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).

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