the OTP.

4. Tell us about your bikes.

My commuter is a Gary Fisher Super Calibre 26” dual suspension mountain bike with fully knobby tyres. Why would anyone commute on anything else? Its ride position for the road is – inefficient at best. Everyone rolls past me downhill when I am madly spinning my biggest gear. You can hear the tyres coming a mile away – everyone knows who’s behind them. 5 days commuting on the MTB and I’m stuffed for the week. Occasionally it even gets ridden off road.

My roadie is a LeMond Versailles that has been my trusty companion over tens of thousands of kilometres. Pina envy has tempted me a few time to upgrade, so far I’ve stayed faithful to the old girl that has been through a life changing transformation with me  – so we will march on for many more years to come.

Before taking my 20 year break from cycling I had matching road and track bikes. They hung at the back of a garage unloved for many years. TSS joyously eyed them off and a project was set in motion. Beautifully restored they are now squeezed into a garage full of big boy’s toys.  They are a thing of beauty.

[Editors note: we need pictures here PD]

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

Being a Peloton Sports rider, after each ride I attach myself to Veronika’s intravenous espresso machine in Bar Stelvio and look longingly at the picture of Stelvio Pass. One day I keep saying!!


6. Tell us a riding story.

Being the son of a Doctor who had spent much of his early medical career dealing with motorcycle and cyclist injuries, I was not allowed to have a bicycle. With much persistence I wore him down and at the age of 10 I got my first bike. There were many conditions that went with it and one of those was I couldn’t ride on the road. How he believed that I use to race a push bike competitively at state level without riding on the road is still a mystery. A parental blind eye I don’t doubt.

The ER older set will remember the train strikes of the 1980’s that brought Sydney traffic to a standstill. Unbeknown to my father I use to ride to school in the city from Hunter’s Hill. My father thought I was catching the ferry with my bike. Train strike or not, being an indestructible teenager I set off to school, riding between the lanes of traffic over the Gladesville Bridge and straight past a television news crew. I didn’t think anything more of it. That night, about to sit down to family dinner the ABC news came on. My father would always turn the television off as he had firm views on meal time etiquette. Because of the train strikes he unfortunately decided he would watch the first few minutes of the news and there in full glory at the very start of the news was me lane splitting through the traffic. I think it was about a month before I was allowed to even look at the bike again.

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

Enjoy the ride and don’t worry whether you’re at the front or the back.

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

You mean other than having hairy feet and living underground? To add to my father’s woes of riding a push bike, I also ride a motorcycle. It’s not just a little one, it weighs more than three times my weight and puts an ear to ear grin on your face when you ride it with in the gusto the engineers designed it with. Alas, hours on the pushy meant it’s now been relegated to the back of the garage.

Rider of the Week #23 – El Conejo

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
We came to Australia from Hong Kong in 1996, before that we lived in Honkers since 1980. Australia seemed like an country we should try out before going back to the old country i.e. UK. But like most plans it was subject to change and now we think of ourselves very much as Australians. I have one son and of course Señora Conejo who is a potter. I dispense sage advice to anyone who wants to pay me, I used to know a lot about IT technical matters, but not now…

2. What got you into cycling?
I was brought up in an outer suburb of London. The nearest swimming pools were an hour away and there were big distances between friends. Therefore, cycling was an essential way of getting around. There was some racing at Crystal Palace and Brands Hatch. We had wonderful road riding close by as we were on the edge of beautiful Kentish rolling hills. But when motorised transport became an option the bikes were dropped immediately. I didn’t get back into cycling until we lived in Hong Kong, see below. When I came to Sydney I worked for the ASX and began riding into work on a route very similar to the one we use today. I had a city car park so I only used to do it one way and it was a big deal to ride there and back in a day.

I enjoy riding in different places as it helps you explore the area much quicker. Our best holidays are when we tour on bikes. The other year we did Girona one hour north of Barcelona which was sensational.

The Conejos having just finished their ride around the Girona region of Spain- highly recommended

El Conejo in the Spanish hotel where Lance and his mates trained and took performance enhancing stuff.  I wonder if the hotel owner has rearrange the display cabinet?


