Great Day, Dirty Dozen

I’m stunned by the response to my request last week for your help in my fundraising drive for the Cancer Council’s Ride for a Reason Lead out Team.


As of Wednesday morning you have helped raise $2,248.00. That’s fantastic work and thankyou thankyou thankyou – you are all legends,


However, there is still a way to go to reach my goal of $5,000.  So please, dig deep.

My fundraising page is here:



Stage 1 – ITT – Malaga

Dennis Rohan
First race leader, Dennis Rohan

Stage 2 – Marbella → Caminito del Rey, 164 km

Michal Kwiatkowski & Alejandro Valverde


Stage 3 – Mijas → Alhaurín de la Torre, 183 km


Elia Viviani

Stage 4: Vélez-Málaga → Alfacar. Sierra de la Alfaguara, 162 km


Ben King

Stage 5: Granada → Roquetas de Mar, 188 km

Vuelta ciclista a España (2.UWT) 2018 stage-5

Simon Clarke

Stage 6: Huércal-Overa → San Javier. Mar Menor, 153 km

Nacer Bouhanni

Stage 7: Puerto Lumbreras → Pozo Alcón, 182 km


Tony Gallopin

Stage 8: Linares → Almadén, 196 km

Vuelta Espana 2018Vuelta España 2018;Etapa 08 Linares-Almaden 195,1 Km ;Sábado 01/09/2018Vuelta España 2018;Etapa 08 Linares-Almaden 195,1 Km ;Sábado 01/09/2018

Stage 9: Talavera de la Reina → La Covatilla, 195 km

Vuelta Espana 2018Vuelta España 2018;Etapa 09 Talavera de la Reina-La Covatilla 200,8 Km ;Domingo 02/09/2018

Vuelta España 2018;Etapa 09 Talavera de la Reina-La Covatilla 200,8 Km ;Domingo 02/09/2018
Ben King
New race leader, Simon Yates by just 1s over Alejandro Valverde

Stage 10: Salamanca. VIII Centenario Universidad de Salamanca → Fermoselle. Bermillo de Sayago, 173 km

(iPib – Hard to believe I was here in Salamanca many many moons ago – It’s a lovely university city)



Simon Yates finished safely in the main peloton to retain the red jersey whilst Elia Viviani  took out the stage win behind a perfect’ lead-out in the bunch sprint on stage 10.

For more great photos, have a look at the Soigneur sire here:



Meanwhile – over in Britain

Caleb Ewan is riding his last race for Mitchelton-Scott before moving to Lotto-Soudal for 2019.

It was good to see Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) win stage two of the 2018 Tour of Britain



Business of the Week – Ride International


This weeks Business of the Week is a cyclo tour outfit , Ride International, run by two delightful people, Pat and Grace.




  • You own a business called Ride International Tours, what are you about?

Ride International Tours combines all our passions to host great events around biking, but includes our love of sharing great food, wine, craft bees, coffee and most things artisan produced. Our cycling tours to the Grand Tours and Grand Fondo are for riders and non cyclists/non cycling partners enjoy the experience of travel and the brilliant atmosphere of the great European bike races.


Ride International Tours is about sharing our passions. Grace has an Italian background and has been involved with hospitality and tourism since 1994. She was a Wine Appreciation Lecturere in the Barossa Valley and has always had an passion for local produce and the stories behind them. Patrick comes from 4 generations of British cycling. He’s uncles, grandfather, grandmother and great grandfather all won prestigious events, championships and held a number of records in their day.

  • Where is home?

Pat is originally from Gawler, near the Barossa Valley, and Grace is a Melbournian and has lived in London, the Barossa Valley and the Mornington Peninsular.

Ride international are now based out of Brunswick, Melbourne for six months of the year – the remaining six months of the year they are based out of Els Casots, a quaint village just outside of Barcelona.


Not by chance they are based near the headquarters for the beautiful Spanish sparkling wine Cava.


  • How/why did it start?

