Rider of the Week – Paul Clode
Paul grew up in the ‘Siberia’ of South Australia… Mt Gambier… and moved to the sunshine of Adelaide to start Uni in early 1989.
Studying Design at Underdale, he quickly found a connection to his country boy roots through riding mountain bikes in the Adelaide hills with a bunch of Uni mates.
After Uni he started work at Stratco and, despite a 6 year detour to another company Stratco owned, still find himself there to this day!
Paul looks after a small in-house team of designers who create all kinds of packaging, brochures, catalogues, advertising etc. for the company at their head office at Gepps Cross.
This is Paul’s cycling story
- Can you remember what your first bike was?
My first bike was a Repco Husky 10 speed with shifters on the down tube which I got when I was in year 7 at school. This was used as my transport to school and for chuffing around the countryside in the search of adventure.
It wasn’t long before I was tinkering with it… repaint… flat bars (which were becoming popular with these new fangled mountain bike thingys!)
- What got you started in cycling?
I didn’t really become a ‘cyclist’ until my Uni days where a couple of guys had these flash mountain bikes with ‘shocks’ on the front. Wow! Cool!
I lashed out and bought a Repco Maxtrax MTB for $170 – that’ll do the job, won’t it?
It didn’t take long to realise I needed something better.
So, I finished Uni, got a job, got a car loan… and bought a GT RTS-3 full suspension MTB! I did spend some of it on a car… but the bike cost more than my car).
I was hooked. I even started MTB racing, even though back then MTB racing was nowhere near as big as it is now.
But, after a number of years, life got in the way – work, family, my riding friends moving away – and I slowly rode less and less until eventually I stopped riding.
The big problem with this is that I got fat… until one day I realised at 105kgs that I needed to do something about it. Mmmmm… bike riding!
Luckily I was able to lose 25kgs over a year or so, which then made riding easier.
I really got serious again in 2012 when I heard a friend talking about the ‘3 Peaks Challenge’ at Falls Creek.
My sense of adventure was awakened and I decided that I might have a go at it.
This also meant that I needed to ‘cross to the dark side’ and buy a road bike.
Around that time, Brendon Harslett, one of the dads at my son’s school, heard that I was riding and suggested I join his early morning weekday group.
Once I started they couldn’t get rid of me. They are a great bunch of guys and slowly over time our rides started getting earlier and earlier.
We are now meeting at 5am at the Tower Hotel a couple of times a week… and sometimes even earlier at 4:30am (which means getting up at 3:30am).
The reward is great banter, great riding in the hills and coffee at Argo’s on the Parade at 7am. Mmmmm… coffeeeee.
- At a guess, how many bikes have you owned in your life?
I think about 8 bikes in total – I tend to hold onto them and still have my GT RTS-3. It’s an antique! Currently 5 are operational and one MTB frame is in the shed rafters.
The operational fleet includes a Cannondale Synapse (alloy frame), Malvern Star Oppy, Specialized Crux CX bike, the old GT RTS-3 and a GT Force MTB than has been turned into a ‘franken-bike’ with a Zaskar 29er carbon fibre main frame mated to the Force’s alloy rear frame… but with 26” wheels not 29”… crazy, I tell you… CRAZY!!!
- What is your main go to bike?
My main bike is the Malvern Star Oppy which was bought off EBay as a frame, repainted and built up with Di2. Bzzzt!
- What bike do you covet?
I wouldn’t mind the new Trek Madone… or maybe a Canyon… or maybe a Lightweight Urgestalt..
or… there’s just too many I like! As long as it’s black.
- What do you personally get out of cycling?
Cycling is just a great way to get outdoors and refresh the soul (no, I’m not a hippy.. no offence to hippies). I just love getting out in the hills on a sunny day and talking rubbish with your mates and just enjoying life.
But there MUST be coffee and pastries somewhere on the ride. Not negotiable.
- Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS? If so, which one?
As a long time tinkerer, I do all of my own bike maintenance and building.
Wheel truing is about the only thing I’ve never tried – it seems like a ‘black art’ to me.
But I’ve had the odd work done over the years by Bicycle Express, Bike Society at Blair Athol and Whippets Workshop and all have been good (no complaints from me!).
- If you could have dinner with 3 people from the cycling world (living or dead), who would they be and why?
I’m not much of a cycling fan boy, so I think I’d rather choose the guys I ride with. I reckon that would be far more enjoyable.
- Where would you take them to eat?
I’d be happy with KFC, although I don’t think they would (Eds note – I reckon Brendon might! 🙂).
- What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories?
Some of my best memories are from my early days of mountain biking. We would often go on loosely planned trips to the Flinders Ranges or the Grampians with inadequate camping supplies, food and equipment – and no real plan.
It was a shambles, but the riding, adventure and mateship always made for a fantastic time.
- Have you had any nasty crashes? If so how did the worst occur and what was the consequence?
Luckily I have never crashed a road bike (touch wood) but I’ve had a few spills on the MTB.
The worst was hitting a gate at high-speed on a night ride coming down Chambers Gully.
My forearm hit the top rail of the gate as I flipped over it and snapped both bones. Nothing a few steel plates, some screws and bit of time off the bike won’t fix.
I just felt sorry for the poor guy who’s door I knocked on asking for help – his wife had just got home after 6 months away and they were in the middle of getting ‘re-aquainted’! Sorry mate. (Eds note: bwah ha ha ha ha!)
- What is the biggest cycling lie you have told a partner?
Apart from the usual ‘halve the cost of all cycling gear/clothing purchases’ lie (is it really a lie…? more like a re-interpretation of the facts based on new evidence) I think the one that comes out most often is the “my ride partner had a flat/mechanical/injury/crash/wasn’t feeling well/was really slow” excuse for being late back from a ride.
- What cycling related thing would you like for your next birthday?
A power meter would be nice! Don’t really need it but I like gadgets!
- Is there a local cycling outfit/company/cycling club/cycling group/person that you would like to plug?
I’d like to say Keith from Velo-Porte who has been a great supporter of our cycling adventures and trips such as 3 Peaks and Amy’s Gran Fondo in Lorne.
- From a non-cycling perspective, what do you love about Adelaide?
I think Adelaide is just the right size for a liveable city and has so much going for it with the hills, the beaches, the food and the TDU!
- Apart from the local KFC, what is your non-cycling go-to place when interstaters come to Adelaide?
Anywhere in the hills or wine regions is great, although Hahndorf is probably the first stop for food and drinks for the tourists. And maybe a coffee. And some pastries (now I remember why I got to be so big!).
Thanks Paul, I’m amazed at that drop in weight – simply astounding. If that demonstration of what cycling can do for you, I don’t know what will.
Chapeau Paul Clode