Episode 54 - Christopher Jones

August 28, 2019 23 min read

Episode 54 - Christopher Jones

 

Christopher Jones, Founder and Publisher of Bicycles Network Australia joins us in Episode 54 of the All Torque Podcast as we talk about how fulfilling this passion of building this community has helped and educated thousands of cyclists around the country. Apart from managing the website, he works as the Creative Director of Signale in Germany for 19 years now and has been a Wheelchair Support Cyclist in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival for over 6 years. 

Bicycles Network Australia is a thriving forum of over 220,000 monthly readers. It is a safe haven for cyclists to connect and discuss anything and everything about cycling. The website publishes regular cycling news and reviews, targeted advertising strategies, and the Australian Cycling Industry survey, analysis and reports.

In this episode we cover:

  • The story of what sparked Christopher’s interest in cycling to fulfilling his passion of starting Bicycles Network Australia.
  • Keeping Bicycles Network Australia as a free resource for cyclists that works in the interest of the community.
  • How the website makes money.
  • The benefits of having and participating in the forums.
  • E-bikes and cargo bikes as transportation options for people.
  • Holland and Denmark as the world leaders in cycling infrastructure and social integration for cycling. 
  • How the rest of Europe compares to Holland and Denmark in terms of cycling.
  • The changes that Bicycles Network Australia has gone through over the years.
  • Christopher shares funny cycling stories he has experienced.

Links

Transcript:

FELICITY:

Welcome to the All Torque podcast, where each episode we interview an inspiring person to share their story with you. I'm your host, Felicity Dales, managing director of Body Torque.   

This is Episode 54. I have here today Christopher Jones, the Founder/Publisher of Bicycles Network Australia, a thriving forum of over 220,000 monthly readers where passionate cyclists can connect and discuss pertinent topics and the Creative Director of Signale in Germany for 19 years. Your role with Signale includes successful digital projects for leading international automotive, finance, real estate, gastronomy, electronic and service-industry brands. These includes Corporate Identity, User Experience (the UX Digital), User Interface (UI), Interaction Design; Strategy and Project Management for online digital and offline projects encompassing marketing, communication and customer acquisition. Business and processes analysis to improve customer communication, lead generation and order fulfilment. That also includes digital branding, style guides and technical documentation.

And with Bicycles Network, you manage one of Australia's largest cycling communities, coordinating a team of contributors, publishing regular cycling news and reviews, journalism, targeted advertising strategies, and the Australian Cycling Industry survey, analysis and reports. And Christopher, you’ve also been a Wheelchair Support Cyclist, assisting and support rider to ensure the competitors have a safe passage throughout the course in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival for over six years. 

Welcome, Christopher.

CHRISTOPHER:

Yes. Thank you very much.

FELICITY:

You’re welcome. Tell us about your story. We’d love to hear from how you got started to where you are today.

CHRISTOPHER:

Yes. So, look, in the cycling world, I’m essentially the behind-the-scenes person from Bicycles Network Australia, which started in 1999. So the reason for starting Bicycles Network Australia is I am a through and through cyclist. I remember growing up in Melbourne. I was a BMX-er and absolutely, deeply involved in BMX. Being in gym, I BMX and ride in as much as I could. But moving up to Sydney, I was still on my bike and went through, obviously, schooling. My interests led me towards design. And I studied Industrial Design at University, and that was through the 90s. The cycling connection was always there. So even when I had my; I think your final project for my Industrial Design degree, it was very much cycling-related. So I developed what was called a courier communication device. 

FELICITY:

Okay.

CHRISTOPHER:

So in those days, there was the cycling messengers and they would race through Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane. And they were all using the radios to communicate and get their jobs and make their deliveries.

FELICITY:

That’s right.

CHRISTOPHER:

That’s right. So, essentially, I was well connected with a lot of the couriers without being one myself. And I developed, essentially, an electronic device. It’s not dissimilar to many of the devices that all the delivery people have today. Essentially, it was a device that would optimize your delivery route and provide your pick up and drop off location. And it was essentially much more efficient; so using GPS tracking to be able to provide you with essentially more optimal routes and just to make the whole thing more efficient. 