Prior to formation of Ride International Tours, Grace & Pat ran MTB events around Adelaide in the mid 1990’s. We were involved with promoting the then known Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under within local communities, the spirit still continues today.

We ran cycling trips to Asia in 2005 and skills coaching sessions in Australia and Asia around the same time, and still do a lot of skills coaching sessions when in Australia.

In 2007 we established Ride International. In 2008 Patrick was approached by a travel agent to run a Tour de France tour and was asked to design and run the non-cyclist itinerary. That was the beginning of a new chapter and Grace and Patrick’s speciality was running cycling trips that catered to both cyclists and their non-cycling partners to le Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Tour Down Under and la Vuelta.

We consider ourselves very fortunate, we absolutely love what we do and love showing our guest all of our favourite places on and off the bike. It’s been great to take so many people to experience Europe’s many great countries, rides, roads and races.

  • What’s your cycling background and how did that lead into Ride International?

Pat: I guess you could say cycling is in our blood, yet that’s not why I ride bikes, I just love everything about biking, whether it be on road or off road, I could probably write Phd on it all. I’m pretty fortunate, we have over 110 years of continuous competitive cycling in my family which goes back to early bike racing in the UK. My Grandparents Lil and Bob Ruffle emigrated from the Uk and continued racing in South Australia when they arrived and were active racing and social members of everything that was going in Adelaide, Grand mother Lil was one of the founding members of the SA Touring Club which later then morphed into bike SA.

Grace: I always had a support role in Pat’s cycling passion. Whether he was in an event, or riding long distances for his own pleasure, I had cool water, food, took photos and cheered him on.

  • You’ve hosted a lot of tours and ridden a lot of fantastic roads, if you were to head off somewhere without a tour group, just for your please, where would that be?

Grace : The Sella Ronda in the Dolomites is without a doubt one of the most spectacular settings that’s absolutely breathtaking – and is a pleasure for both cyclists and non-cyclists because of the incredible beauty. It’s about a 50 km loop over 4-passes and 3,000 metres of climbing (Pat can confirm actual stats)


  • Is it possible to get a good cup of coffee in France?

Pat: Yes absolutely, but it takes a lot of research to find good coffee in most of Europe.  I’m like a hound dog for good coffee, there’s plenty of small coffee places in Europe now, funnily most of the owners have spent time in New Zealand and Australia and have acquired their knowledge of coffee there. If good coffee is available I’ll find it. I take mine Double Espresso is a shot glass – Always 😉

Grace: Yes. they’re not easy to find but specialist small roasters are popping up in parts of France that would please the the most discerning Australian coffee palate.

  • Whats the hardest climb you’ve come across on your travels?

Pat: In Europe Both Zoncolan and Angliru are unbelievably tough, I rate them equally number 1 – though Zoncolan always seems a bit harder.


Recently I rode the Haleakalā Volcano in Maui from sea level up to 3055m over about 60km of all climbing, unbelievable tough climb. I love it, but was super unprepared and suffered hard 😉


Grace : As a support van driver, the Mortirolo was by far the most difficult with very narrow, steep hairpin turns it was very difficult to navigate through. Then I later heard that Lance Armstrong said it was his hardest climb… I’m not surprised.

Patrick says both Zoncolan and Angliru are tough, though Zoncolan wins ‘hardest’ climb for Pat.

  • I’ve travelled to France on a cycling trip last year and found moving from a cold winter to a hot summer, and the time zone difference, and the jet lag… a struggle initially. What tips would you give to people coming from a winter in Australia to a Summer on the continent?

Grace : If you can afford to schedule an overnight stop en route – that really helps you arrive in better condition. Some airports have hotels inside their terminals (Singapore, KL, Hond Kong and Dubai) so you don’t have to go through immigration – you just disembark, go to your room, have a shower, sleep in a big bed and complete the flight the next day. If you can choose a flight where you arrive at your destination at night time so you can go straight to bed, that also helps get into the time zone quicker. And finally, make sure you allow at least a day’s recovery when you’ve reached your destination before starting a tour – as you’ll get so much more out of it if you’re well rested (and hydrated – remember to drink LOTS of water!)

