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The Bond Between Father and Son

My love of cycling is a story that’s almost as old as I am. It’s about a bond that a father has with his son, and has roots that are stronger than any high modulus carbon frame. 

Like all good Aussie stories, it involves a summer bbq on a Sunday afternoon. I was 3, and with no one else under the age of about 40 there, a tennis court and a 12-inch kids bike kept me company. Having never ridden a bike before, it was inevitable where my afternoon was headed. Forget about training wheels. With a couple of push-starts from my dad and some character-building early tumbles on the sandy artificial grass, I was away and flying. Endless laps around the 50m circuit, dropping the inside shoulder in every time I buzzed past the net post before cutting a big skid as I made my arc around the baseline each lap…at least that’s how I remember it. If only Strava was around in the early ’90s, I’d definitely be the local legend for ‘Strathfield Tennis Court – Anti Clockwise Loop’!!!

From that day on I was hooked. Every Sunday, I’d be waiting impatiently from about 6:30am for my dad to get up and take me for a lap around ‘The Bay’. He’d run, I’d ride. Out of the saddle with one gear the whole 14 kilometres. He had been a keen marathon runner for years and, even after (what I later learned was often) a solid night on ‘the reds’, he never let me down and we’d be out the door not long after sunrise for our weekly inner-west training session.

In the almost 30 years since then, cycling has become a hallmark in our relationship. It’s taken us on a long list of amazing adventures both around Australia and the world, and there hasn’t been a family dinner in years that’s been without a solid chat about cassette ratios or tyre selections.

As Fathers Day rolls around, I know we’re both eagerly awaiting our next ride together: a 7-day Gravel Adventure around the Byron Hinterland and Border Ranges in late September with a group of his closest friends. Until then, Happy Fathers Day to my dad and all the other dads out there. We’ll see you on the road soon.

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My man rides bikes, should I get into it?

Ever waited, and waited for your cyclist boyfriend or husband to come home so you can finally start enjoying the weekend? This was me until…

I got myself a shiny blue bike and some bloody independence!

People say “Alice, are you into cycling?” I answer you’re only into cycling if someone takes you along and shows you the way. It’s the physical challenge and the social aspect that grabs your interest. Then the inclusion and involvement in cycling groups sweeps you up and there’s no turning back. It’s both fun and rewarding.


“Let’s just say I’ve come along way from flat pedals and riding in Nike running shorts and a Bonds t-shirt.” Alice laughs.

Someone once told me that when you’re older, (I guess I’m at the age now to know what he means…) you should try a different sport, something you’ve never done before. This advice is not to broaden your horizons, keep your body in shape or to avoid boredom, but to test your present self. If you continue to do the same things in your adult life as you did when you were a kid you’ll always be competing with your younger self. Let’s be honest, your younger self may always be faster, stronger and happier in your mind. Cycling, for me, was a sport with new personal records, emerging conditioning, new competitors to beat and of course new shiny toys, apparel and equipment to dream about.

Starting out, my first ride was a disaster.

That ‘someone’ who took me out and introduced me to cycling, went down a hill too fast for me and I lost him. Turned a corner at the bottom of the street, never to be seen for at least 45mins of hot hilly hysteria in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. You can’t store a phone in a Bonds t-shirt… If it wasn’t for the coffee stop and listening to the adventures of others that morning, I wouldn’t have done it again… It seems that everyone has their cycling war stories that both build determination and of course character. I laugh about it now.

Read My Journey from B to B by Chris Boogert who took his ‘hobby’ to a whole new level after a serious crash in the Blayney to Bathurst.

Now I can cycle a long way, at great elevation and even go down hills fast enough to not get dropped. It’s an awesome sport with endless physical benefits, but this repetitive movement that gets you out of bed early and exposes you to a whole different friendship group, also plays wonders for your mental health. My advice: don’t wait for your boyfriend or husband to get home, get out there yourself.

If I can do it, you can do it too.

Got a funny or similar story? Tell us about it.
Who got you into cycling and what went down on your first couple of rides?!

Nevermind the chain tattoo, I’m getting into it, and learning a bit more every day.
And a bit of encouragement goes a long way!
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The Velothon Sunshine Coast

The Tour de France is not the only exciting thing happening this Winter. The Velothon Sunshine Coast, now in its 3rd year, is one of the most exciting new cycling events in Australia. It will be taking place 19 – 21 July 2019. This is your opportunity to race in a multi-stage cycling event & compete for the coveted yellow jersey. Be part of the team… You’ll be racing for the Australian Cycling Academy right here on their home soil. They will be back after their successful season overseas, and you’ll get the opportunity to ride with the young motivated professionals. Oh, & did we mention the mid-20’s winter weather on the Sunshine Coast? That’s worth the plane trip alone!!!