Now, as you can imagine, designing a project within University doesn't mean you have a real product in your hand. I had beautiful models. And I was on the front page of one of the techy sections of The Sydney Morning Herald. So I started getting phone calls and they were saying, “Where can we buy this device?” A beautiful concept though. Essentially, that was quite well connected to my cycling interest. And the base of my Industrial design is always a deep connection and interest in how things are made also from the cycling world. 

But while I was studying, I also became involved in the internet because that was coming through the Universities and scientific institutions. And I was quite interested in this as a way of how or a way for people to communicate. And at this stage, I was getting involved in the internet it wasn't a very commercial space. So I was learning about how to program; how this could be used. And this essentially connected me with the Bicycles Network Australia on creating a website, which could be a community website and which people could just connect, communicate and exchange. 

But the interesting thing was after I finished my Industrial Design degree, I moved over to Germany. I was following my heart. It was a big move. So a young Australian, with not much money in his pocket; not a laptop computer, but a heavy, old computer travelling in my package. And so, I landed in Germany, essentially with not much in my pocket except with a little bit of knowledge about design; some skill in new media. And as I was getting a job and getting involved with the new media world, the connection to Australia came, where I thought, “Okay. This interest and love of cycling and I will start Bicycles Network Australia.” 

So I set this up and it’s just been a process over many years. But one of the interesting things about setting up Bicycles Network Australia was that I had a set of founding principles. And it was to provide a free cycling resource for cyclists. And essentially, we’re 20 years old this year.

FELICITY:

Wow.

CHRISTOPHER:

So we’ve started in 1999. So this year marks our 20th year. And I know that we’re not as big and internationally known as Cycling Tips, for example. So way for Cycling Tips has done an amazing job bringing cycling to that level. However, what I do know is that a lot of people know Bicycles Network Australia. They go to the forums. They’ve read comments, which are being there. Some people are being involved. But we’ve also stuck very keenly to the founding principles, which is actually keeping the website free and always working in the interests of the community first. 

So, if I have an advertising company and want to do something, for me, primarily; the primary question is to say, “Is this in the interest of the community?” So, if I have a laptop seller, they want to come, or some cheap Chinese product supplier; if it’s in the interest of the community but not cycling-related and add some kind of benefit, if there’s anything which throws our question, then it just simply gets rejected. 

What it means is, from a business perspective, it might not be the smartest thing. But I guess for my integrity and the way that I feel we should develop a free cycling resource for cyclists that help and aids and interests' cyclists is if it works in their interests. So, as I run a design business; this is essentially my bread and butter; this is, I work with agencies. Sometimes directly as an expert in some of the areas such as, if I need to understand some kind of technical service and being able to communicate this to the in consumer, I get quite deep into structures and processes and trying to provide solutions, which not only processes but then move over to just design and how we can work with our consumer. So, I guess this is really my bread and butter. And it does give me a bit of a luxury and benefit of having Bicycles Network Australia as my passion.

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

A lot of people will look at our website and if they should start asking questions, “How does it make its money? What's happening now?” Look. It is a lot of passion, which goes into it. I spend a lot of time funding Bicycles Network Australia myself.

FELICITY:

Right.

CHRISTOPHER:

Sometimes, when I get the advertisers on board, then I could cover a lot of the cost. So from a business sense, it's not the smartest move. But on the other hand, in terms of to create what I have created, it gives me a lot of satisfaction to know how many people are familiar with the site and how many people benefit from the information.

Probably a very interesting thing about Bicycles Network Australia; the biggest part is obviously the forums. Now, I write reviews and have some great contributors. Michael in Adelaide, he's doing a lot of fantastic reviews. We look at things that we’re interested in and things which we think we can provide a great review and provide people with enough information to decide if that’s a product for them.