Pat: Arrive in Europe minimum one day prior to a trip start, arrive in the evening so you can go to bed relatively quickly, once you start riding, take it easy for the first few days no matter what rides you are doing, going full gas, chasing mates and revving you motor before you’ve acclimatised inveriably results in sickness. Take it easy and build into your riding form no matter how fit you are.

  • How do you help cyclists train for your trips so that can get the best from the trips?

We offer social rides around where we meet and greet our guests before their trips and discuss their goals and respond accordingly. Everyone is different and everyone has different goals so we don’t offer cookie cutter programs, but rather guide them to resources that can help them prepare as best as possible.

  • I assume there was a lot of learning during the early days of your tours, what were some of the key issues form the early days?

Understanding all the intricacies of how the Grand Tours operate with road closures and how the race can change depending on conditions and the authorites. This is something that becomes ‘wisdom’ over the years. Many people come to us after they’ve tried to do a grand tour by themselves and have been caught out and have had a stressful experience.

  • Who are your current crop of guides?

Our current key staff are Patrick, Myself and Steve Cunningham (former pro-rider).


We also have a family of guides that reside in Europe that we call upon.

  • How do you recruit your guides? (what do you look for?)

We have a network of guides that we’ve worked with in the past that currently fill our needs. We basically look for people who can read a map and are good people with good hearts… not only from a fitness perspective, but from a service perspective. Service is a very key component to our business that we pride ourselves on. We tend to attract like-minded people, so finding good guides is quite an organic process for us.

How many on the support team would you generally have for your tours.

We generally have 1 support van with driver for all our trips that carries water, food, day packs, tools and spare parts…. and the ability to cheer.

  • What is the typical size of your tour groups?

Groups sizes can vary depending on the popularity of the tour and we’ve run private trips of 4-people to big bus tours for 40 people and everything in between. Our typical groups size however is 14-20 people, which we find is a lovely sweet spot.

Would you recommend hard or soft cases for transporting bikes.

Grace : Soft cases are far more practical with your bike packed well and protected.

Pat: Soft cases are best – hard cases are incredibly heavy even before you load your bike and kit in, they are incredibly tricky to transport around once you arrive at your destination.  That being said, the perfect bike case has yet to be built.

  • What is your bike you travel with?

Pat: I travel with various bikes, it all depends on the trip type, but generally it’s my Scott Addict, light weight, but built with reliability and durability as the priority. Spare parts can be hard to come by in Europe which comes as a bit of a surprise for many people travelling to Europe to ride for the first time, we are spoilt for choice of bikes, service and after sales servicing and support in Australia

  • What do you love about cycling?

Pat: Adventure by bike is beautiful in every sense, I recently drove around a stunning loop in Hawaii with our family, the next day I cycled it – it was like I hadn’t seen anything the day before.

Grace : Even though I’m a non-cycling guide, I actually commute by bicycle and I love getting from A to B on my own steam power. I love how I can feel my environment – the temperature, the smells, the light and atmosphere. Cycling is so sensory, perfect for this former wine lecturer 😉

  • If you could have dinner with 3 people in the cycling world, who would they be, why and where would you take them to eat?

Grace : Phil Ligget, Paul Sherwin and Phil Anderson – on top of the Eifel tower (with my husband Pat) I think it would be a hilarious and insightful dinner with lots of laughs and great stories.

Pat: I’ll agree with that, we love to laugh and see the funny side of things in life and I know those guys all like a good giggle – & some a beer too;-)

  • What is the biggest cycling lie you have told your partner?

Grace : n/a – we don’t tell lies (haha)

Pat: Haha no need, Grace is an enabler for all things biking, in fact when we first met she even loaned me some money to get a new race bike I had my eye on 😉

  • What is your non-cycling go-to place when people come to your City?