3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?
I had just returned from working in Santiago Chile. I started going down my old route into the city and HB told me about this group who meet at Gordon three mornings a week at 6:45, it seemed like my style of riding. Then there was this bloke Drastic who was riding in and back every day…. I thought he was crazy, I still have not done 5 days in a row but live in hope.

4. Tell us about your bikes.
My first bike was given to me when I was about 7, it was a girls bike. I think my parents didn’t have much money in those days and they bought me a second hand one. When I found it in the house on my birthday I couldn’t believe it was mine I was overwhelmed and excited. Secretly I wished I could pull the sloping tube into the horizontal position. I did a lot of trail riding but the front forks broke when I took a bump too quickly. My next one was a new Gamages thing with rod breaks, no gears of course.

In my teens the bikes evolved until I had a double clanger and five gears on the back (Campagnolo of course). The wheels were tubeless or tubs as we called them. I could push it along at a fair clip however, and a normal ride was up to Lewisham which had two serious bike shops to spend our money on.

In the mid to late 80s my wife and I bought a matching set of these new Mountain bike things, matt black frames with no decals. They were sold as top of the line models with 501 tubing (531 being considered way too weak for the pounding) 24 inch wheels triple bio-pace chain sets, but no suspension and no index gears – thems were the days. We rode these bikes around the New Territories in Hong Kong, it was very genteel cycling however and we took them back to the UK to use when we were there.

The motley crew who were doing the Tassie Trail ride with me in 2001 (interesting to see I was wearing red and yellow even back then…)

Now I have the Azzurri carbon thing with Ultegra, which I like although it is getting a bit old (like its owner). I have a Merida mountain bike which I bought many years ago to do the Tasmanian Trail (see the pic), its not very high spec. but is sort of okay for off roading around Snives.  Señora Conejo has a hybrid thing which she likes but doesn’t use much these days. By far and away our most expensive bike is my son’s downhill Giant thingy, four or five grand top spec at the time….Of course he does not use it these days (anyone want to buy and good downhill bike?

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I enjoyed riding in and around the Andes and foot hills of Santiago in Chile. The ski resorts are close by and a typical summer ride ride is to head up into the mountains. The first village is called Farelleones. There is a 30 k climb to the base of the mountain and then a set of 40 switch backs to get to the top. My objective when in Chile was to get to Farelleones, but I never made it. I reached Curva 20 (actually 2kms short of the top) but the road started going vertical and I was stuffed. My assignment in Chile ended sooner than I would have liked and never got another chance to try it. I would love to go back with a lighter bike, compact chain set and better prepared to knock it off and also do a couple of the other hills in the area.

6. Tell us a riding story.
When in Hong Kong I had seen this country park trail across the New Territory hills, it did not allow traffic and looked an ideal cycling track. I lived on the Island in Happy Valley right on the race track. The Jockey Club also has a Country Club on the Hong Kong boarder which was run by a mate of mine and close to the trail’s end. I thought I might find this trail and surprise my mate.

I set off from Happy Valley one Friday evening on the aforementioned mountain bike, writing a brief note to my wife. I took a circuitous route through Central to the Western Car Ferry (I don’t think it operates now) and crossed the harbour to Kowloon. Riding through Kowloon on a Friday night was very dangerous and I was looking to how I might circumvent the traffic. I came across this elevated highway that was still under construction and decided to try that. It was empty and fantastic, I was riding above the traffic and completely safe and it went on for miles. It did have the odd problem in that there were missing sections of road a meter or more apart. Fortunately the workers had laid connecting planks so that they could get from one road section to another. Using these I was able do the full length of the elevated highway. Madness really…

After coming down from the elevated road section I eventually found the trail I was looking for, it went up to a reservoir and through the hills. Whilst the city traffic had been one issue, hacking along through a country park in the dead of night on ones lonesome was another matter. Weird sounds and no one about and no one actually knew where I was. Although the trail was sealed I performed an unintentional dismount when hurtling down a steep slope, fortunately I only sustained minor scratches. The trail came out close to the Shek Kong RAF base and I found an open café although it was now two in the morning. Refreshed with a couple of beers and injuries cleaned I made my way through the back of Fanling Golf Course and into the Country Club. It was now three in the morning and I did not have the heart to wake my mate so went to sleep by the swimming pool.

