Open post

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.


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!

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!

Open post

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 

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

Open post

Basic Cycling Mistakes

By Nikole Matkovic.

If you’re new to cycling or someone who hasn’t cycled for a while, congrats and welcome to the wonderful world of two wheels (and sometimes three). YAY.

Now we know that riding on Sydney cycleways or road paths can be overwhelming, so to ensure that you are equipped for any ride we wanted to share some basic do’s and don’ts for cycling. Riding bikes should be fun and in order for you to get the most out of your ride you'll want to avoid the most common cycling mistakes for beginners.

Setting your seat TOO low
We know finding the right seat height can be tricky and some of you might spend hours trying to find the most comfortable position. An old myth to get the right position is to sit on your bike and if your feet are sitting flat on the ground you’re in the correct position - BUM BOW! - this is a no, no. The rule of thumb is to ensure that your bike seat is sitting level with the top of your hip bone which will give you a very slight bend in the knee when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. It is essential that you get your seat in the right position to prevent any knee or back injuries during your ride. If you’re still unsure, or your seat is still not feeling right we strongly recommend you to head down to your local bike shop and they will be more than willing to fit your bike for you.

All about the fit
You’ve just bought a shiny new bike and your ready to take your new baby for a spin and something just ain’t right. You’ve adjusted your seat as per the above tips, pedals are in place then you go to reach for your handlebars and they’re way too low or high.

It’s important to have the height of your handlebars correctly positioned to avoid stress on your back, wrists, neck and arms. Don’t fret, it’s a simple fix! Most handlebars can be raised or lowered by loosening the screw on the top of the handle bar. Hot tip - set your handlebar so that it is the same height as your seat so you can ride upright.

It’s not a fashion show
As a first time rider or someone who hasn’t cycled for a while, it is vital to not put too much pressure or stress on yourself when it comes to your riding gear. Experienced cyclists or ‘MAMILS’ are decked out in all the top riding gear which can enhance their riding experience, however if you’re a first time rider, it’s best to keep it simple. Riding gear can cost an arm and a leg, so if you’re wanting to just go out there and enjoy the freedom of riding all you need are three essentials: a bike, a helmet for safety and shoes for comfort.

Refuel and Rehydrate
Whether you’re planning to ride for an hour, two hours or four it is essential you bring water and snacks with you to keep you going. If you have a riding top with pouches or a backpack, it’s a good idea to stock up on some energy gels or chews from the GU Energy range to help optimise your performance. Most importantly carbs are your best friend on any ride, packing a banana or a muesli bar can always give you the extra boost you need to continue riding. But no matter how much you carb load, do not forget to take a break. This goes for all riders, safety always comes first, so be sure to look after yourself on a ride!

Protect that skin
Don’t let the clouds fool you. Even on the cloudiest day the ultraviolet rays are out and looking for some fresh skin to burn. Don’t let it be yours! Apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF to your skin 20 minutes before your ride. When riding the wind can also burn you so it’s essential to get your face (even if you are rocking some sunnies), back of your neck and those exposed knees covered in cream. Trust us, you don’t want to go back to work after your weekend ride looking like Rhonda. We’ve got your back, or should we say knees!  

Now that you know the basic cycling mistakes new cyclists make and how to avoid them, it’s time to register for #SpringCycleSydney if you haven't already. Or better yet, encourage your friends, family or work colleagues to ride with you.

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

Open post

5 Reasons to Get Involved

By Nikole Matkovic.

Sydney’s biggest recreational bike ride is back on Sunday, October 14. It doesn’t matter if you ride every day, once a week or once a year, we are here to encourage everyone with two wheels to get out there and pedal your hearts out around Sydney! Not like you need a reason, but just in case, here are 5 reasons why you should get involved in #SpringCycleSydney.

1. A track for every rider
As the former Belgium professional road and track bicycle racer, Eddy Merckx, once said “Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride!”

With this is mind we’ve made sure we have a track for every riding ability. Try your hand at our 10km City Ride, 18km River Ride, 50km Classic Ride or the 105km Challenge Ride. No matter your distance you can ride at your own pace because it’s a recreational ride, not a race!