Pat: Thats a really good questions as I’m always on the bike and stop off all round the place on the bike. If kids are involved it would be the Collingwood childrens farm, If we are in Adelaide, its the central Market, Mt Lofty lookout and the Gold Fields area out from Gawler on the edge of the Parra Wirra National Park.

Grace : The laneways of Melbourne city are great to meander around and find lovely eateries and speciality shops.

  • If you had 10 minutes with your incumbent State Premier, what would you tell them?

Pat: I’d ask them about themselves first and find out what they like and what their passions are outside of their job. I love finding out what makes people tick and their story. If they strayed toward biking, I suggest continued improvement of biking infrastructure to make sure kids are riding bikes – riding bikes to school, I see cycle tourism in Australia needs a helping hand to encourage more internationals to come and explore Australia by bike.

Grace : We need to change the culture and relationships between cyclists and motorists and that needs to start from learning to drive. We are all human beings and whether we cycle or drive does not define us. Cycling safety and lands need to be better considered throughout the state and not be a token gesture. Perhaps we should have a “cyclist appreciation day” where every cyclist drives into work for that particular day so motorists can actually appreciate that the more cyclists the commute to work, the freer the roads are.

  • Is there anything else you feel like talking about?

Grace : I think it’s imperative that in relationships where there is one cyclist and one non-cyclist – that the non-cyclist feels included and important in that relationship… I’m very mindful of this in our tours and I’m always thinking about making their experience as fun, interesting and valuable as their cycling partner.

Pat: Thanks for the opportunity to talk and think about bikes. Riding and travelling the world by bike is special, it’s a beautiful and we encourage everyone we meet to travel it changes everyone for the better – the world is a safe place don’t worry about the 1%, the world is full of great people.


You can find out more information about Ride International here.

Thanks Grace and Pat for your effort in responding at a time when you are busy travelling with your two young kids and preparations for tours.  Love your work, and looking forward to catching up with you at some time in the future, preferably over a beer.



Adelaide Dirty Dozen

Up till last Wednesday I was all set to ride the 2018 instalment of the Adelaide Dirty Dozen, but on Thursday I received a call from Solitaire following up my emails asking if I was still interested in using one of their new Alfa Romeo Stelvios for supporting the Adelaide Dirty Dozen.


Well, it didn’t take much though to agree, so instead of riding the Dirty Dozen, I drove in support of the riders providing water and taking photos on the day.  Whilst I wasn’t going to ride the ADD, my intentions were to get a few climbs in around the course.

It was a bleak wet Friday night not boding well for the roads the following morning, but waking up at 5am to get an early start and a quick ride showed a BOM radar that looked relatively clear.  Down to Red Berry Espresso to park the Stelvio and a ride up Mt Osmond before the rider briefing at 7am.


Expectations this year for around 150 – 200 riders based on the growth in earlier years, but the number were only around the 70 – 80 mark, a little disappointing, but that didn’t stop the suffering.

And just as the rider briefing was finishing the drizzle started coming down and stayed with us, on and off, for the next few hours.

The first few climbs, which are traditional, were Mt Osmond and Gill Terrace/Sunnyside.  It didn’t take long before the leaders came grinding past.


Of course local media and cycling personality James Raison wasn’t far from the lead


Nor were the Rapha team, although at this early stage they hadn’t grouped up.




After watching most of the riders pass through, I headed back down the Mountain and cross to the 4th climb, Coach Road.  Thinking I had plenty of time before the front runners came through I parked the Stelvio at the top and pulled out the bike for a descent and ride back up, but on the way down I passed the lead rider (sorry – i don’t have a name), and then on the way back up James Raison flew past me).