The other part is the cycling community, which a lot of cyclists in Australia have stumbled across. However, the involvement rates have dropped. And what that means is that, and you probably know that from your own behaviour. You go in the internet, you're looking for answers to a question and you stumble across a forum and like it. And typically, the answer is there. And this is in the way that the cycling forums work is that participation in terms of I'm writing a question and being involved. That's not essentially required for people to take value from the forums. 

What it means is the interesting thing is that for every one person who participates in the forum, there are about four or five people who come to the forums. I can see that a lot of time they’ve spent and they're reading the questions and the answers. And then, they can use this information. So, in some of the surveys that I've done, I can see that when somebody wants to, for example, buy a cycling product, they're more likely to take the advice of friends and family who have a non-vested interest or the advice from a stranger on the internet in the forums. Because all these people within a cycling community, they don't have a vested interest in trying to sell you a commercial product.

FELICITY:

That's right.

CHRISTOPHER:

Rather, essentially, it's a bit of a selfless type of approach. And that's why I do very, very well in terms of strangers who are just helping one another. There's certainly the other sides of forums where discussions get heated. And I think that what has been an interesting challenge for us over many years is to try and moderate the discussion so that; we try and keep them mature. We try, we remove the language; so we try and make it as family and friendly as possible. 

When possible, we try and keep it; let's say, as open as possible, in terms of, we're allowed to discuss topics, but as soon as somebody goes off the rails and that's really not that great. So try and keep a discussion intelligent. So the most popular discussion is in the forums is the mandatory helmet laws.

FELICITY:

Okay.

CHRISTOPHER:

And the topics of massive contention, "Should we wear helmets in Australia or not?" And I have been involved in this and I have my own opinions. As I live in Germany, I'm not required to wear a helmet.

FELICITY:

Right.

CHRISTOPHER:

I wear a helmet on the road bike; no question. When I'm mountain biking or going to the forest; there's no question to helmet because it just feels right. And most people do. There are only a very, very few road cyclists I’d see without a helmet.

When I ride with my kids, yes, I've got a helmet on because I want to show them and provide; hopefully, I'd show them that I am probably a good role model. But sometimes, if I just pop up and down the street and I know that I'm travelling at 15 kilometres an hour, and I know that it's safe and I can judge and ride safely, then I don't need I feel I need to.

So this is a topic of great contention. And all this type of ideas about, "Should we do it? Should it be a law? Australia is one of the only countries in the world with these laws. Is it right? Is it affecting our cycling participation rate?" So we have a lot of discussion, for example, on this. And it gets very, very heated with people. Deep, passionate; for example, a family member who has suffered a serious injury or worse probably is going to feel passionate about encouraging everyone else to wear a helmet.

FELICITY:

Absolutely.

CHRISTOPHER:

Whereas other people feel it's taking away their civil liberties if they are forced to wear a helmet. And the cycling participation rates dropped. So this is a short example of how kind of intense and how interesting some of the discussions can get. The interesting thing about that is that it can frighten a few people off especially inside the cycling industry. We've got all these kind of war people, kind of with uncontrollable discussions. We've got the ideas of people trolling and just to create upset. And this is a bit of unknown quantitative for cycling business. 

So the connection between a business involvement in the forum; first of all, there's a lot of hesitation with this. But would have been able to very successfully connect it in the past and that sometimes, by getting visiting industry experts who would not normally participate in the forum but try and encourage them to take part in the forum, probably within their limited space of time. But for me, it's always; the number one question is, is it in the benefit or the interest of the community?

FELICITY:

The community. Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

But I could probably, hands some; if somebody put a bunch of cash on the table. And people, they want it. But it just doesn't feel right.

FELICITY:

No.

CHRISTOPHER:

I do try and operate it in this way.

FELICITY:

Yes. Well, that’s in alignment with your values, which is fantastic. And definitely, your passion shines through. And you’ve created a legacy that you can continue to maintain and evolve and grow and leave behind. So I think it’s fantastic. It’s a wonderful community. You have recognized an interest in cycling for transport, in particular, e-bikes. And created a discussion forum for that based on demand along with the new cargo and utility bikes discussion forum. Let's talk about that.

