December 13, 2010

The CycleCover Circuit Rainforest Ride in Review

The CycleCover Circuit – A Rainforest Ride has come and gone in the small seaside town of Apollo Bay. In the lead up to the 11th of December we had prepared for warm weather; Mother Nature had other ideas and greeted us with torrential rain and high winds.

The elements didn't bring the sun, and if rain isn’t you’re thing and you can’t hack the wind or the cold, it would have been best to stay in the car. I opted to change my planned 140km ride and cut out the 35km of optional routes to make it 105km. To make it a shorter (and warmer) ride. I bypassed the Otway Fly and the Cape Otway Lighthouse routes that were included in the premium package. My Garmin data recorded a low 10 degrees during the ride, I’m positive it was colder, especially on the top of Lavers Hill.

Cycling Rainbow

The ride profile is deceiving to say the least, the first 50km brings a lot of climbing and there are a lot of undulations to cover before being rewarded with some sweepings bends. Unfortunately, the day wasn’t a day for the speed junkies to push the limit, wet roads littered with debris kept us at bay.

CycleCover Circuit Rainforest Ride

One of the highlights of the course was riding past the Koala’s on the way to the Otway Lighthouse in the final kilometres of the challenging Cyclecover circuit.

Take away the rain, the cold, the wind and it was a beautiful ride, some of the best country in the world was on show at the Otway Ranges, the air was fresh and crisp. Volunteers were at the ready to help, food and water stops each step of the way and surprisingly great coffee at the rest stop in Lavers Hill.

CycleCover Circuit Rainforest Ride

The Saturdays ride attracted approximately 500 riders. I spoke to a 10 year old boy, Tiger, who had finished the 75km circuit with his parents. At the end of the day and he said he had enjoyed the ride, he also appeared much fresher than I did. A champion effort considering there was also a family friendly 23km ride on offer.

Save the date for 2011; pack up the family and friends and hope Mother Nature is willing to give us a reprieve in the years to come, some warmer weather for this ride would top off the majestic surroundings!

Keep up to date at, it’s a ride not to be missed.

Photos: Title (1) and Rider Closeup (3) © Andrew Connolly
Photos: Rainbow (2) and Rainforest curve (4) © Rowena Scott

December 6, 2010

Calling all Brisbane ladies! Skills for the road!

Bella Velo is teaching Brisbane’s women how to ride safely; all female riders welcome!

The call went out in search of a woman who was willing to forgo sleeping in. With a 6am start time on Wednesday mornings, her mission would be to find out about the Bella Velo skills session and report on who the sessions where ideally aimed towards.

Melanie and Kelly, the founders of Bella Velo, are aiming to inspire women to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and the beauty of our environment wherever you are in the world. This philosophy guides the skills sessions as well as their company, Bella Velo, which produces women's cycling wear.

Jill Rigney answered the call and was willing to get started straight away, Jill explained to me that she was a confident road rider but had only ever ridden alone or with one other friend.

Bicycles Network Australia’s (BNA) Rowena Scott, communicated with Jill throughout the sessions and spoke with her about her experience and enjoyment of the free skills sessions run by Bella Velo.

BNA: How would describe your experience as a cyclist?

JR: Better then it was a few months ago!! I am confident social road rider that likes long distances, but, had only ridden alone or with one others person until doing this.

BNA: Tell me about the sessions that you have joined with Bella Velo, what’s it all about?

JR: I’ve done 4 sessions now all of an hour long on Wednesday mornings at 6am. The sessions vary depending on who turns up, so some days are straight skills training while others will be a strong ride somewhere. We get an email on Tuesday evening saying what we’ll be doing and telling us anything we need to know.

The purpose appears to be to encourage women to get into bike riding no matter what the skill level is and for it to be enjoyable. Melanie and Kelly often made the comment – if you don’t enjoy it then you won’t do it.

Participants vary in age from 20’s through to their 60’s and you can come on anything from a fold-up bike, a mountain bike to a road bike.

BNA: Did you feel nervous about joining the session?

JR: Definitely – not being sure of who they are or what their riding standard would be so I was apprehensive for sure. They make you feel very comfortable very quickly.

BNA: What time did the session start for you? Did you find it difficult to get started for that time?

JR: 6.00am – excellent time, particularly in our spring/summer at the moment with it being light by 4.30am. Still cool enough at that time as well.

BNA: What sort of skills did the sessions cover?

Skill we worked on included

• Cornering

• Hand signals and road etiquette

• Track standing and balancing while stationery

• Starting and stop with cleats

• Riding as a group – drafting, closeness etc

• Sprints and interval training/riding

BNA: Are there other sessions that you can do with Bella Velo, how much do they cost?

JR: There is, however I haven’t done any of them. I think they do something on a Tuesday and a Thursday for those interested in training or learning to road or track race. Invitation was given and don’t believe there is any cost but would be worth checking that.

BNA: Would you recommend this skills session to anyone and who would you recommend it to?

JR: I would, particularly if you haven’t ridden or aren’t confident riding on the road or as a large group. Also, if you were keen to step up to hard or race riding then it’s opening the opportunity to do that as well down the track.

BNA: How would you rate the skills session in relation to difficulty?

JR: Not overly difficult except for the track standing and balancing one. The rest have been about technique, practice and confidence building.

BNA: What are the people like running the skills sessions?

JR: Great – very accommodating and excellent at making you comfortable no matter whether you are a beginner or an experienced ride. Although we all meet at the beginning and the end they break into different groups to accommodate the levels.

Further Information

The Wednesday morning sessions leave at 6am and you can find the girls at Arthur Davies Park on Flinders Parade in Sandgate, Brisbane.

For further information about the sessions and to find out how you can participate, contact Melanie and Kelly at Bella Velo via email: or through their website