- So, let’s hear a little about you. How long have you been cycling?
As a kid, my bike was freedom from home. I remember ending up in an ambulance once when I rode into the back of a parked car at Firle – showing my “no hands” skill! I have been crashing ever since.
I bought my first “real” road bike – a steel Shogun Katana 7 speed from the now closed bike shop on Kensington Road – best guess in the late 70’s. I still have the bike and actually rode it in Gus’s H’eroica a couple of years ago. Going up Blockers at 20% I understood why bike invention and technology keeps going forward…
- What got you started in cycling?
I am Adelaide born and bred so I don’t really know the answer. I loved sport so a bike just got me to the footy oval or tennis court.
It wasn’t until I left Adelaide in 1994 to work in Perth that I became more than just a weekend occasional rider. My older brother had been in Perth for many years and I convinced him to dust off his clunker so we could check out my new city. Next thing we stopped to watch a Vet’s race (now Masters) and we both decided to give it a crack.
It was an interesting experience getting smacked in a sprint by a 70 year old with a false hip, but I persevered and learnt a few tricks from these old guys – many of them ex-pro’s. From that came the cycling holidays and I was hooked.
- How many bikes do you own and what is your main go to bike?
I have never sold a bike, so the collection has grown somewhat. In order of purchase:
Shogun Katana 7 speed steel
Wheeler 7100 9 speed Aluminium
Colnago C40 – Geo 10 speed Campag Record
Scott mountain bike that never gets used
De Rosa King – 10- speed Campag Record
Colnago EPS – 10 speed Sram Red
Merida Scultera 907 (my first 11 speed) Ultegra
BMC Roadmaster 2 (my first disc and Ultegra Di2)
I ride most of them still but my favourite work of art is the C 40. The BMC though is the most compliant and reliable bike I have ever ridden. It looks like it belongs in Vietnam with the “bold” colour scheme, but a cracker bike.
• What bike do you covet?
Nothing on my radar but I reckon I have a bike or two in me yet, subject to Finance Minster’s approval. I may look to get some lighter wheels for the BMC next year.
- Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS? If so, which one?
After Perth we lived in Sydney for another 7 years. I met a great cycling community (Sydney Easyriders) but the squeezy living with 6M people did my head in. When we came home to Adelaide 5 years ago we bought a little hobby farm at Ashton, not far from the Co-Op. Upside is I have a massive shed and a bike man cave inside the massive shed. Nirvana.
To justify all that to my wife, I needed to pretend to fix stuff. These days I will try just about anything – new chains and clusters no worries, and I have moved onto cables etc. Rebuilt a hub last year but no skills in truing a wheel – yet.
I do understand the need to support the local bike shop, so in need, I use Whippets or BE. Both have been very good to me.
- What cycling specific tools do you have in your “bike shed”?
Gee, just about everything – I have Campag, SRAM and Shimano stuff. Even went for the digit floor pump. My last buy was a little tool to get the bolts off your front chain ring. Will have a crack at that when my 34 tooth inner ring next packs it in.
- What is your favourite piece of cycling kit or accessory?
I do actually enjoy the Ashton Cycling Club kit. It was a joint venture of design from about 10 people and the end result gets a lot of good comments. I would tell anyone to think twice before embarking on that custom kit journey though – it comes with some pain along the way.
- What are your pet love and hates about cycling?
A tad tricky, because most of my best days in the last 20 years have been on a bike – and most appeared to involve Hop Based Sports drinks (thanks for that one Dave Edwards) followed by crushed grapes. Shared with mates, either in the Adelaide Hills or overseas, you get a chance to just relax from pressures of the world and just be you.
A few years ago I thought that absolutely no wankers ride bikes. Yes it is true, triathletes may not have any personality, but they may still be nice people. With the corporatisation of cycling, I do see a lot of mini groups with thousand dollar bikes and two dollar legs. You see them riding all over the road and sending drivers into a frenzy. Fortunately the hills are not their favourite haunt so I am largely spared.
We are (or at least should be) a fraternity. Regardless of who is passing you, you don’t need to exchange latest low carb diet recipes, but just acknowledge their presence with a nod or little Aussie finger wave.
- Other than yourself, who is your favourite cyclist?
I can’t say how blown away I was with the IPWR and how gutted I was with the way it ended. I met one of the riders heading up Greenhill Road on my commute home. 100% admiration, but they all have a screw loose.
Like most I suppose, I like the hard men of the peleton, even though I am sure I would not qualify in that space myself. I heard Jen Voight at one of his earliest post retirement talks, with Stu O’Grady, and he was brilliant.
I get a sense from reading his book, that Robbie McEwen would have been a tad prickly to have in the bunch, but his win stage 1 of the TdF 10 years ago was truly epic. Older readers may remember he fell with 10 kms to go and his entire Lotto team came back to collect him. He chased on to the back of the peleton and then ripped them a second one.
Not sure I liked Cipollini when he was racing, but after being in Italy, I had a better sense of the over the top style aspect of Italian racing. The only time I can recall actually being in tears watching racing on telly was when Mick Rogers crashed and broke his collarbone whilst being the virtual TdF leader.
No mention of Cadel – good rider but…..
- Where would you take them to eat?
Lost in the Forest, at Uraidla. Good home-made pizza matched with good local crushed grapes.
- What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories?