Señora Conejo was not impressed with my little adventure and I needed to stay in the naughty corner for some weeks after that. Later on, when the elevated highway had opened I would drive along it and it always brought on a smile remembering the night ride.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?
Come and say g’day you will usually find me there. Cycling is funny in that the fitness seems to come relatively quickly so you will no doubt be pushing out up front very quickly.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.
I think I have said enough already, but another Hong Kong story is that I built a 31 foot trimaran on the 16th floor roof of our apartment block. That’s another interesting tale, but perhaps for another day.

Rider of the Week #22 Leonardo da Finci

This week we have our KOM Champion and winner of the concrete bidon Leonardo – named after the Ninja Turtle I think.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
Born in Johannesburg and raised in Durban, South Africa. Left, wet behind the ears, for France in 1999 to race the pro triathlon circuit after winning the All African champs and stayed for 7years – racing, coaching and studying. Met my Aussie wife on the ski slopes and moved over to the UK where we stayed for some 3years before moving to Sydney almost 4years ago now.

2. What got you into cycling?
Moving to Johannesburg to work when I left school, I joined a local running club to meet people. One of the members did triathlon and got me out riding and doing triathlon. The rest is history.

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?
Commuting into the city, I often saw the egg and tomato and one day enquired about this strange gathering of mamils and what I had to do to join the clan. Satnav duly informed me about the $100 he required to make it happen and I was in!

4. Tell us about your bikes.
I own a Cervelo P3 with Zipp 808 front and disc rear (a true time machine), a new Focus Izalco team 2.0 (Di2 and all), a Trek 9.9 SSL top fuel full suspension MTB (kiddies 26″ wheeler though) and my trusty commuter (an old Bianchi MTB that I have had now for over 12years).

5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Of the places I have been it would have to be the French Alps (during summer preferably), but of all places, I think the ultimate for me would be to go on a bike safari through Africa (Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Down style).

6. Tell us a riding story.
Not gonna bore you with a recount of some epic ride or some satisfying race victory so how about a story about my father walking through a South African national park and how a lone elephant bull charged the group he was in. How the ranger shouted orders calmly at first before screaming “run!” and how said walking group scattered in all directions and how the elephant, of course, chose to continue the chase with my father, then 65years of age. Fortunately he arrived at a dry river bed with steep banks and managed to scramble down with the bull  thundering up behind but it was unable to follow down the steep slope. After re-grouping the walk was later charged by a buffalo and a rhino but I will leave that for another time. That is how we train in Africa.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?
Cycling accommodates all levels. The main thing is to enjoy the ride! But if you are looking to improve, consistency is key.

8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.
I have met Nelson Mandela twice and I don’t like Vegemite.

Rider of the Week #21 – Andy Schleck

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

A 45 year Pome import of some 13 years standing down under, married to Toranz (Mrs Schleck) and Dad to Rish (Master Schleck) and soon to be Dad to Peanut.

The Family Schleck

An academically challenged but lucky bugger who started working life as a taxman for Her Majesty’s Inspector of Taxes as it seemed like a good way to get into the foreign office and land a cushy gig working in an embassy somewhere exotic. You cam imagine my horror when not only did I find out that this was not going to happen but they expected me to study as well. Eventually made my way into a career recruiting tax people for others and found my niche.

Now doing my best impression of an upstanding member of the north shore, living in St Ives, and working for Deloitte.

2. What got you into cycling?

Getting a proper job!

As a kid I cycled everywhere, my blue Grifter is still the most exciting Xmas present I ever received, and I stayed on that until I eventually was lucky enough to graduate to a Peugeot road bike when I was 13. This was used to transport me to and from school, weekend sports, around to the houses of my mates and eventually to those of girlfriends too. It started out electric blue and was later resprayed white before losing its drops to be upgraded with a set of ‘Cow Horns’. Go figure but at the time I thought it looked really cool… Unfortunately once I learned to drive the Peugeot was relegated to the shed until it was rescued by my late grandfather, Bill, who did the decent thing and converted it back into a proper road bike and used it to commute around Taunton for some 20 years until he was about 90.