CHRISTOPHER:

Yes. Sure. Look. Being over in Europe, and I’ve lived between Australia and Germany. So Sydney, mainly; and Germany, I travel. A little bit about Europe; it provides me with, let’s say, the insights into both countries. Even when e-bike were essentially starting off, and in Australia, people were doing conversion kits; so simply getting a motor and put them on existing bikes. I co-wrote an e-bike buyers guide. And this was another author who I work altogether with, called, David Halfpenny, who’s in Sydney. And this was essentially before the boom and as a few of the shops were just starting out. 

And the thing is that there was not a lot known about e-bikes in terms of the regulations. And at that time, in Australia, they were still regulating kind of the laws intend to which motor capacity do we go with. Now, in the meantime, it's become a little bit more regulated and stable. And people don't really do conversion kits anymore. But at that time, we were answering a lot of questions. And I involved, essentially, five e-bike brands and retailers in a roundtable discussion to answer these questions. And this is actually been a; for an average cyclist, let’s say a road cyclist like myself, there was a little bit of scepticism about these e-bikes. And people say, “You’re not providing kind of your own human power to drive these.” And this seems to be a little bit of an attack on cycling if you put a motor in a bike. But the reality of e-bike is that e-bikes; they provide accessibility.

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

They provide a transport option to people who may not be suited to a regular bicycle. And this could be, for example, people in community who say, “Look. Coming in sweaty to work is a concern of mine. And I just can’t do it.”

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

But if I have an e-bike and I can take off some of that human exertion power, and I can arrive to work fresher, then this becomes a general transport alternative. Or elderly people…

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

…Where maybe they were riding previously, and now, with e-bikes, they can continue to ride. But what we also see, just because e-bikes now provide that accessibility, it can be, for many people, a replacement to a car especially for the short trips to the shops. For me, I see; yes, it has a motor on it and maybe the traditionalist may not appreciate this. But there’s actually no challenge. And there’s no taking away from biking. Rather, what it’s doing is it’s providing a lot more people with access to two-wheel transport, which is obviously cleaner. It keeps the road free from congestion from motor vehicles. And it is just a positive for transport as we move forward. 

So, look. I’m deeply interested in e-bikes. And I've been building motors in and out when we have Shimano workshops and having a look at that and build them into that. So I feel that I know a lot, and I just want to simply encourage people who, for whom, this could be an option to have a closer look and decide whether an e-bike is a fair replacement for a car. Because I think it's just good for transport. 

And it lead over to cargo bikes. Cargo bikes, with or without an e-bike motor, they just provide a functional transport alternative. If you think about the cost of a car, even a small car for $15,000. You have insurance, you have registration. And every year, it’s a sizeable kind of chunk of cash, which kind of gets invested in a car; you’ve got petrol. With a cargo bike, there is a small investment price; certainly not as much as a vehicle. But if you are a mother with two kids or a father with two kids and you can take them to preschool with this and it's a short journey. Or if you can go shopping and use a cargo bike, it’s much healthier, it’s fun. And you probably; in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, you can see the couriers; they’re using cargo bikes these days because it’s just a practical way.

FELICITY:

That’s right.

CHRISTOPHER:

An efficient way of getting through town. So in Europe, this is booming. So if I go to a bike show, such as Eurobike, and some of the bigger show. Because I was, this year, earlier in VELOBerlin, which was a beautiful show. And what I was surprised about is just the amount of cargo bikes. There are so many brands. Some of the brands that we already know who kind of essentially started the whole scene. But a lot of brands entering this with quality cargo bikes; different styles such as the Copenhagen styles or the long cargo bikes. 

And this is booming in Germany. I can see people kind of riding about town. I live in a small town in Germany with the beautiful Falk workhouses. And they’re just quite quaint and pretty.

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

And you see a small town just kind of starting to have a few cargo bikes pop up here and there. And then, half the people riding e-bikes, you can really sense that something’s happening. And for Australia, this provides options where our infrastructure is behind. It’s just backwards; the infrastructure for cycling in Australia. 