Chris and Alice rode the 1 Day Velothon in its first year. “We both had a great time riding, it’s such a well organised event and Chris even came third” Alice recalls.

Teaming up with the Sunshine Coast’s very own UCI Continental level cycling team, the Australian Cycling Academy (ACA), is exciting for us too… We are offering 2 unique tours to the Velothon. 3-day Velo riders can sign up for the Velothon Team Experience and get a taste of racing with the support of a pro team. You’ll receive transfers to & from each stage, ride with real Pro Racing Sunshine Coast team riders, have your equipment cleaned & ready for each day & learn from their professional race directors.


“This year we are working more closely with the Australian Cycling Academy and have even developed a Lifestyle Experience which includes two tourist rides”. Chris explained that this will encourage partners and riders to come to the area and experience the culture and lifestyle.

If racing for 3 days is not your thing, but you’d like to experience a destination at its fullest when you visit, then sign up for our Velothon Lifestyle Experience. You’ll spend 2 days riding the best of the Sunshine Coast, visiting local iconic destinations and meeting the people who make this region so special. Join us for the ‘Village Ride’ and the ‘Market Ride’, before competing in the 1-day Velo on Sunday 21 July. The support & knowledge you receive from our professional ACA staff will make you a stronger & more confident rider for future events.

Learn more about each trip and book your spot by clicking on the links below:

Team Experience Lifestyle Experience

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Cycling in the Dolomites: an inspiring Italian adventure

A lakeside group dinner filled with cheese, wine, meat, laughter, speeches, awards and more cheese. These were the joyous, late-night scenes of the finale dinner on our inaugural Park Bikes Dolomites Grand Tour 2018.

And though this trip was more about the once in a lifetime experiences riding over the fascinating landscapes and awe-inspiring passes of the Dolomites, this moment will no doubt remain at the pointy end of the many lasting memories, and is a reminder of the real element of atmosphere and comradery that accompanied the world-class riding on this trip.

Having just completed 8 of the most challenging and inspiring days of cycling in our lives, including climbs such as the Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo & Sella Ronda, this group of adventure-seeking Aussie cyclists were not going to miss their chance to let their hair down and celebrate for the night.

When we first sat down with Nash Kent (owner of Park Bikes, Sydney) to discuss the idea of organising a trip to the Dolomites for his customers, we began a journey that has reinforced so much confidence in why we do what we do. Our first international trip was an amazing success, not only due to the fantastic group of people who were involved but the months of successful planning and execution. Furthermore, we are now more excited than ever to go back. We’ve worked on many ways to improve the logistics, and can’t wait till the 9th of June 2019 so we can provide an even better customer experience.

Some of the most lasting memories of the trip in 2018 are those that can only come about from bringing together a diverse group of people who share a common healthy interest, such as riding a bike up a bloody big mountain! We are on the scout for another great bunch of people.


Climbing the Stelvio Pass is a special experience that any passionate cyclist should attempt at least once in their life. If you’re even a little bit interested in joining us, this is the trip of a lifetime, come and ride with us!

The 75 switchbacks that lead up to what is the highest paved mountain pass in Italy demands courage and respect, yet rewards all that conquer it with so much pride and self-admiration, something that all of last year’s guests can attest to. Every single rider made it to the top of the Stelvio Pass!

This year, we will be returning to Italy for our 2nd edition of the Dolomites Grand Tour, 9-18th June 2019. As well as revisiting this year’s key climbs, 2019 guests will have the opportunity to take on a number of other famous climbs of the Giro d’Italia, including the Monte Grappa & Passo Giau. If you’re interested in joining the Park Bikes Dolomites Grand Tour 2019, or you’d like some more information, click the button below to fill in your details.

There’s only one thing left to do… Book your spot.

Book Now Read Itinerary

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Australian Cycling Academy: Take your riding to the next level

Lifecycles Travel is now working with our neighbours to the North, the Australian Cycling Academy (ACA), to provide a range of 3-day training camps and cycling tours on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. You’ve probably already heard about the ACA, their success as a pro-continental academy and cycling team under the guidance of team owners and former professional cyclists Ben Kersten & Matt Wilson has no doubt been one of the most exciting stories in Australian cycling this year. Have a quick watch of their launch video and you’ll see what we mean!