Bike 1Bike 2

Roll the clock forward 25 odd years and I was moving back from semi-retirement to gainful employment (at Deloitte, 5 years ago). Concerned at the likely consequences of losing my considerable opportunity for exercise I decided that the 2.5kms commute from Taylor Square to the city would be just the ticket to get the heart started and take away some of the pain of turning up to work every day. And I loved it!

Affairs of the heart required a move to St Ives to live with the beautiful Mrs Schleck (like I said, I am lucky) and with a big gulp (and the purchase of Luigi) I decided I could ride from St Ives to the City, well maybe drive to Gordon and then ride to the city, maybe once a week and then head home on the train.

Mr and Mrs Schleck

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

On the 22nd July 2009 I was riding over the bridge and recognised the ER jersey from a photo I had seen in the Bicycling NSW magazine, as the bunch swept passed. Just before the sweeper disappeared ahead, Satnav of course, I breathlessly enquired if they were those Easy Rider commuter blokes. Back in the day the ERs only had time for coffee once a month so regrouped at the SSHB meeting point and having got my breath back email addresses were swapped and I was invited to join them for the ride home that evening on the 6pm from SSHB, only as fast as the slowest rider etc. With a lot of support and encouragement I made it back to Gordon – Thank you Tef and Larri!

Decided to give the morning bus a go the next day, which to be honest was not so slick. RTG and I both turned up as virgins to join the bunch, Ravi (RTG) slipped on grate broke many bones (hence Ravi the Grate) and changed the course of the OTP, and as a consequence of this drama the group split and I got stranded someone near Crows nest. Having only recently moved north and only ever ridden to the city on the highway I had no idea where I was and didn’t arrive at the office until mid-morning.

Convinced the missus that they really did seem like a nice crowd, gave the morning bus another chance and that was that.

4. Tell us about your bikes.

If you hadn’t guessed already I am into the aesthetic as much as the bikes as much as the riding.

My first born, Luigi. A custom sized Columbus Spirit steel framed bike built for me by Europa Cycles in Kingsford. Luigi started life as a flat bar Surrey Hills cruiser, then converted to a classy drop bar north shore commuter and now fresh from an extreme makeover vying to be one of the most striking steelies in Sydney. The groupset is Campagnolo; the wheels Ambrosio Excel light rims with vintage Record hubs (built by TSS), the seat post and stem from Nitto, the bars & from Cinelli and the saddle a Brooks. We don’t talk about the pedals, but they are very practical.

Although striking Luigi is no show pony, he serves as the commuter of choice with 3 years of rain and shine on the OTP under his belt and was the prime training bike for 3 Peaks earlier this year. Luigi weighs a tonne.

And yes Bucky the colour code remains a secret.

Luigi 1Luigi 2Luigi 3Luigi 4

Next came Sparky, a Scott Spark 20 dual suspension MTB. Awesome machine and was purchased on the plan to do more off road stuff now that I live next to a national park and maybe an endurance event or two . Only rarely used, Sparky has seen duties as the ‘St Ives House of Pain’ school of commuting bike of choice but is lucky to see the dirt once a year. Maybe next year?


Finally came along Giovanni, a Pinarello Dogma2 in Movistar Blue. A reward for completing 3 Peaks and at a cost it is best not to ask. The group again is Campagnolo with some Shamal wheels. No Brook’s on this one, the saddle is a Specialized based on a recommendation from Half and amazingly comfortable it is too. Meant to be my weekend only machine and never in the wet but when a bike is this much fun to ride…


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

I feel amazingly lucky with the riding here on the North Shore but at some stage I would love to experience a ‘grand’ tour in Europe taking in some of the legendary climbs, mountain bike in the USA through some proper big country and a do tourist adventure in SE Asia.