So many, but three stand out. Four of us had a Winnebago TdF trip and we were parked in Burgundy to chase Le Tour. We left at 10 am, road lots, met Didier (The Devil) then embarked on drinking and riding a quasi-progressive dinner chasing other friends of ours.
We finished back at the van about 2 o’clock the next morning – still in lycra.
The other two come from a fairly recent trip to Dolomites. The Sella Ronde is just an amazing place and day ride – postcard perfect.
Finally on the same trip we climbed from the Bormeo side of Stelvio and down Umbrail Pass into Switzerland, then around the base before climbing again back up the more famous side of Stelvio. We were gone for some 12 hours of pretty hard riding, burnt out a pair of carbon wheels but got back to the hotel just in time for dinenr – and many Hops Based drinks.
- Have you had any nasty crashes? If so how did the worst occur and what was the consequence?
You know the saying – only two types of cyclists. I am very much the first kind. I’ve busted a few collar-bones over the years. One got pinned, and the anaesthetic crept into my lungs and shut them down. I ended up in ICR on life support till I could breathe on my own. It was not nice waking up that one – but better than not waking up.
Another collar bone parted company only 3 weeks before I was travelling overseas to ride. Double handle-bar tape and plenty of Hop Based Sports drinks got me thru. Mainly fall to my left side, so clearly I need to concentrate more on that side.
- What is your favourite post ride cafe, and what would you normally buy as a treat?
We really try not to ride the same circuits too often. Aaron at the Aristologist at Summertown has no religious senses at all, so open on all Public Holidays. Woodside has a couple that we use, and the Organic (Stirling) or Freds (Aldgate) are perfect on a nice sunny day. Puss-in-boots at Cudlee Creek also makes some mean scones. We usually aim for a Hill’s mid ride coffee, and then if time allows, a Hop Based recovery drink after.
- Do you have a favourite overseas country in mind you’d love to take your bike to?
Curses to SBS for not showing the Giro, and house renovations means I have no Foxtel at the moment. I would love to ride from south to north through Sardinia and into Corsica. The Finance Minister is now claiming she wants to be more involved, and has suggested we do the Belgian Spring Classics for the frites. She is a keeper.
- What is your favourite local training route?
The new BMC has helped me explore a bit more gravel – not that I was lacking prior anyway.
So many secret rides. My favourites vary according to the seasons. The Brikunga loop always surprises me with its beauty.
- What is the biggest cycling lie you have told a partner?
She may read this so I have never told a cycling lie……………..
The Colnago EPS was bought on E-Bay by mistake. The crazy bid that actually won. It was supposed to end up at a mates but he was too short, so I kept it…at least that is what Marg was told….
- What cycling related thing would you like for your next birthday?
I am pretty tight on spending for cycling accessories. I did lash out on a new pair of cycling shoes recently, but most of my “kit” gets many years of work (although never a fan of transparent knicks). I would like a new set of photo-chromatic sunnies and/or maybe a new helmet…but not a poxy Poc.
- Is there a local cycling outfit/company/cycling club/cycling group/person that you would like to plug?
Not really. “My” club (self-appointed President and route-master), the Ashton Cycling Club is very inclusive and always open for riders to join in. “We” (sometimes just me) ride almost exclusively through the hills for 70-80 kms with a coffee stop somewhere. You only need a fair base of fitness and not be a wanker to join us.
- From a non-cycling perspective, what do you love about Adelaide?
For me personally I love the Hills. It is a true 4 season climate, and I live 30 mins from the CBD Post Office but on 18 acres for the cost of a 2 bedroom s$ithole apartment in Sydney. Great sense of community up there still and we know all our neighbours.
- What is your go to place when interstaters come to Adelaide?
I work hard to get people as lost as possible in the hills. I bumped into a large Queensland cycling group (The Fox & Hounds) at the last TDU in Uraidla. I took them over to the Burdetts Road descent. Despite my warning, one of them took most of his backside clean off after going over his bars. Felt bad for him. His week was finished on Day 1.
I never get sick of Montacute Road descent – do it 2 or 3 times a week and love it each time. I would then take them back home via New Norton, with a possible detour via The Scenic or to Uraidla for rehydration and most think they have had a good day. Can always toss a Cherryville in for the guns.
- Is there anything else you feel like talking about?
Two things whilst I have my 15 mins of Wednesday Legs fame.
1 – I am so tired of the car v bike aggro. We are without doubt the more vulnerable of the two on the roads, and it makes no sense why we go out of our way to be dickheads when riding. I do often ride two abreast, but always aware of my surroundings and jump into single file at the first sign of traffic, and it costs nothing to acknowledge the driver with a quick nod if they do the right thing as they pass. Let us start the move towards safer roads. Legal requirements and posting videos on social media will never solve the issue.
Secondly, I have seen a lot of one day classics and all three Grand Tours overseas, and the TDU stacks up very well. After 20 years we seem to be getting a bit tired of the event, despite it getting bigger each year (records crowds each year ???) . Embrace the race!! It would be an economic and social travesty if we lost it to those Victorian Mexicans. Take the week off like I do, and get out on the pedals with me – you are guaranteed a ball, and plenty of Hop based sports drink…
Thanks Nev, it’s been an absolute pleasure, and am looking forward to getting back out on the road with you again, it’s been too long between drinks.