It’s not all just for the professionals.

What you may not know about the ACA is that they are committed to creating a better future for not just the professionals, but all Australian cyclists. Their ‘pro team’ standard training camps and tours, which take you along the amazing and varied routes of the beautiful Sunshine Coast, are run by some of the best in the business and are designed to cater for all levels of cyclists. Whether you are looking for that winning-edge, an excuse for a holiday or just looking to escape the cold this Winter, an ACA training camp is sure to change the way you ride your bike!

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For detailed itineraries and to book any of their 3 upcoming camps click the ‘more details’ button below, or contact us and we will help you choose your ideal experience.

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My Journey from B to B

At 23 years of age, my love of cycling was just getting started when it came to a crashing halt on the slopes of Mt Rockley, Bathurst. Despite leaving a few scars, it’s provided a life lesson I would never take back, and the reason that I keep returning to this great event year after year to remind myself exactly why I ride my bike.

This weekend the Cycling NSW Autumn racing season swings into gear for 2017 with the annual Blayney to Bathurst Cyclo-Sportive. There is no doubt the B2B is always a fan favourite, and it’s elevation to UCI Gran-Fondo qualifier this year, is testament to that. A 70km or 110km course through the beautiful NSW Central Tablelands to choose from on Sunday, an elite racing category in the morning as well as a full schedule of hill-climb and criterium races on Saturday, it’s an event that offers a real challenge yet is inclusive of all riders, beginner to elite racer.

Unsurprisingly, it is a popular ‘maiden event’ for a lot of cyclists, an opportunity to broaden your horizons, try a new event or step up your distance marker to the next level. 5 years ago that was the case for me, now this event holds a different sort of significance in my life.

On 22nd April, 2012 I lined up for the B2B as a 23 year old, kick-starting what was hopefully going to be my first full season of road racing. Following a strong summer of training in Sydney, a 4-day Easter training camp with my mates in the Southern Highlands and having just recently been given a ‘gernsey’ with the Parramatta Development Race Team, I was jumping out of my skin in anticipation and ready to prove myself in this first big weekend of racing.

Like any young ‘fresher’, I wanted to do it all. I signed up for the full program: hill climb, criterium and the first edition of the ‘Extreme Challenge’ 160km Blayney to Bathurst cyclo-sportive (I take full responsibility for it being the last edition as well).

“Unfortunately, my weekend didn’t go to plan.”

After naively ignoring the increasing signs of dehydration brought on by the weekend’s heavy load, I rapidly began to fatigue 130km into the race and on the steep slopes of Mt Rockley. The last thing I remember was watching the peloton ride away from me up the climb while each of my pedal strokes began to feel like a mountain on their own. Waking up in hospital 24 hours later, I slowly began piecing together the incident, though still in a heavily drug-induced state. Having limped over the top of the climb, I essentially ‘blacked out’ on the fast Mt Rockley descent, completely losing control of my bike and crashing heavily on my face and left side. The incident, supposedly first called in as a fatality, forced a complete redirection of the race route for the remainder of the day so that I could be air evacuated to Westmead Hospital. My family waited fearfully for the results of my CT scan to determine if I had any sight, head or spinal injuries.

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Up until that point in my life it was fair to say that the power of good nurture had steadily and smoothly pushed me in the right direction. Good family, good friends, good schooling etc. In an instant though, I realised the brutal significance of my own actions and decisions in life. It wasn’t so much what had happened, but what could have happened. I know that I was lucky to escape with mainly cuts and grazes, crashing at high speed and not even being able to brace myself for impact. While I was completely overwhelmed with the level of support I received from my family, friends and the local cycling community, I was also hit pretty hard by how much I had let myself down, as well as everyone in my life who had worked so hard to get me this far. This incident had been all me, no one else to blame but myself. After that, cycling took a back seat and it was almost 2 years until I pinned a number on again.

“When I look back on it now, I feel as though I can see a clear change in attitude from that moment on.”

Maturity is taking more responsibility for your own actions and choosing a balanced path through life. Maturity is not relying just on nurture, but instead respecting and acknowledging those that have made a positive contribution to your life. Like the contribution of Diana Wong, Nash Kent, Simon Hammond and the whole PRT/GPM team, I will always be grateful for what they did for me that day. Or the contribution of the good people in the Westmead Hospital Plastic surgery department, who put my face back together again. Or the contribution of my family, who nursed me pretty heavily through those next few weeks. While it is sad to think of all the great times I could have had riding, and racing my bike over those next 2 years, the incident was probably the most positively influential experience of my adolescent life and has set me on a path to become a more balanced and mature person.