6. Tell us a riding story.

Hard to choose, joining ER has had a big impact on my interests, fitness, friends and day to day life. One of the more memorable commutes was a ride home on the 6pm bus, the choice of the discerning ER, last year in the pouring rain. The harder the rain fell the more elated the group became as we charged up the fast flowing rivers of North Sydney and down the debris strewn bike paths until we eventually reached Archer Street to be greeted with proper pedal deep water. At this point the whole bus broke out in some very enthusiastic choruses of ‘I’m singing in the rain’ as our feet became even wetter and the bikes almost boats, neither a feat I had thought possible at the time. The conditions were horrendous but there I was riding home with a bunch of mates having an absolute ball.

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

Keep pedalling and have fun. If you want to get fitter, faster or just be more comfortable on the bike then ask for tips and help from the likes of Brownie or Drastique & co, but don’t feel you have too, that’s the beauty of this bunch. And remember, even when it hurts it is better than the train.

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

I have a secret passion for Rapha…

Rider of the Week#20 – Browney

Editor’s note: This week we have Browney aka The Hornet. Some stories of his early cycling life have unfortunately had to be cut pending a ruling by the UCI’s truth and reconciliation commission.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is David Browne, 38yrs old and I like riding bikes, racing bikes, fixing bikes and watching bike racing. I am married with 2 boys (4.75yrs old and 20 months old), both have bikes. I work as a Procurement Manager by day and bike mechanic by night at TSS. My wife also has one bike.

Bicisport Track Team 2002


2. What got you into cycling?

There is a bit of family history around cycling as my Great Uncle, Grandfather and one of my uncles on my Mother’s side of the family used to race track so there was a little bit of encouragement but not over the top. My Father used to ride bikes as a form of cross training when he was running (100m and 200m). I decided to take up road cycling at 14yrs of age after 2yrs of local BMX racing. I liked watching the TDF on Wide World of Sports on a Saturday afternoon 5 months after it was run back in the day.

One day I was mucking around in the shed at my parents place when I heard on the radio that there was a bike race passing through town later in the afternoon, the race was the Goulburn to Liverpool (Now Goulburn to Camden). I told Mum and Dad that I wanted to go for a ride to see the race. I pedalled as hard as I could from the outskirts of Camden to the base of Razorback. I found a shady spot and waited for the race to pass. When the bunch went past I was in awe of the whole spectacle and I knew then that I wanted to race on the road. I pestered my parents day and night for close to a year before they caved in. My mother worked as a nurse at the local hospital and knew a few of the ambulance officers who raced, she obtained the details of the local cycling club (Macarthur District Amateur Cycling club or MDACC). My first race was a 18km juniors only race and I nearly won taking second place in a photo. After this race I was well and truly hooked on bike racing and lived and breathed the dream from that moment on, the rest is history…

1988 Sydney to Wollongong Finish

1990 Penrith 2 Day Junior Tour Hawkesbury Lookout Stage

3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?
I was commuting to and from Thornleigh/CBD and kept seeing a group of riders on a regular basis. I used to just put my head down, catch them, pass them and keep on going. One night about 4 years ago I was riding home a little later than usual and I caught the same group going up the hill on Millar Street at North Sydney. I was met by 52, DT and Coops amongst others. I got talking to 52 who seemed very excited at the time and wanted to chat, he was talking so fast he was hard to understand with his accent at the time. I also chatted to DT on the same ride and by the time we reached Chatswood I had a 5D business card and an email address to contact. I met the group on and off for a few months after until I ended up riding home each night with the group. It was a much smaller bunch back then and often the group was 3 or 4 on most nights with a big night being 6 to 8.

