The benefits of cycling are many and include improved physical fitness and mental health, saving money and helping the environment. In this Eco Chat episode / post you’ll hear Matt Tozer from Bike Society share his best tips for commuting to work by bicycle.

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Cycling is a sustainable mode of transport. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting from A to B under your own steam, or pedal power in this case.

Last year, after I started working in the city three days a week, I soon grew tired of the train commute and looked in to cycle instead. And I’m so glad I did!

I’ve since been riding the 14km distance (28 km round trip) most days, and I’m getting stronger and faster every week. I’ve also noticed that I’m generally happier and my headspace is clearer. Instead of 20 minutes each way scrolling through my smartphone on the train, I’m cycling on bike paths and through parks with the sun on my skin.

If your new years’ resolutions include getting fitter, saving money, or reducing your impact on the environment, you’re in the right place because today I’m joined by Matt Tozer from Bike Society who will share his best tips for getting into cycling, particular commuting to and from work.

You can follow Bike Society via their Website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Now you’re obviously an avid cyclist and very passionate about cycling. When did you get into cycling and what is it about cycling that you love?

Matt:

I got into cycling about 20 years ago. I grew up playing a lot of tennis, high level tennis as a junior and I blew out my shoulder and while I was having the rehab they said why don’t you go and do some bike riding. That’s when I walked into a bike shop and just fell in love with the road bikes and the rest is history, I guess. I started racing a few months later and here we are now.

Laura:

Obviously the benefit for you was you found another outlet for sport or to move and, I guess, exercise when tennis was no longer an option to you. What are some of the other benefits of cycling that you’re finding that people are reporting and particularly what are some of the benefits of those who commute into work and use it as a general form of transport to get around as well?

What are the benefits of cycling in general and benefits of cycling as a form of transport to/from work?

Matt:

Well, for me, I guess, first of all for me it was an outlet. It was that competitiveness so I was able to not just from a competitive racing side of things but just personally to be competitive with yourself and to feel the fitness gains and that sort of stuff. Also, mentally it was that outlet of having some kind of solitude to yourself as well. Particularly for those people that commute, I still love to commute now, I get to prepare my head mentally for work in the morning and then I get to decompress on the way home so that can be a great thing for anyone really and it doesn’t have to be fast, you can ride on whatever course you like. If you want to go via the river and see the sites then you can do that. If you do want to use the ride home to train then that’s great as well.

Laura:

I can really understand that too and I guess, I came into your store a few months ago, I’d just started commuting to and from the city each day so 14 kilometre trip one way, still on my 30 year old Melvin Star bike that I was given when I was 11 years old that I used to ride to uni and six years to secondary schooling as well. I started on that just to get that teaser and I thought I need to obviously upgrade at some stage so I came in and that’s when we met. At the time, I remember when I did start commuting, I thought that it was really going to be oh, I’m going to save some money, obviously for the train fares because that was annoying me and I’m going to just get out of this stuff carriage and use that time effectively for exercise and for me rather than sitting down. Sure, I’ve got stronger, I’ve got fitter, I’ve gained muscle, I’ve lost a little bit of weight but the benefit that you mentioned that I didn’t think first up was just that mind space benefit.

Rather than sitting on a 20 minute train ride to and from the city where I’m just scrolling through my phone and just filling my head with crap I’m on a bike, there’s that mindfulness, riding along some pretty quiet bike paths where there’s other cyclists but the sun on my skin so getting some Vitamin D, looking at all the trees, it’s really nice. I’m getting to work energised and I’m getting home from work refreshed and ready to slip back into family mode and do the cooking and all that sort of stuff. That’s one benefit I never really thought. I thought oh yeah, it’s exercise but it’s actually made me happier in the process.

Matt:

Yeah, you’re spot on there Laura, it’s something that we hear all the time from people. The trains are stuffy, the buses are stuffy and sometimes they’re noisy, school kids are having a laugh at the back and whatnot and sometimes you do just want to have some peace and quiet and be able to gather your thoughts. For me, when I first started commuting to work back in the early days when I was cycling I was working as an engineer and I had a 20 kilometre commute through the hills, for me that was a big deal to get out to work but you know what, when I got to work I felt like I was ready to work because my mind was ready whereas the days where I drove in I just spend half an hour mucking around, make coffee, not being very productive. The days I rode, whilst it was tough physically, mentally I was ready to go when I got there. It’s a benefit that a lot of people recognise with us and we often see these transformations of people that come in and they become addicted to riding really. That’s a good addiction.

Laura:

Yeah, I think I’m getting like that too and competitive, like I’ve shaved down my ride. I was about an hour that first day I did it, maybe an hour and five minutes and I’m down to like 45, 43 minutes. Still on the old beastly Melvin Star but not for too much longer. I’ll be so much faster on my specialised bike, I know that for sure. I think you’re spot on, getting to work energised, brain’s ready, body’s ready and other thing was that feeling of pride. You’re just proud, you got there under your own pedal power, you’re not draining any resources, that’s empowering in itself I think.