2. Ride the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge
That’s right! Saddle up and get your gears in check for the 10km City Ride. We are giving you the ultimate Sydney riding experience with your chance to ride the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge’s maindeck - CAR FREE!

When the Sydney Harbour Bridge first opened in 1932, cyclists were allowed to ride on the main deck of the Bridge, however with the increase in car numbers on our roads cyclists were required to  cross the bridge on a cycleway but not on Sunday, October 14!

3. A fabulous reason to buy new cycling gear
If you are an experienced cyclist you know how important it is to have the right gear on when you are taking on a 50km or 105km ride. So what better excuse to #treatyoself than taking on #SpringCycleSydney.

It might be something as simple as getting a new pair of cycling glasses or a new bike seat to cushion the pushin. With new gear in tow what better way to put them to the test than with a recreational ride around Sydney.

4. Perfect for the little ones
Spring Cycle is the ideal family outing where you can  get the little ones outdoors and away from technology.

Kids of all ages get to put their bikes to the test on the open road with closed cycleways around Sydney -  but don’t fret mum and dad, your little bubs can ride with you for FREE if they aren't big enough to ride on their own. Check out our age riding restrictions here.

Grab the whole family, soak up the sun, grab a bite to eat and enjoy a day on two wheels together.

5. You can raise bucket loads for Charity
Ride for fun, ride for a personal best or ride for Freedom Wheels. For the 6th year, we’re raising funds for Freedom Wheels, a charity that helps kids with disabilities ride. Every $1000 raised allows Freedom Wheels to help children out of their wheelchairs and onto a custom make Freedom Wheels bike.

Not only do you raise for a great cause, but you also get some race day goodies for all your hard work too! Start fundraising now.

Now that we’ve taken you through why, we have something for you to sweeten the deal. Register before midnight Tuesday, August 14 and save a whopping $20 off the final price of entry.

What are you waiting for? Register Now!   

Top 10 Cycle Tracks in Sydney

By Nikole Matkovic.

Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or a newbie to riding, every cyclist needs a good track where you can pedal to get your km’s up and get your blood pumping. With this in mind, we have put together our top 10 favourite rides that will have you geared up for #SpringCycleSydney on Sunday, October 14.

1. Centennial Parklands: Ideal for 10km – 105km riders

Ride sunrise to sunset in Sydney’s stunning Centennial Parklands. Enjoy a leisurely 3.5km pavement ride among the trees and surrounding lakes circling Grand Drive. For those that are not experienced cyclists; children and beginner cyclists can practice on the Learners Cycleway, which features an adjacent playground for when the kids get bored of the wheels. If you and the little ones get peckish there are several food and beverage outlets to stop at along the way.

Photo credit: @Morrellg

2. Prospect Loop Cycleway: Ideal for 10km – 105km riders

Explore Western Sydney on a 50km off-road sealed cycleway. Ideal for experienced riders to first timers, The Prospect Loop connects Guildford and Canley Vale on the Parramatta-Liverpool Rail Trail and reaches as far as Abbotsbury. Along the way you can stop for a bite to eat at Prospect Dam picnic ground but remember to BYO food. It’s the ultimate trail to get those legs moving.

Photo credit:@Andothemando1

3. Parramatta Valley Cycleway: Ideal for 10km and 18km riders

Move away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s busiest roads and clock up your kilometres on the 18km track from Parramatta to Olympic Park. This shared path is perfectly designed for all ages and riding abilities, so it’s the ideal excuse for a family funday. Plus it’s perfect practice for the 18km River Ride! Make sure you grab a bite to eat and explore all Olympic Park has to offer before jumping back on the bike back to Parramatta.

Photo credit: @Zoeb2011

4. Cooks River Cycleway: Ideal for 10km – 18km riders

Ride one of Sydney’s oldest and most popular shared paths. The 23km ride starts at Settlers Park in Ryde, meander through Gough Whitlam Park, following the gorgeous Cooks River most of the way and finish at peaceful Botany Bay. Various town centres, railway stations and parks are en route, so you can make a day of it, stopping for coffee, lunch and snacks as you go. Perfect for a family day out!