4. Tell us about your bikes.
As you know I like bikes. I generally keep around 4 bikes in running order, 2 for racing, 1 for training and one play bike (mtb). Currently I am riding a Cannondale Super 6 with Campagnolo 10spd Record groupset, a nice bike which is stable and light, stiff in the right places and responsive. This bike will be my roadie for next years road races. I have a custom made track bike made by Kerry Hopkins with a mix of Reynolds 531 mtb, 531os, Columbus SL and SLX. I use 3 different sets of track wheels for various events on the Velodrome. The fixie is a Colnago Technos frame which was my team bike in 1998 with a mix of Campagnolo Record and Chorus components and custom built wheels and finally the mountain bike is a Surly 1×1 pimped weighing in at 8.5kgs. I also have a Colnago Master frame with Record 10 parts but not complete at the moment and I’m also restoring a number of frames for future use as either TSS loaner bikes or future training bikes. There is also an ergo in the workshop under the house for hurt sessions.
OPT 1998 Colnago Technos with Campagnolo Chorus 9spd Groupset


How to wash your bike Dutch style


5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Difficult question to answer…The back roads of the NSW Southern Highlands would be my pick as this is the place where I did mega miles in my youth, it brings back fond memories (you all thought I would say anywhere in Belgium which of course is a close second). Favourite Velodrome is the Ron King Velodrome in Muswellbrook closely followed by Ghent Velodrome and then the DGV.

Clarence Street Cup 2010


6. Tell us a riding story.
I was super excited when I was offered a ride in a stage race overseas in 1997. I was to ride with a team called OPT, a very small low budget pro team who I ended riding with in 1998 as well. The race was the tour of French Polynesia which raced on the islands of Tahiti and Morea. It was a 6 day stage race covering around 700km with split stages on days 3 and 4 and a 80km criterium as the final stage at the marina in Papeete. I was racing with 2 other Aussie riders, 2 New Zealanders and 4 French riders. I could barely speak a word of French (I still can’t). We were picked up from the airport in the middle of the night by the team director (DS) and the Managing Director of OPT. The DS barely spoke a word of English but the team driver/helper spoke fluent English and French. We were dropped off at the team HQ, it looked like a one star motel with no electronic contact to the outside world except one telephone in the hall. We asked the DS what time breakfast was and the response was 8am, what time was dinner? 6pm was the answer, what time was lunch? The answer…lunch time…this didn’t give me a great deal of confidence at the time.

I was thrown into the deep end as they say in that race. After the first stage, a hilly 7km prologue with a downhill finish, the team sat down after dinner to work out who was marking who from the other teams. I drew a rider called Jean-Marc Riviere who rode for the Cannondale sponsored team. This guy had placed 6th behind Richard Virenque in the Coupe de France the previous year, a classy rider. My role was to mark this rider for the following 5 days. His team mate was in Yellow after the prologue so Jean-Marc was out to chase sprint primes for extra cash in between looking after his team leader or trying to take the lead himself. By day 4 I was feeling cooked after chasing this powerhouse who seemed to have turbo charged legs. The DS and team driver pulled me aside and said that Jean-Marc was only human, he would make a mistake and I would be there to capitalise on that mistake. The DS advice was “he has 2 arms and 2 legs, just like everybody else”. By the end of day 5 Jean-Marc was sitting in 2nd place on GC with our star rider in Yellow by 1 second (I was in 24th after losing about 15mins on a Cat1 climb at the end of day 5, totally cooked).

The final stage was the 80km Criterium so it was do or die for our team to protect the win. I stuck to Jean-Marc’s wheel like glue and after about 20mins he started to attack the bunch. This went on and on for about 20mins (seemed like forever at the time) and each time he attacked I would chase and then sit up forcing him to slow and then I wouldn’t work with him which would bring us back to the main field. The bunch was still together for the final 2kms as we approached the final hairpin left hander. My instruction was to stay on Jean-Marc’s wheel, my team leader on my wheel. As we hit the turn (way to fast) I touched the brakes before shifting back 3 gears, Jean-Marc didn’t and hit the gutter on the opposite side of the road. His bike bounced in front of me which left me no choice but to ride over his front wheel, he ended up on the footpath into the barricades. This left us a clean run to the finish line, I lead out with my team leader on my wheel who took the win, I rolled in totally stuffed in 4th at about 10km/h, exhausted. The DS was so excited he ripped the bidons out of the bike and put in two longnecks of beer in the cages. We celebrated by sharing the beer with the team while riding the 5km or so back to the team HQ, by the time we arrived I was feeling well tipsy and I was so exhausted I couldn’t carry my bike up the stairs.