Matt:

And the benefits is you are saving money as well. Honestly the only downside is you eat a lot more. That’s what I found, all day I’m having to eat stuff all day because I’m burning more energy but the other positive that goes with that is you don’t eat a lot of junk because you don’t want to waste what you’ve just done, you feel good about yourself, you’re putting in the hard yards as such and doing more kilometres and trying to look after your body so when you are snacking you’re snacking a little bit nicer. I have a few rolls that I allow myself but for the most part I still try to look after myself. We see it with a lot of people that they come in and they ask us about food and diet stuff and we’re no dietitian but we at least can push people in the right direction with that stuff.

Laura:

I notice that especially getting started, my lunch would be eaten by 11:00 am but nowadays I’m not as hungry because my body’s got used to it so I’m not eating so much more food as I was at the start. What advice do you actually have for people keen to start commuting to work by bicycles? Are there any particular things that they need to do to get organised, anything safety wise or anything like that that you can share with us?

What advice do you have for people keen to start commuting to work via bicycle?

Matt:

Probably the best way to start is to look at the logistics of it, like what are the facilities that you’ve got at work to enable you to be able to commute to work? Let’s not talk about the bike or anything yet and how you’re going to get there, where you’re going to store your bike, let’s just talk literally about when you get to work how are you going to get changed, do you have a shower facility, do you at least have somewhere where you can have a good Aussie wash up, that sort of stuff because that’s important. It’s the preparation that can stop people, if it’s too difficult that’s the excuse that you’ll use to not do it. For some people, in a previous job I had I used to take basically a week’s worth of shirts and pants to work with me every Monday and I’d just leave them there so my commute to work each day would just contain my lunch and that was it. Some people take a change of clothes every single day, it’s really up to you.

I guess once you’ve got your logistics sorted out and what you’re going to do with clothes and things like that you can start looking at your bike. You have to work out is your bike roadworthy, things like that. Any of your local bike shops can look at that if you’re unsure. There’s also a lot of YouTube channels that can give you sound safety checks and things. We don’t like thinking the worst but definitely you need to take a spare tube with you, a pump because it’s inevitable, you will end up getting a flat tyre at some stage so you do need to prepare for it. I like to joke with customers when they come in the store to buy another tube, I say well, hopefully you’ve just wasted your money because hopefully they never have to use it but at the end of the day it’s inevitable.

You need to definitely be prepared because if something does go wrong with the bike you need to be able to keep yourself moving so it’s always best to have a safety check on your bike, check your tyres and that sort of thing.

Laura:

That’s true. I found even though I started using on my old bike I still got it serviced first just to make sure that it was safe and roadworthy. Obviously I’ve outgrown that bike size wise, the frames too small for me and things like that but it was enough to get started and obviously the money saving’s come in pretty quickly from not using the train and then you can pop that straight on a lay buy for the newer bike that I’ll be riding in so that’s good. I do take my clothes in most of the days when I do work so I’m in the city three days a week but I find I roll them up rather than folding them in my bag and then they don’t get so creased, they’re easier to pack, they’re a lot smaller and I guess I’ve got a locker that I can put my things into, I just probably got to get a little more organised on what I take in.

It’s interesting because since I’ve started cycling my husband has started too and he’s in the city five days a week and he’s doing what you do, what you used to do when you were in the city as well and that’s take all his work clothes in at the start of the week and bring them all back at the end of the week to be washed. He’s found that that works better for him.

Matt:

I guess the final thing we need to look at with that sort of stuff is also the route you’re going to take when you ride to work as well. There’s a lot of people out there that don’t want to ride on the road. That’s a big thing I get in the store all the time, is people come in and they’re like I want to ride to work but I’m afraid of riding in the traffic etc which is totally understandable because you definitely need to keep your wits about you when you’re out there and you need to almost ride with the expectation that everyone’s going to hit you. It sounds bad but that’s the safest way to ride, is to expect the worst so you ride really defensively but there’s plenty of bike paths out there. Adelaide is actually really good for its infrastructure of bike paths and walking paths so whether you’re north, south, east or west there is bike paths that you can get to work so you can easily work out a commute that works for you that you can feel safe with.

They’re all shady and there’s plenty of places to stop if you do need to stop for a breather or you want to stop half way home and just smell the roses, I do that quite a lot. I stop on the beach and sit down and just chill for a while and just take it all in.