Photo credit: @Veloaporter

5. Bay Run: Ideal for 10km – 18km riders

The Bay Run is one of Sydney’s most popular harbourside shared paths and for a good reason. The flat 7km pavement track follows the Iron Cove foreshore through Rozelle, Lilyfield and Drummoyne, never deviating more than 20m from the water. The Bay Run is an enclosed shared path for cyclist and pedestrians, so you can start and finish at any point and it’s perfect for riders of all abilities and ages. As a busy running track keep an eye out for pedestrians as you ride. Post cycle, treat yourself at one of the several cafes with a big breakfast feast and a cup (or two) of coffee!

Photo credit: @Claudiabeyer_barevitality

6. Narrabeen Lagoon Trail: Ideal for 10km – 50km riders

Grab your mountain bikes and hit the 8.4km Narrabeen Lagoon Trail for the perfect weekend ride. Immerse yourselves in the history, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area as you pedal away. Don’t forget to stop along the way to take in the natural beauty of the lake and capture a quick #Insta snap while you’re at it. This flat dirt track is great for the little ones to see what their mountain bikes are made of off road.

Photo credit: @Cyclingwithtricia

7. M7 Cycleway: Ideal for 10km – 50km riders

Do you want an uninterrupted, traffic light free 40km stretch through Western Sydney Bushlands? Then check out the off road cycleway next to the M7. Get your blood pumping and those kilometres up with over 60 entry and exit points which line the route from Glenwood in the North to Prestons in the South. This cycle track attracts approximately 300 riders on a weekday and 1000 plus on weekends. Get your piece of the action! Tip: Make sure you pack enough water on this ride. There is only one spot to fill up over this 40km ride.

Photo credit: @Andothemando1

8. Kurnell: Ideal for 18km – 50km riders

Want to mix it up with off- and on-road riding while enjoying a view? Cycle along the Botany Bay coast, on the shared pathway at Brighton-le-Sands and down to Cronulla on the on-road cyclepath. Take a well deserved break to refuel then head down Captain Cook Drive to Kurnell and up into the National Park to the whale lookout point. All in all this is a good and easy weekend ride so take your time on the bike and break up your day with a beer and pub lunch half way through.

Photo credit: @Chriswebbparson

9. Three Gorges: Ideal for 50km – 105km riders

Get those gears going on a 60km on-road cycle on a strenuous but rewarding trek through Galston Gorge, Berowra Waters and Bobbin Head. There may be more than 1km of vertical climbing and stomach-dropping hairpin turns, but the sweeping views of the Hawkesbury River and Ku-ring-gai’s rolling hills are hard to beat. The whole ride may take more than four hours to complete, so be prepared with water and food.

Photo credit: @Nemogram

10. Royal National Park: Ideal for 50km – 105km riders

Seeking a challenge? Then look no further than the Royal National Park! With three on-road scenic trails at your disposal you can be sure to put yourself and your bike to the test.

• Lake Carrington Drive –  The 9.6km two metre wide track is recommended for supervised children and family groups. It’s also for those seeking a chance to encounter an echidna or lyrebird.
• East Heathcote Trails – Try your hand at a variety of loops on the East Heathcote Trail. The terrain is generally flat although some steep sections are encountered at creek crossings.
• Loftus and Grays Point Trail – Comprises some 8km of fire trail and 2km of single track accessible from a variety of locations. Terrain varies from flat, wide open trails, to steep rocky fire trails to medium grade single tracks. WARNING: Steep sections of fire trails are not recommended for inexperienced riders.
• Don’t have a mountain bike but want to experience the Royal National Park? There is some great riding on-road for the more experienced riders. Enter the park at Loftus (Farnell Ave) and follow the road. It will take you up Audley Road (steep hill) and all the way down into the park. You can then choose to go up the hill towards Waterfall and back on the Princess Highway or continue up to the Stanwell Tops lookout. Loftus entry to Waterfall or Stanwell Tops is both approximately a 27km ride with some challenging hills.

Photo credit: @ Anthologied

Posts navigation

1 2 3 4 5
Scroll to top