Polar Team Pre-Season Training Camp


7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?
Yes, give yourself a little bit of distance to the rider in front, never watch the rear brake calliper of the rider in front of you, always look at the riders 2 to 3 rows ahead of you in the bunch to judge your speed and direction. Also don’t hesitate to ask questions as there is no such thing as a silly question IMHO. Above all, enjoy the ride and fun that ER freely provides.


8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.
I hate the taste of coffee.

Rider of the Week #19 – Old Spice

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
Old Spice is a young man that masquerades in a middle aged man’s body. He moonlights as a commercial lawyer but  his primary occupation is riding around looking for cash to stuff in his panniers.  Old Spice is married to Mrs Spice – in Old Spice’s mind, she is a middle aged woman that masquerades in a young woman’s body.  Old and Mrs Spice have three Young Spices, each with adult entitlements but masquerading in children’s bodies.


2. What got you into cycling?
Necessity, Narcissism, Novelty.

Necessity:  There was no public transport in the old days when Old Spice was a boy, in semi-rural Sydney, and as one of 5 children, car transport was at a premium.  A Speedwell 28″ with 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub got Old Spice to school, sport, music, and away from his siblings.  An old dragster converted to a BMX bike got him around the state forest next door.  When Old Spice left school, he lashed out and spent $105 on a new bright red Cyclops 10 speed racer.  With decals removed, the Cyclops provided stylist transport for Old Spice to Sydney Uni, not to mention for the thief that stole the Cyclops from outside Fisher Library.

Narcissism:  When Old and Mrs Spice were living in Chatswood, he decided to ride to work in the CBD, to get some much needed exercise.  Old Spice will never forget that first day. On the homeward journey, Old Spice stopped on the Pacific Highway at Chatswood, to permit two young ladies to cross.  It was a much needed respite for Old Spice, in the prime of his youth (his mid-thirties) having just ridden the best part of 15 kilometres. As he stood there, flushed, sweating, puffing, one of the lovely ladies muttered, sotto voce: “Hubba-bubba”.  Irony being wasted on the narcissistic in him, Old Spice sprinted the last few metres home, chest out, bursting with pride to greet Mrs Spice:  “Ho hooo, sweetheart, guess what just happened.”


Novelty:  Old Spice’s daily commute was inspired by a “road to Damascus” conversion one summer morning.  “The Barry” (the train) lost power and ground to a halt between Artarmon and St Leonards. Old Spice sat in stifling silence.  Before him sat row upon row of silent,
immovable commuters, preserved like terracotta warriors.  Time stopped.  Then, from the corner of his own, dull and glazed eye, Old Spice caught a flicker of movement.  Outside the train, a solitary cyclist rattled along, legs spinning, not some archaeological fixture, but a living human, alive and breathing.  Old Spice resolved to forswear life as a terracotta commuter, and to commit to the fresh air and freedom of new routes daily through back streets and parks.


3. How did you come to join the Easy Riders?
With many routes under the belt but with an open mind to going the same way as everyone else.


4. Tell us about your bikes.
Merida Cyclocross with panniers and mudguards for commuting. Giant with empty water bottle for rare road trips.  Learsport/Cops are Tops MTB with “Mullet” brakes for family outings.  Speedwell fixie for Old Spice to imagine what he would have ridden when he was a boy.


5. If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
With Mrs Spice, anywhere.  Apart from that, around any beach, bay or river where Old Spice could stop for any reason at all, have a swim, enjoy a meal of fresh seafood, listen to some music, read a little, then doze off for a bit.. and dream.


6. Tell us a riding story.
Old Spice’s riding stories are around the bicycle as transport. The rack and panniers on Old Spice’s bike have been used to transport, on various occasions:  his daughter to community health, his son to school; a Sunbeam dual pump coffee machine and grinder; 14 kg of fish and prawns;  a cavoodle puppy; two isa brown hens (named Julia and Nicole (Gillard and Kidman); and most recently, a blue industrial trolley.  The trolley was attached to the pannier rack with an ockie strap. The journey from the CBD to Turramurra went well until OS was caught by the Easy Riders at Chatswood.  A burst of speed down Archer, as OS tried to keep up with peloton, threw the trolley into a death wobble. Old Spice’s bareback riding as a lad came into its own and the bucking bronco was brought under control, for the time being.

