Rain or Shine, Thousands of Riders Take on Sydney’s Largest Recreational Bike Ride.

By Nikole Matkovic.

Thousands of people from around New South Wales and beyond took to the streets of Sydney this morning for one of the city’s largest and most-loved recreational cycling events.

The Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle, gave riders the option to participate in a 10km City Ride, 18km River Ride, 50km Classic Ride and 105km Challenge Ride, with the routes taking in Sydney’s stunning landscape and the city’s most iconic sites; including the unique chance to ride across the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge on the main deck, traffic free.


Spring Cyclists riding the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge main deck, care free!

Among the cyclists at this year’s event was former Australian professional road bicycle racer and Tour de France green jersey winner, Robbie McEwen.


Robbie McEwen, Caroline Buchanan and Jon Leighton at the 2018 Spring Cycle start line.

McEwen commented; “This is my fourth Spring Cycle ride and it is always such a fun event to be part of and a fantastic way to see the city. I love participating in the 105km Challenge Ride, but the best part is that this is an event for everyone, from more experienced road cyclists, through to those who enjoy a casual weekend ride with the family. Cycling is a great way to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors so the more events like Spring Cycle, the better!”

Fairfax Events & Entertainment Head of Sport, Sarah Young, said “It’s been such a great day with thousands of people of all ages and abilities from across Sydney taking part, and we are thrilled to be involved this year. Thank you to everyone who has helped raise funds for Freedom Wheels to support the incredibly important work the charity does.”


2018 Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle North Sydney Start Line.

Spring Cycle has already raised over $16,000 for Freedom Wheels, with the total expected to increase over the next few weeks. More details can be found here.

Executive Officer at Bicycle NSW, Alistair Ferguson, commented; “For the past 35 years, Spring Cycle has continued to grow each year and it was great to see so many people come together to participate in this year’s event. The atmosphere has been fantastic and everyone is in great spirits, despite the wet start to the day!

 
Freedom Wheels Rider Natasha alongside her dad and twin sister.

“We’ve strived hard to create a unique event that encourages people from all over to grab their bikes and explore Sydney like never before. We love seeing more and more people enjoying life on a bike and getting the opportunity to ride over Sydney Harbour Bridge’s main deck without any cars, which is a truly amazing experience”.

CHECK OUT THE EVENT DAY HIGHLIGHTS BELOW!

IMPORTANT INFORMATION | TRANSPORT GUIDE

Wondering how to get to Spring Cycle this Sunday with track work in place? Sit back and relax, we’ve planned your trip ahead of time! Here are the affected lines and alternatives.

  • T1 North Shore Line: Buses replace trains between Berowra and Gordon.

  • T1 Northern Line: Buses replace trains between Hornsby and Rhodes.

  • Central Coast & Newcastle Line: Buses replace trains between Central and Newcastle Interchange.

  • Hunter Line: Buses replace trains between Scone, Dungog and Newcastle Interchange.

  • Epping to Chatswood Line: Buses replace trains between Epping and Chatswood due to upgrades.

Please note: It is at the discretion of the bus drivers to allow bikes on their bus. Find out more.

From the Upper North Shore – Participants can utilise parking at Gordon Train Station. From there, participants with their bikes can catch one of the frequent trains to North Sydney. Trains run from Gordon to North Sydney every 10 to 15 minutes from 4:18am.

From Northern Suburbs – Participants can consider utilising commuter parking at Concord West Train Station. From there, participants with their bikes can catch a train to Strathfield to connect with an express service to North Sydney running which runs every 30 minutes from 5:30am.

St Leonards ParkNorth Sydney Train Station is a short ride or stroll from the start area at St Leonards Park on Miller St for the 10km City Ride, 50km Classic Ride and 105km Challenge Ride. Turn left as you exit the station on Blue St, right onto Miller St and then straight up the hill to the start. A team of volunteers will be on site to help guide you as well.

Parramatta ParkParramatta Train Station is a short ride or stroll from the 18km River Ride start area in Pavilion Flat, Parramatta Park. As you exit the station turn left onto Macquarie St, right on O’Connell St and then left into the park via George St. If you are driving to Parramatta Park for the 18km River Ride start, please park in the O’Connell Street carpark. There is no parking along the Pavilion Flat Park as this will be a clearway for the event.

Your event entry includes FREE return public transport travel across trains and ferries!

 

GETTING HOME
10km City Ride – The closest train stations are Central, Town Hall or Wynyard which are all a short ride (or walk) through the city. You can also jump on the light rail from The Star direct to Central Station. Find out more.