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

By putting more cyclists on the road, by leaving the car at home and using a cargo bike; an e-bike, if that’s a better option, I think that that is part of the way that every day people will help contribute to, let’s say, a cleaner and smarter transport future.

FELICITY:

Yes. I think it’s got a very broad option for a very wide demographic; for every age group, really. So I've had a friend that I had lunch with today and he got on an e-bike with a friend who just rang him up. And he loved it; he was saying. And then, I’ve got another person; a lady I know who in a group I’m part of. And she loves hers. So it’s really, I think, the e-bike is really opening up opportunities for people that wouldn't normally do it. So it means that they can either do other activities or just add to what they’re doing will get them outside in the first place. I think it’s fantastic. 

CHRISTOPHER:

Absolutely. And also, if you think about people, who I’d say, become more mature with age. Maybe your own, let’s say, physical mobility becomes more limited, an e-bike is still a way of now getting out there, having move and just improve in health. 

FELICITY:

Absolutely.

CHRISTOPHER:

So e-bikes are fantastic. And this is really where a lot of the movement in Europe has taken place. We’ve got the e-mountain bikes for people who are, let’s say sport-oriented and more active and maybe want to have a boost up the hills, especially with mature riders because it just provides them with access and mobility. And as soon as you limit mobility for people and they are reliant on cars, and can’t get car spaces or not as confident driving or they can’t drive and have to wait for the bus to come, an e-bike can just be the way just to bring people out and make also communities more active and alive.

FELICITY:

Absolutely. And I interviewed Lee Riethmuller; he’s from Rocksy Handcycles. And he actually is doing that for disabled people as well. So he’s creating bikes with a motorized for disabled people to ride. So that’s fantastic as well. You’ve stated that Holland and Denmark are the world leaders in cycling infrastructure and the social integration of cycling. How does the rest of Europe compare where cycling is popular? I know you’re in Germany. So I’m figuring…

CHRISTOPHER:

Yes. Look. It’s probably no surprise for a lot of the cycling advocates to say Holland and Denmark are our world leaders. And what we see for Holland, for example, is they even essentially export their skills and knowledge. And we have in Australia; we have one of our leading industry organization who push for advocacy. They invite essentially the Dutch Embassy who share their knowledge. And we have delegates from Australia who will go to Holland. 

Now, Denmark and Copenhagen, very, very well-known. And when you visit these places and cities, we do know massive amounts of people riding. And let’s say, one of the actually fascinating things about when you visit these places, it can be frustrating if you’re a cyclist and you want to have a bit of speed and you’re stuck in a bicycle traffic jam. 

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

And it's kind of nice problem to have. I’d cycled in Berlin for many years and it was a frustration just being stuck in cycling traffic. But let's call this for Australian; Australian a nice problem to have. 

FELICITY:

Try to imagine.

CHRISTOPHER:

Yes. And it is fantastic. And it’s just an eye-opener when you go. Actually, cycling can work and people can stick to and still get to places. And there is harmony between public transport, private vehicles and bikes and all pedestrian. It does work. And it is frustrating to see that Australia and the politics in Australia doesn't move forward. But how do the other European nations compared? It is vastly different. 

So Holland and Denmark, I would say leaders in different ways. With Germany, they have an excellent cycling transport network. And I can go from one village to the next village or even from major towns to other places. And often, I'm on dedicated cycleways or path or shared paths. There are often off-road linkages between village. And you can travel about and this is not something, which you can expect in Australia. 

But Germany, they do put a lot of investment into cycling. It is quite regional, however. So it’s not necessarily something that comes from the entire country but rather a lot of the regions. They invest in it and they know that it works for tourism. And they know that it works for the community because the community wonder. And they know that it works for the economy because the economy is boost. So you have small towns. 

