Gear Up with the Sydney Spokes
SYDNEY: Explore the city, improve your fitness and make new friends at Sunday bike rides throughout February, hosted by LGBTI cycling club, the Sydney Spokes.
The Mardi Gras Festival may already be known as a time for glamour and extravagance but there’s much more fun to be had experiencing it on two wheels, or so say members of Sydney Spokes – the city’sbest known LGBTI cycling club – as they prepare to host a number of group rides this month to celebrate all things Mardi Gras and Sydney.
Having been established in 1986 with a core group of only about 10 cyclists, including one or two women, the Spokes have grown to now include at least 60 active members and about 400 cyclists in the group’s mailing list.
Sydney Spokes co-president Mauricio Herrera tells SX the group really has become “the home” of cycling for the city’s LGBTI community.
“We are a friendly club open to everyone – it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an experienced cyclist. We have rides every weekend that are graded easy, medium or hard so there is something for every skill level,” he says.
“Sometimes we go off-road with mountain bikes too. For those that like to go fast and long, there are training rides every month.”
The Spokes don’t hold competitions as such but ride together as a group, making sure their rides are safe and enjoyable.
“We are also a social cycling club. We stop for a coffee or lunch and we organise social dinners and events in a friendly environment,” Herrera says.
“Our rides explore beautiful parts of Sydney and surrounding areas – that’s a perfect opportunity for visitors and locals to better get to know our city.”
To mark this year’s Mardi Gras, the Spokes will be holding three group rides on Sundays throughout February – which all members of the community are encouraged to join – with the first to take place this coming weekend to coincide with Fair Day at Victoria Park.
“It’s a 20km wander around the city from Centennial Park finishing at Mardi Gras Fair Day,” Herrera says. “Perfect for those that want to do a bit of exercise before such a remarkable event and who want to go with a bunch of friendly gay and lesbian cyclists.”
The next ride on February 17 will see the Spokes and friends visit some of the city’s icons of like Taylor Square, the Sydney Opera House, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, The Rocks and a crossing of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“That’s a great ride for visitors during Mardi Gras,” says Herrera.
The final ride on February 24 will be an exploration of the inner-city, visiting some of the colourful suburbs of Sydney while also enjoying the next best thing after cycling – a coffee break.
“That’s another opportunity to exercise, make friends and socialise,” Herrera points out.
As the Spokes eagerly prepare for their upcoming community rides, Herrera says for those from overseas visiting the Mardi Gras and wanting to use a bike to get around, a few simple steps will ensure they get the best out of Sydney’s roads and growing cycleways.
“For visitors that will ride a bike in Sydney remember that we drive and ride on the left side, helmets are compulsory, respect pedestrians, ring the bell, use sunscreen, drink plenty of water and don’t drink alcohol and ride!”
Sydney Spokes Sunday Bike Rides at on February 10, 17 and 24. Rides are suitable for all levels of cyclists. Overseas and interstate visitors welcome. For more information, visit www.sydneyspokes.com