How did you get into cycling?
Growing up in Scotland I was all about mountain biking. As a kid living in the country, there was plenty of places to explore. When I was at uni in Edinburgh there were so many incredible tracks just outside of town, so most weekends were spent with a group of us heading out to do cross country and even dabble in some downhill which often involved plenty of stacks. Road riding was foreign to me before moving to Melbourne where it seemed like everyone was into it. A group of friends convinced me to buy a bike and come out with them – the classic Saturday morning Beach Road ride from Café Racer. It didn’t take long to become addicted, and I’ve not looked back since. I instantly loved the adventure, the physical challenge and progress I was making, and being able to socialise without going to the pub was a breath of fresh air.
What type of riding do you mainly do?
Road. I love how you can simply step out your front door and go just about anywhere. It’s let me explore Melbourne and Victoria and eat a tonne of guilt-free pastries along the way. Then there’s the physical challenge and the reward of becoming stronger – it’s quite a simple equation in some ways; just do it more and do it harder, and you will get faster! The last couple of years I’ve got into winter road racing with the Northern Combine and have loved that – great racing, meeting new people and seeing new places around country Victoria. This winter I’ve also been a sucker for indoor riding – Cycle Collective in Richmond has kept me more than ticking over, with an incredible amount of riding packed into 45 minutes and a great group of people to do it with.
On Average, how often do you currently ride? Hours per week?
I ride 3-4 times during the week before work and do one big ride on the weekend. I try to keep a lid on things on the weekends so I can enjoy the rest of it off the bike with family. It’s important to me to have a healthy level of obsessiveness and still have other things going on. In total for any week I ride 300-350kms and depending on the pace of each ride (and number of coffees) it would be around 12 hours. In summer with more big rides thrown in it’s probably more.
What is your favourite regular local ride?
It’s between two of my weekday loops – Pony on Tuesdays starts with the Tour de Burbs loop and throws in some more hills through Viewbank. It’s a real smash-fest and in parts you can feel like you’re a million miles out of the city. Classic on Thursday's tempos through three boulevards (Burnley, Ivanhoe, Kew) finishing on the Kew Boulie with a TTT targeting sub-ten minutes. I love the course on Pony which is pretty hard-core for a midweek ride with some big pinches and a fast sprint finish, but the Classic is where we all really push ourselves (individually and as a team) and it’s a great feeling when we go under ten and there are plenty of stories to discuss over coffee afterwards.
Are you a member of a cycling club or team?
I’m a member of Melbourne Cycling League, they run some great alternative events and races and it’s cool to be part of a club that is Melbourne wide. MCL has such a great sense of inclusiveness and community, which I’d say has been built through some fantastic social media and great events. The crew I ride with is STCC (Sub-Ten Cycle Club) – we go out regularly during the week (Pony and Classic, and more) and also mix up our weekend rides, race together and go on weekend trips etc. A great group of mates for the past four years or so and we’ve had some great times together so far.
Can you describe to us what your dream day on the bike is like?
I'd love to travel to the Italian Alps to ride the Passo Stelvio. The altitude, length and gradient make it one of the most brutal climbs anywhere in the world and I’d love to have a real crack at it. It'd be great to do this with a group of friends (some riding, some support crew). A pro-hours start with euro breakfast and coffee, lots of suffering throughout the day and finishing with plenty of food and wine.
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