And even the place where I’m now, there’s a small thriving cafe here; and it thrives. A lot of it has to do with the cycle travellers. Every day, a lot of people, especially retirees, cycle through the little villages. And this is a cafe they all go to. And they’re booming. And the small shops around; they’re all benefiting from the riders that pass by. And if you consider this, you can compare that to cars, cycling just opens up your eyes as a rider. You can stop when you want. You can look about. And it is a little bit free. 

Now comparing it to a couple of other countries; Italy will be a little bit different. You got the racing car drivers. Maybe they’re not quite as developed and haven't really seen the potential. So my perception of Italy is, yes, there are people who are riding about Rome and some of the other cities; a lot of mopeds and scooters. And they are not quite as; they haven't developed as much. 

However, in the road cycling space, and especially in the Dolomites and other fantastic climb, the cycle tournament industry is big and there’s always cyclists in all the roads. And I think that that’s where they put a lot of emphasis and focus on in developing some of the [inaudible 26:46] and the mountain biking, which is still booming as well. So it is very, very different between the nations. 

FELICITY:

Yes. It’s quite diverse. 

CHRISTOPHER:

That’s right.

FELICITY:

And how has Bicycles Network Australia changed over the years since its inception for you?

CHRISTOPHER:

Sure. Look. Bicycles Network Australia is an interesting one because I run it not with business motives as kind of my primary guide. It’s not about, “I have to make money.” No. It's about fostering community. It’s actually always been based on organic growth. So if I look at the future and say what will happen, it has to be organic. It has to be based on maybe what’s happening with cycling.

I do anticipate that because there are so many ways that an individual person can become engaged in the internet, it might be a little bit harder for us with the spread of the internet and the globalization to capture people who are interested in discussing on the forums. But what I still see is that we have so many readers who come to the website and they get value from the discussions, which are there. “What bikes should l buy? Should I go for Shimano Dura-Ace or Ultegra? A mechanical groupset or electronic?” So, we will still continue to get our readers. 

I’m seeking to attract more interest from brands. Now, with the online space, I’ve found, particularly in Australia, a lot of the cycling brands; I think they haven’t been able to grab on to the internet as much as they could to utilize it and to use it as a space to reach out to their customers. So I’ve always tried to reach out to Australian businesses and be open to businesses and just work out ways for them whether it's through classical advertising. We do a lot of reviews on Bicycles Network Australia. 

And sometimes, it could be other opportunities to become even closer to the community. So I'll continue to foster this. And essentially, my hope is to be able to grow this further. And as Australian businesses, whether it's the brand or the importers themselves, as they progress and see how important the internet is, I’m hoping to get more on board. But the interesting thing is, it’s always the smaller ones who will be more involved with Bicycles Network Australia. These are the ones who are often quite flexible.

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

They’re looking for opportunities, maybe very cost-effective ways to be able to reach new audiences. So, sometimes, the big ones, they’ve already got their audiences and happy to go there from a very, very kind of; let’s say the big websites only. It's certainly far easier. So often, I find that a lot of the smaller ones who are saying, “Look. We have to be a lot more cost-effective or try out new ways of reaching it.” And I'll still expect to see a lot more of these come over. 

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

And the interesting thing is; I was going to mention that with overseas businesses known European brands; essentially, at the moment now, I’m in Germany, and that sometimes give me the opportunity to connect with the German and the European brand; and then, essentially to present them to Australia. 

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

So there's been a lot of occasions where I’ve done the first coverage for a European brand. And then shortly after that, they get distribution because the distributor see, “Okay. This is a viable brand.” We’ve done a nice review of it. Especially a lot of the quality brand and you can see, “Yes. This is something which has quality.” And then, the Australian distributors will get on to that. And it’s a nice way for them to close in the wholesaling aspect of it.

FELICITY:

Yes. That’s great. That’s great brand recognition and awareness for them. And then they can get picked up and distributed as you say. That’s good. Are there any funny cycling stories you can share with us, Christopher?

