Stephen Sanders

  • What got you started in cycling, when and where?

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I started cycling in 1997 when my business partner at the time (who was obsessed once he took a project on) started cycling. His first year of cycling he went to the tour and came back a fan. I laughed. Shaved legs, Lycra etc was not for me. We rode up Norton summit one day as a challenge (to me). I was in things and footy shorts on a rusty standish. Made the first corner and felt a fool. After that day I purchased a real bike (cannondale at bicycle express) and we rode together regularly until his passing in 2007. If he could see where cycling has taken me after that first day he would be astounded and proud.

  • You have a long experience in road cycling and providing cycling experiences in Australia and overseas, with Redline probably being the most notable in Adelaide. What is Redline?

Redline was borne out of the adelaide football club a while back now where with Craigy and charlie at the club we had a good education on elite level sport. A group of us rode regularly together and kris Hinck, fitness coach at the time coined the redline phrase. He joined Geelong not long after and I carried the legacy of the group forward, first ordering kits for all the team (we often did team time trials around vic park in the off season) and later organising charity rides for the crows foundation. The link to the football club has all but disappeared but the core values of team mates and unity have remained strong.

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The Redline Classic is one of Redlines main charity rides. With 7 ‘Classics’ completed, this 3 day charity rode to benefit the Crows Foundation has become a much sought after event to be involved with. Importantly, Redline has become the biggest donor to the Crows Foundation – something we should be proud of.

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The 2017 Classic added another $46,000 to the ever growing total. Each year the Foundation grants up to $100,000 to support children’s charities, in 2017 our charity partners were – Kick Start for Kids, who provide up to 40,000 breakfasts each week to school children across the state and Canteen, providing for teens with cancer.

  • What are some of the overseas events you have been involved in?

Mostly trips to Europe with George at Unique Cycling Tours however my riding in Europe goes back to the year 2000. I have lost count how many times I have visited Belgium, France and Italy but it is addictive and beautiful and friendly with great food and most importantly total respect for the cyclist.

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As I write this I am in Rome, my last night here after 3 months riding. I have not been beeped at or abused once. If anything cyclists are given priority on roads. Even in the mayhem of rural Italy I feel safer here than I do riding to Lobethal.

  • Which is your favourite?

Italy, for all the reasons listed above. The roads of Belgium I love riding because of the history and perhaps I am Better suited re my build for cobbles as opposed to mountains but Italy is unique.

The cycling is awesome but the people you meet on the way make it memorable.

  • Is there anywhere in France where you can buy a decent coffee?

Peloton cafe in Paris. Only spot and be prepared to lose a weeks salary to get it!

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  • Do the Belgiums make the best beer?

I believe so but I’m not a drinker. That said the tour of Flanders and Paris roubaix are events that resemble AFL Grand Final day. TV starts at 9am and is still going at 11 at night.

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They are just huge parties and whilst the Belgies love the beer they seem to still function after 14 hours of drinking. The daytime dance parties are fun to see as is the love of the song ‘sweet caroline’

  • Do you have a preference for multi stage or single day events?

Single always.

  • As a spectator, what are your favourite cycling races in Europe?

Tour of Flanders as you can possibly see 5 passes of the peloton if in the right spot and the Belgian crowd lives for it. I was on the Kwaremont last year and Gilbert attacked. In a funnel of people the noise was unreal. He was close enough to the barrier you could touch him. Covered in dirt, dust and cowshit (Belgium smells of it and it covers every road) his face and the pain it showed is etched in my memory.

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He then passed again with 16 ks to go (about an hour later) and it was a football crowd type of reaction – all for one rider.

  • What are some of your favourite travel memories related to cycling?

Not airports…. But seeing other people achieve goals. Sitting atop a mountain pass in a cafe (stelvio being the pick of them I think) with 8 others who have made it up after 2 plus hours of going uphill is very special. The charity rides are special too, often because you see a team form after a few days and by the end of it there is a shared joy. Day one everyone looks after themselves but over a week (or even a day or 2) you start to see a great care for each other on and off the road

  • Softcase or Hardcase for packing your bike?

Medium actually but after 9 years this one is just about done. I’ve been lucky as I haven’t had a bike damaged or lost due to an airline

  • What have you been up to over the last year?

Europe for 3 months, riding in the lakes area of the UK, Ghent in Belgium, down to France and Como for a month.

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Being in the one place for such a long time was a highlight. A riding friend, Michael Worden rented a house and so we rode pretty much every day and with it almost became residents. Certainly knew the people very well in certain coffee shops and gelateria’s!

Also organised 2 charity rides in SA as well as acted in a lead role for a ride to Melbourne for Canteen.

  • How many bikes do you own and what is your main go to bike?

Main go to is a trek Madone, the travelling bike is a Domane, I have a retro steel framed Chesini purchased in Verona a while back and a cannondale that has been retired. It has climbed Ventoux and ridden the cobbles a bit so it deserves quality time in a paddock 🙂

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  • What bike do you covet?

Madone. Beautiful to ride.

  • If you could live anywhere overseas, where would it be?

Italy. Como area (but not Como itself), closely followed by Bormio (for the town, riding is hard there as it’s either up big hills or down big hills) and having just visited Tuscany again I could cope being there too. South of France is nice too.

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  • Is there anything you can share with us that your cycling buddies wouldn’t know?

Nah, I’m pretty much an open book and the fact I get to travel and tell stories of life on the road they probably hear it all.

  • 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?

Take them to the Watermark hotel – Redline sponsor of course and they would be driven there in a Toyota from CMI.

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Ok, that said I have just finished a tour with UCT so I would take George Wilson and the other 2 riders that helped him – Dan Zuzolo and Kim Scott. We had a ball and shared a lot of laughs under trying conditions. The Italians do things differently so a simple task of getting ice for riders meant we were looked at rather oddly. Most places don’t even refrigerate the drinks. So logistically we faced many challenges.

  • Have you had any nasty crashes? If so how did the worst occur and what were the consequences?

Not nasty but a broken collarbone in a charity ride I hosted last year. Not really ideal but I accept accidents happen – as organisers we just need to do all we can to minimise the risk.

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  • What is your favourite post ride coffee/tea spot in Adelaide, and what would you normally buy as a treat?

1. Watermark hotel
2. Europa at the bay on a Wednesday after riding with Charlie W and his crew of wily foxes!

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  • What cycling related thing would you like for your next birthday?

A Plane ticket

  • Is there a local cycling outfit/company/cycling club/cycling group/person that you would like to plug?

Maybe not local but Redline kit has been made by Santini since 2010 and we now are about to do version 5 of the full kit. Also do a limited run of jerseys every year for a charity ride and I cannot fault the quality. Good to see trek pick up the lead and get their kit made in Bergamo too 🙂

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

He needs to see the cycling infrastructure in Holland and Belgium and how this network of bike lanes and roads has eased congestion and made for a healthier population. Cycling there is culture, sadly in Adelaide it seems an afterthought. An afterthought driven often by misinformed media and other road users.

  • What keeps you busy when your not riding?

Family – but I’m always riding

 

Thanks Stephen, keep up the great work with the Redline team.

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