18km River Ride, 50km Classic Ride and 105km Challenge Ride – There will be express trains from Olympic Park back to the North Shore approximately every 20 minutes from 9:00am until 3pm stopping at Strathfield, Redfern, Central, Town Hall, Wynyard, Milsons Point, North Sydney, St Leonards, Chatswood and Lindfield. To connect with trains to the West, Olympic Park Sprint services to Lidcombe run every 10 minutes.

Plan your trip!

We look forward to seeing you on event day!

Freedom to Ride

By Nikole Matkovic.

Meet Mitchel, a fundraising superhero who at only 15 years of age is making a difference to other kids just like him.Through Freedom Wheels – TAD Mitchel has made a tremendous difference to countless lives and continues to do so through this Sunday’s Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle.

Mitchel was born with Cerebral Palsy which means for him the simple things we all take for granted each day are hard for him to achieve such as walking and daily living. This is where his drive and passion for raising funds for Freedom Wheels comes from his own personal experiences with Cerebral Palsy.

As a parent, what you want most for your child is to be happy and to gain the same experiences as other kids. At the age of three, Freedom Wheels gifted Mitchel this happiness and freedom with his first custom made Freedom Wheels bike. As Mitchel developed in age he received a bike to suit him at each stage in his life. Since then, he has had six bikes all of which have enabled him to participate in school sports carnivals, go to the beach, play soccer with his two brothers and even race with the Southern Cross Cycling Club. 

Riding his bike over the years has allowed Mitchel to strengthen his muscles, build on his spacial awareness and move around more freely than he would in his wheelchair.

Mitchel riding alongside his brother and father at the Sydney Olympic Park finish line. Image Supplied.

Since having his bike Mitchel has participated in four Spring Cycle events! Having completed the 10km and 16km events in the past, he now looks to show a fellow Freedom Wheels rider and her family the ropes of the 10km City Ride this Sunday.

Not only is he a superstar on course but also off course having raised over $16,000 for Freedom Wheels to ensure that other kids also living with a disability have the opportunity to enjoy the joys he feels every day. Mitchel’s involvement with Freedom Wheels – TAD has allowed him to “give back to the community through fundraising, increasing awareness of the organisation and sharing my experience with other children.” – Mitchel.

Did you know that you too can help make a difference just like Mitchel does. Every $1000 raised provides a bike to another child in need. These bikes allow kids to get out of their wheelchairs and ride but they also allow them the freedom to experience life’s little joys that they would otherwise miss out on. Start a fundraising page now!

Mitchel with his whole family. Image Supplied.

Get to know Mitchel in our rapid fire questions:

  1. What’s your favourite thing to do with friends on the weekend? Ride my bike.

  2. Who is your favourite superhero and why? The flash because he moves so fast and I don’t.

  3. What was the last film you watched? The blue streak – silly comedy cop movie.

  4. What’s your favourite memory?  Doing the Zipline at Niagara Falls

  5. If you could be any animal what would it be and why? A bird because they are free, wild and fly around.

Join Mitchel and his family on course this Sunday and enjoy the freedom of riding!
Entries close 5pm Saturday, October 13. Enter now!

5 Minutes with Spring Cycle Ambassador Robbie McEwen

By Nikole Matkovic.

We are excited to announce that the 2018 Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle ambassador is Australian former professional road cyclist and triple winner of the Tour de France green jersey sprinter’s classification, Robbie McEwen. Robbie is no stranger to Spring Cycle and can’t wait to hit the ground pedalling with you all in 2018.

How did your love affair with cycling begin? 

I used to love riding my bike through the bush tracks near home when I was a little kid and then I discovered BMX racing. My two brothers and I started BMX racing when I was about nine and from then on I was on my bike at every opportunity.

How did you find the transition between BMX racing to road racing? 

The hardest thing about the transition was building the necessary endurance for road racing. I had to learn to be patient in races and to be conservative with my efforts so I could make it to the finish.

Tell us about your most memorable experience in your professional riding career? 

Racing the Tour de France, winning stages and 3 Green Jerseys are great memories but the one I remember the most is getting selected for my first Tour de France in 1997. I was so excited at the prospect of riding the biggest race in the world and potentially winning a stage.  As the race went on I entered the mountains and that’s when I got a big wake up call and realised how how hard it is and what it takes to be successful at the Tour. It was a long three and a half weeks of suffering but it taught me a lot and the experience of riding in to Paris on the final day as a finisher is something I’ll never forget.