And then at the top, Andrew Watson from Watts Capture mistook me for an ADD rider and captured me cresting Coach Road. 40648535_1157894244365740_7072430600879079424_o

I have taken some pictures at the top of the Coach Road Ramp and captured some great shots looking aback down, and was aiming to get back there again. Getting the bike back in the Stelvio, which by the way took the bike full with the seats down so no drama with no roof racks this time round, saw a number if riders cresting not too far behind JR. IMG_7117IMG_7118

And I wasn’t mistaken this time round also, have a lok at some of these shots of the riders climbing out of the mist.


Next stop was a water stop for riders on top of Coach House Road. The place where many dreams were squashed and winter diet and training regimes questioned. It was great to have a chat with many riders I haven’t spoken to before.  One of the riders was a Russian now living in Adelaide via California, loved the cycling in Adelaide, the closeness of  the beach and the hills. A few others were talking about calling it a day and heading down to the Norton Pub having achieved what they set out for at the start.

Also amongst the riders were a couple of friends who had completed 7 Three Peaks between them.



One of the new segments of this years ADD was Blockers road, a road that is well known to the gravel riders in Adelaide and is a great little road that takes you over towards Lenswood, or to the top of Forest Range if you turn right at the first intersection.

IMG_7270IMG_7279IMG_7283IMG_7288IMG_7290IMG_7296 A stop at the Uraidla Bakery was a must do refuelling stop for a lot of riders. I think the bakery staff didn’t know what hit them. My coffee and scroll went down a treat.


I decided it was time to try to get well ahead of the pack and headed over to Mylor, the Four Whores to be exact, a nasty little stretch that is only 1.3 km long with an average 9% which doesn’t seem so bad except it has a roller coaster middle and a few false flats, so the 2nd and 3rd whores are sitting around the 15 – 20%, ouch. An excellent section to take pictures on, so i slung the camera around over the back and rode some repeats, stopping when i came across riders. 5 repeats of the 4 whores to be exact.


It hurt.


So, after a great day driving around some of the best Adelaide has to offer, and having a chance to talk to some of the riders taking on Adelaide’s Hardest ride, it was off back home before i had to take the Stelvio back to Solitaire.  Sigh.  It was a great little car, a mid size SUV, that swallows the bike whole, has plenty of power at 148kW, and held the road superbly.


Came across this discussion on Adelaide Cycling – intersing hearing different peoples thoughts, but there are a few gems of knowledge and tips that come out.

SE – I use schwalbe pro one. Really good and comfy. Big cuts ruin them but cuts ruin everything

PW – They also don’t last long but then they are race tyres

CW – I use vittoria but there cyclocross tires and i have no issues with them .If they do road tubeless i am sure they would perform as well.

CC – I bought a Giant Propel with tubeless tyres on it.  Took them off within a month.

DR – The Giant Gavia tyres aren’t great.

GK – For what type of bike???!!!

DR – Paul has an F10 Disk, so I’m assuming for that.

FF –  cant go wrong with schwalbe pro one

CK – l I use Schwalbe One. So far so good.

JH – Pro one 10/10, David Rossi will fit them for you if you struggle. They really are a class leader for road tubeless

PW – I used Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance- was pretty happy with them, not as light as Schwalbe Pro One’s but much more durable.

DR – I’m guessing for the F10? Yep, as J said Schwalbe Pro One are the way to go, and since the F10 Disk can take 28mm, that’d be my recommendation. I can help with fitting them as there are some little things to watch out for. With good sealant most puncutes seal themself, but if it doesn’t seal you can always put in a tube, and patch the inside of the tyre later. The other night I got a nail through my tyre; I just pulled it out and kept riding!
GK –  The schwalbe one TL are good but when they puncture it’s shit. Have had very good experience w hutchinson fusion – better longevity than schwalbe. Vittoria corsa speed last about 4.8km before failing.
DR – I’ve sprayed a few good friends with white sticky goo, but 20,000km on Pro Ones are I’ve had a pretty good run with punctures.

GK – DR so have I, but when they go, they go badly. The wear sneaks up on you. I haven’t got more than 2500km from a rear yet. Zero punctures on the hutchinsons which are more of an all-weather training tyre.