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In 2014, I decided to give bike racing another go and set out to complete my pilgrimage to maturity by returning to the stage that had defeated me 2 years earlier. Having had a really good summer of training, I was fired up for the Bathurst event and ready to take on Mt Rockley again.

“And, it was almost the perfect comeback story!”

I rode a stronger, smarter race and got in the winning breakaway with a group of top riders, only to be caught by the chasing bunch in the final kilometre. I was momentarily disappointed as I crossed the finish line, thinking what a great feeling it would have been to deliver a result at this race, on this occasion. The reality though was that I had got the result that I wanted. The real battle that day had been with myself, and I had won it. For the other guys in that breakaway, it had probably been just another race, maybe better for some than others. For me though, it had been an almost cleansing experience, an opportunity to wash away any demons or self-doubt that I had lingering from before. I had still learnt a couple of hard lessons about bike racing, but I had learnt a lot more about myself.

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Every year, I like to go back and do the B2B to remind myself of opportunity, responsibility and what a positive impact bike riding has had on my life. Hopefully I’ll see you there this weekend.

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Cycling Through Life

Cycling is an epidemic. It’s fast moving, grossly competitive and there’s plenty of toys to buy. All the qualities we enjoy in a hobby. Road cycling, in particular, is now so common that the brave who step into a pair of lycra knicks for a Saturday morning ride are familiar with a bit of a ‘have or have-not’ status. While cycling has spent a bit of time in the media and spotlight lately for the wrong reasons, such as Duncan’s bells & whistles, I’d like to start this blog by touching on a few reasons why I, like 3.6 million other Australians, ride my bike.

The Begining

Coming from a predominantly team-sport upbringing, in my early 20’s cycling rapidly began taking up all my extra time. Like most born-again cyclists, I quickly got the buzz and before I knew it I was signing up for every ride, race or event I could get to. What is it about this sport that changes your attitude towards things? What is it that gives you the discipline to skip beers with your mates on a Friday night just so you can get a solid night’s sleep before a 4-hour slaughter fest on Saturday morning?

Firstly, cycling is individual, yet an experience shared equally among peers. You can’t all reflect on that same amazing ‘down-the-line’ forehand after a tennis match, but you can all share the same experience in that sprint, on that climb or down that descent, as you sit in the cafe in lycra, salt smeared across your cheeks like war-paint, trading stories of valour from the morning’s ride.

Why I Ride

Cycling can provide knowledge and wisdom for other parts of your life. Metaphorically cycling has helped me in many different life situations. It can be as simple as understanding that if you want to do something well it’s better not to rush it, but to be patient and wait for the right opportunities.

Or more importantly in times of difficulty and tough decisions. Without mortgages, careers and dependents, most teens and young adults will (hopefully) have not had too many times of great difficulty in their life. On the bike, it’s a different story. Miss the winning breakaway move on your Saturday morning club race and your life may as well be over (at least for about 2 or 3 minutes). The beauty of cycling is in what happens next. Give up, and you’ll never know what you could have achieved that day. Keep fighting, and you’ll always take something home with you. It could be the race win, it could the respect from your competitors, or it could be a new found confidence in your own ability to keep going when the cards are stacked against you.

My personal favourite is the stubborn confidence it gives you to keep going and hold the wheel in front you, knowing that how hard it might be at that time, any slight change in wind, gradient or pace could be enough for you to come good again. This persistence through hard times can teach you a great thing or two about life. A friend told me a great story about a girl he once dated who wanted him to give her more attention. She started acting flirty in front of other guys to see how he responded and then confronted him about it when it became obvious that he wasn’t bothered. He responded, “Babe, you don’t understand, I’ve held the wheel before. I’ve held the wheel for 100km in a break-away in freezing, wet conditions, with bad legs. I know what real pain is.” Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t last.

Consumed Cycling

And fittingly, it is the state of play. In ‘that’ moment, 100km into a breakaway with screaming legs, you are completely immersed in the task and not thinking about anything else. The rest of the week you are a builder, a student, an accountant, but come Saturday morning all you are thinking about is making it over the climb in the bunch so that you’re not riding the rest of the National Park on your own.

At Lifecycles Travel, we’re all about the right ingredients for a balanced lifestyle. Why not start by going for a ride.