7. Do you have any advice for the riders at the back of the ER peloton?
Stay back just long enough to work up the puff to try and get up the front.  When you get to the front, wait for some young fella to blast past and do you like a dinner.  Return to the back. Start again.


8. Lastly, tell us something we don’t know about you.
Old Spice plays the flute, but not as well, or as often, as he thinks he does.

Rider of the Week #18 – Anna Banana

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I grew up in country NSW, went to pony club and once passed out dunking sheep (give me break I was 4).  We moved to the big smoke when I was 8.   I studied Social Science at Club Mac and travelled to Asia because
a) everyone else went to Europe, and
b) I  could not afford a plane ride that far.

Next trip was to the Middle East before working in the not-for-profit sector back in Aus.  (Go to Jordan – it is incredible)

More recently I’ve spent 2.5years as an Australian Ambassador (Tour Guide) based in ‘The Alice’ a.k.a Alice Springs, NT.   My favourite tour was a 6 day trip from Alice, taking in Kings Canyon, Uluru, and Kata Tjuta in the Red Centre, and then south through Coober Pedy and the Flinders Ranges to Adelaide.  I’d have a day off in (r)Adelaide and do it all in reverse with a new group.   Time flies on this schedule, and I loved every minute of it.  Just me, my bus, the open road, a few kangaroos and a bunch of clueless tourists in the greatest of outdoors 🙂  I’ve attached 2 photos: a ‘jumping shot’ at a salt lake in South Australia called Lake Hart; and one of me stopped at a river crossing near Kings Canyon that floods the week before had completely covered in sand! (They don’t call Australia a land of drought and flooding rain for nothing!)  My current job in event management looks at innovative employment practices for disadvantaged groups in long term unemployment within the employment system.


2. What got you into cycling?

Both my brother and father have been triathletes for some time.  I started some short distance tris before heading off to the NT.  Coming back to Sydney I wanted to get back into it and thought commuting would get my kilometres up.   Now I’m totally hooked.

3. How did you come to join the ER?

I recently started riding to work and I’d sometimes bump into a mob of brightly coloured riders around Chatswood.   I thought being part of a commuter group would be awesome so when I started a new job in the city I had all intention to join.  I bumped into a lonely egg and tomato on the Artarmon Reserve bike path one day and at the top of Scaramanga he turned around and asked me if I’d seen a bunch of guys dressed the same as him.  Turns out I knew Kevin from my SES Unit and I followed him along to my first coffee at B&T.

4. Tell us about your bikes

At the time I bought my first ‘real bike’, the “Green Machine” (a hybrid Kona), I wasn’t quite committed to regular road cycling.  I was dabbling in a bit of triathlon and cleats scared me.  I’ve since graduated to my current commuter / weekender / all rounder Azzuri Tigre.  A possible upgrade may be on the cards once I’ve saved some more cha-ching!

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

I’ve wanted to hop the pond to New Zealand for a while now.   I want to go hiking over there, but a cycling trip taking in amazing scenery would also be very appealing.  (Unfortunately I’ve heard that road surfaces over there are really hard going though.)

6. Tell us a riding story

My first race on the Kona Green Machine was the Akuna Bay Multisport.  It was an ambitious race of cycling Akuna Bay to West Head return, a kayak to Apple Tree Bay, and a 10km run around Bobbin Head Sphinx tracks.  I’d only done one training ride up to West Head and back and on the day the Kona churned up there beautifully.  It was a crisp and beautiful morning and I remember feeling pretty chuffed as I sped down the final hill making some woo hoo noises!

7. Any advice for the riders at the back of the peloton?

Well at this stage the back of the peloton is usually where you’ll find me!  Drop back and have a chat!

8. Tell us something we don’t know about you

Did you know it takes more muscles in your face to frown than to smile?  The smile is definitely my choice of facial expression.   Catch me wearing it on every bike ride – plus it saves energy for the route home 🙂