CHRISTOPHER:

Yes. I do have two, actually. The interesting one; like I was in the south of Germany, close to the German Alps on the border of Austria on holiday. And I had my parents across; and my father, he’s an avid cyclist; that’s probably where my love and passion for cycling came. He’s still competitive and rides competitively. So we were in this small little village on the foothills of the German Alps and wanted to go bike riding. We didn't have any road bikes with us. And the hotel had a few women's Dutch cycling bikes. The type of step over bike with three gears.

FELICITY:

Oh, yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

Like, if you’re travelling around in small towns.

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

Behind the hotel, there was a massive climb over to a pass to Austria. And I don’t know why, but on that day we both felt like climbing up that hill. So we both grabbed our women's Dutch cycling bikes. Three gears. And I think a lot of cyclists can vision the switchback your head. Those classic ones who crawl up the side of the mountain; left, right, left, right.

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

So with kind of a gradient 10%, 40%. You can imagine two people on Dutch bikes; it was extremely difficult because the gears. Sometimes, you have kind of trucks coming up behind you who would go slowly as well. It was hilarious and it was a weird experience. And we made it over to Austria with lots of; hundreds of majors climbing over this switchback. Racing down, when we come back; racing down was fantastic on these bikes. We didn’t have the speeds of a road bike. But the good thing was, as we came back into town, we spotted a shop who had the road bikes for hire just as we made on our way home. There was a ‘groan moment’ as we thought, “Oh, it could have been easier.” But I tell you what; we had a nice experience and story from this. 

Another one comes to mind is I was helping with an interview with the Jan Ullrich, who was an ex-professional racer.

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

Perhaps, you might say, disgraced cyclist. And this was shortly after his pro-racing days. And at one stage, he was discussing; because he’d always been given bikes, he was saying he was surprised when he came to the time when he first had to buy his own bike; he was surprised at the cost. Now, if you’re a pro-cyclist who’s always given bikes; sponsored bikes; and then, suddenly you want a bike of the same quality and have to pay $50,000, this really…

It is kind of funny that you become so disassociated from the real world of your rather high-end and performance bikes. But the interesting thing was I was translating because I’m fluent in German. 

FELICITY:

Yes.

CHRISTOPHER:

And I had a call from the person leading the interview. And first, I lost my recorder and we lost everything.  “What did Jan Ullrich say again?” And so from memory, it was completely; essentially dictating all the major points that Jan Ullrich covered. So that kind of stayed in my mind.

But look. Probably, the interesting thing is when you go out riding with your friends, well, you just kind of ride in there with a bunch of friends to the next town to get ice cream or go with a bunch ride. But what I always enjoy is just, I should take in sometimes an easier pace just enjoying the time to look about. And I get to look at auras and fields; all these romantic European things, which we don’t have in Australia, and just enjoying the good times and kind of essentially taking it easier.

I like helping young riders in my bunch and a number of young women riders. And so, I've got some skills in cycling, which can help them or teach a few tricks about drafting and how to be a little bit more aero on the bike. But cycling in Europe can be beautiful and romantic. But, I love the cycling in Australia as well when you can go through the bush, you can smell the eucalyptus through the air. Sometimes, you got this hot heat just kind of hitting your face. You feel like in Auburn. So, this is where I probably love the joy and happiness and fun on cycling comes out for me. It’s just the experiences and just being there in the moment.

FELICITY:

Yes. And the contrast of it all and adventure, isn’t it? 

CHRISTOPHER:

Absolutely.

FELICITY:

Well, I’d like to thank you for joining me today, Christopher. It’s been really interesting and I'm sure our listeners, if not already familiar with your website, can check it out onwww.bicycles.net.au and as well as see you and follow you on Twitter and Facebook. All details will be in our show notes on our website, which is bodytorque.cc. And they can find your details and read the latest articles and contribute if they wish to do so in your forum as well. So thank you once again.

Thanks for listening to the All Torque podcast. We'd love it if you would leave us a rating and review on iTunes. This helps us to deliver content you want to hear about. Please take a moment to share it with your friends and family on Instagram and Facebook. I'm Felicity Dales, see you next episode for another story of inspiration and motivation on the All Torque podcast. 


Subscribe