Robbie living his greatest memory at Tour de France in 2006. Image Supplied.

What do you love about Spring Cycle? 

I love that Spring Cycle gives so many people the opportunity to get out together in so many different ride categories and enjoy a safe day out on the bike. It opens people’s eyes to the riding possibilities in Sydney from the city to Homebush and beyond.

What advice would you give to anyone who is riding the 105km Challenge Ride for the first time?

Pace yourself; it’s not a race. Ride at a speed you’d be confident to maintain for four hours.  Be sure to take a few breaks along the way at the rest stops, drink plenty of water and electrolytes as well as have a few snacks in your pocket to keep up your energy levels.

Robbie McEwen will cycle in the 105km Challenge Ride. Image Supplied.

If you could ride with any three sporting legends, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Muhammad Ali - He’d be a whole lot of fun. I’d like to see him float like a butterfly uphill!
Usain Bolt - So I could take him on in a two wheeled sprint.
Ayrton Senna - I’d like to ride a technical mountain descent with him and watch him translate his driving skills on to the bike.

Tell us something that would surprise us about you? 

I like karaoke but I’m a terrible singer.

Where’s your go-to place to ride and why? 

Currumbin Valley on the Gold Coast. It’s popular with tourists on the weekends but it’s calm and peaceful during the week which is when I like to ride. It’s a two hour, 60km ride which is enough to keep me fit if I do it three or four times a week.

RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:

If you weren’t a professional cyclist, what career would you see yourself in?
Property development.

Where is your favourite place to travel and why?
South East Asia, the food!

Yosh Hsin I Am A Food Lover GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If you were stranded on an island what are three things you couldn’t live without?
Just one thing - the internet.

Who is your role model and why?
I don’t have ‘one’ - I take inspiration from many different people for many different reasons.

Do you have a good luck charm that you always take riding with you?
My youngest daughter made me a key ring for father’s day, I carry that.

Robbie with his daughter. Image supplied. 

Robbie will be riding the 105km Challenge Ride. Join him and all the fun on October 14!

Enter before midnight Tuesday, October 2 to save $10 on your entry!

Should Cyclists Stretch?

By Body Mechanic.

Stretching is one of those subjects that divides the cycling community. Some cyclists love stretching, others hate it.

Some people can exercise their whole life without stretching and remain injury-free. Others find they can’t string together two weeks of uninterrupted training unless they stretch regularly. The bottom line is that you have to find what works best for your body.

If you’re ramping up your training for the Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle and pushing your distances and speed more than usual? Then you should be considering some form of body maintenance…Particularly if you are over 40. If you’re spending extended periods of time sitting down at work, while cycling, travelling or lazing on the sofa then your body will begin to adapt to that position, and you will gradually become stiffer in your hips, lower back, ankles and knees.

There is not one solution that fits all, but in general, making body maintenance a part of your training routine, will improve your flexibility and highly reduce your chances of injuries occurring. It might be stretching, it might be foam rolling, yoga, or pilates. The key to success is consistency.

If you rely on a single yoga or pilates class each week to satisfy all of your stretching requirements, chances are that you will be stiff again by lunch time the next day after sitting in your chair at work for three to four hours and you will not be getting the best possible results for your body. Make sure you top up the class with some other regular body maintenance work. Think of it like this: If you wanted to ride 200km in a week, would you do the whole lot in one go, then rest for the next 6 days to let your body recover?

It would be easier on your body, and more beneficial, to commute to and from work each day and spread the 200km’s over 10 rides. Your body would also then cope with an additional longer weekend ride, giving you the option of adding extra km’s if you feel like it.

Think of your body maintenance routine as reversing the effects of sitting down all day rather than reversing the effects of cycling. The truth is that it will be helping with both, but a lot of people make the mistake of stopping their stretching/rolling routines when they are not training hard.

If, for example, your training reduces because you have a very busy week of work and there isn’t enough time to ride, then in our opinion you should stretch/roll more rather than less to try and keep your body supple after all of that sitting time.

If you are looking for some specific body maintenance exercises for cyclists, check out the eight week Spring Cycle training plan here. It includes a daily training plan and body maintenance program, specifically designed for Spring Cycle participants.

The Body Mechanic in Sydney specialise in treating cycling related injuries and improving your position on the bike with their bike fitting service. They have helped thousands of cyclists over the past 10 years to improve their technique and reduce their injuries. For a cracking Spring Cycle, pop in and see these guys. Find out more or make a booking at bookings@thebodymechanic.com.au. 

Register now to save $10 off the final price of entry.