DR – GK I get 4000km or so from a rear. I might try the Hutchinsons, but I like the speed of the Pro Ones.

MV – About 4.8km into a time trial GK?

PW – DR, Hutchison have three ranges- Galactik, performance and all season. Never tried it but I would imagine the Galactik would be comparable and as fast as the Pro Ones. I found the all seasons to be a great commute tyres as it was very long lasting but quite heavy- the performance was the nice middle ground. They were hard to source though.

DR – Better double check your wheels are tubeless compatible Paul.

PG – Yes they are, I ordered the bike to come with tubeless fitted, that didn’t happen ☹

PK – There not too many PG’s around. Did you play footy for Mt barker,

PG – Hiya PKL, yes I certainly did, that was a looong time ago now 😄😄

RC – Another vote for Schwalbe Pro One’s. I haven’t had a flat since I put them on. I wouldn’t go back to tubes.

PG –  Thanks for your comments peoples, you are reinforcing my intuition, I will give the Schwalbe Pro Ones a go

MB –  Try Vittoria Corsa Speed…look ’em up!

PG –  Really really bad experiences with Vittoria Corsa, they are ok for 2,000km then it is a puncture every ride or like on Thursday two punctures and a 5km walk home ☹

TJ – Pro One’s are fantastic tubeless, riding with wider rims and 60psi is amazing!

FS – Same as me TJ- 25s that plump out to about 27 or 28 on my rims and 60psi 👌

MB – I run Vittoria Corsa Speed 23mm tubeless – fastest tyres available according to them! They are a beautiful tyre! 😍😍

DM – 25’s are quicker 😉

PD – There’s no such thing as a fast 23mm tyre!
Schwalbe Pro One is the fastest tested tyre…

PD – Just remember that if you do get a hole that is questionably holding together with sealant that you can put a normal tube patch on the inside of the tyre. My pro ones have a patch in the rear and no issues.

SE – I have tried patching but no luck. How do you get the patch to stick? The sealant seems to stop glue sticking

PD – SE used a scraper and metal brush to remove silicon buildup. Then clean with a solvent and buff with sandpaper.

DR – SE old school patch kits, not the new glueless patches. You can buy tubeless tyre specific patch kits, but the only difference is the patches are all rectangle instead of round.

SE – I just found even when cleaning with alcohol that the contact glue wouldn’t hold the edge of the patch well and it would lift.

DR – SE gotta wait until the rubber cement turns opaque and sticky, then that patch isn’t going anywhere!

TL –  I’ve done it on a few mtb tyres before, lots of alcohol, or acetone, and a few cleaning, and make sure you have let it dry off before gluing. I’ll let the glue pretty much dry on the tyre and add a second coat on top, adding patch once it’s tacky

PD – Also not too much of an issue as the pressure pushes it on, not off.

TL – Biggest patch you can use as well

SE –  I do have 2 nearly brand new gp4000s2 sitting there though, tubeless rocks, no going back now

SE – You guys use stans?

DR – SE Stan’s Race generally (which has fibres in it to seal larger punctures).

PD – Stan’s race if the tyre is off, and normal Stan’s through the valve.

TL – Stans race, I’ve always added sealant after getting the tyre to seat properly and somewhat will hold air by itself

GH – Schwalbe Jumbo Jim 4.8″ Great floatation at 3 psi and knobbly enough for a variety of rocky and muddy trails.

BE – I fitted Schwalbe Pro One’s on Saturday (replacement for the giant gavia sl) and liked them. I did gorge road via Norton summit. The stans did it’s job but I think my next set will be the Hutchinson fusion 5 performance as they are meant to be more durable (not a paid endorsement for Hutchinson….)

DR – PG where did you order them from (and how much if you don’t mind me asking)? Found them online at 99bikes, but the places I usual use don’t seem to sell them.




till next time

tight spokes


2 thoughts on “Great Day, Dirty Dozen

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