Laura:

That sounds great. You’re selling the South Australian lifestyle now. We’re going to have more people moving here. I guess that’s what it’s like in Adelaide, it’s a very flat city, obviously we’ve got the hills on one side, the beach on the other side but it is, I think it’s ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities for sure but one of the world’s best cycling cities too because it is very flat and the infrastructure’s great. I did my undergrad uni in Melbourne, I was at RMIT University in the city but I was living out in Malvern East and I still remember riding then. Again, I rode pretty much all the way in along the Yarra River and there’s great bike paths there and I still, I can’t remember how long it was to cycle in, maybe 40 odd minutes or something like that but the majority of that was still on bike paths and that was like 25 years ago.

I know many cities around the world so wherever you’re listing in from, a lot of cities are definitely upgrading their infrastructure, making their cities more bike friendly, more pedestrian friendly to encourage people to get a lot more active in their lifestyles and commutes in general. On that note, there are some apps out there so when I was looking to commute into the city, because that was my main concern, safety. I still remember chatting to you about it in the store too. A friend of mine recommended an app to me that you can plot where you want to ride to and it maps out the safest path using as many bike paths as possible. I can’t remember the name of the app. Do you know any great apps in that sense?

Matt:

I think there’s one called Map My Ride. That might be what it’s called but there’s other ones out there. Everyone that rides a bike pretty much knows of the app Strada. You can create courses on that, you can just ride a path, work it out as you go along and have a little bit of fun and then later on you can follow it later so it can also give you some guidance where you going as well. There is definitely apps out there, there’s lots of websites that will point you in the right direction as well, lots of commuting forums and the like out there. The sky’s the limit. Also, just your local councils and things like that. I know that here locally where we are based the local council has maps that you can grab from them for free which have all the bike paths in the four quadrants of Adelaide. I’m sure that any of the local councils will have those things on their websites.

Laura:

That’s great tips about the councils too. Let’s talk about gear now. For those listeners who don’t have the gear or they’re confused about what gear they need or they’re even wanting to upgrade the gear they do have, can you share what they need to look for in a good, let’s just start with a good commuter bike that will stand the test of time. Also, what additional gear is required too? If they want to take extra clothes or laptops or their lunch into work, any safety gear, helmets, lights, anything like that so what’s required for a good commuter bike to stand the test of time and what additional gear might you need starting out?

 

For those who don’t have the gear, or who may need to upgrade their gear, what do they need to look for in a good commuter bike that will stand the test of time. What additional gear is required?

Matt:

As far as bikes go the number one bike for us that we sell is the Hybrid bike, what they call a Hybrid bike. What that is is that’s a bike that has fatter tyres than a racing bike. It has like a 32, 35 millimetre wide tyre. Usually it has suspension at the front, just the spring loaded suspension just to ease the ride quality for people. It has the ability to mount paneer racks on the back of the frame. It has gearing such that you can climb some pretty steep hills with the paneers on so if you’re carrying some extra weight with you but also it has the bigger high gears so that you can ride at a decent pace on the flat as well. It covers a vast range of fitness levels. It allows you to do some packing so you can ride with paneers or a bag on the back and also it has some suspension. That’s probably the most popular option but its’ sort of each to their own with where you’re riding and the terrain you’re riding on.

Matt:

The best thing is to also look at a brand name. It’s not hard to Google cycling brands. The most popular ones always appear first. The big four, you’ve got the specialised Scott, Trek, Canondale, those sorts of brands are all well known. They also have a bike for every occasion from kid’s walker bikes so the balance bikes right through to the well cut level mountain bikes and the Tour de France two and down under riders, bikes, the racing bikes as well. It really comes down to where you want to ride but most important is that it’s a brand name, doesn’t have to be expensive but just a good brand so you’ve got a good warranty, peace of mind and that it’s comfortable for you and that you can mount on it the things you need.

Laura:

Excellent, thanks for sharing that. What are your best tips to stay safe while riding and I know that that was my concern and was the biggest block to get over to even start riding in the first place. What are your best tips to stay safe while you’re on the road or the bike paths or whatever?

 

What tips do you have to stay safe while cycling?

Matt:

Obviously the number one thing is sticking to the road rules and not trying to, because you’re on a bike trying to cut through and bypass a few things because you think it’s easier and quicker. And sticking to the bike paths is always a good thing, where you can as well because it keeps you out of harms way and you don’t have to concentrate as much, if you’re on a bike path you can actually enjoy the ride a bit more and the scenery. The other important thing is running a light all the time, so all year round having a flashing red light on the back of your bike just makes you more noticeable. They’re relatively inexpensive, these days they’re all USB charged as well so you can ride into work, you can plug them into your computer, keep them charged. They have an extraordinary long amount of battery time anyway so sometimes you can ride for the entire week and they don’t go flat. And the usual things like wearing brighter clothing, things like that. A lot of cycling specific clothing has reflective strips on it, helmets have reflective strips, things like that.

Same as driving your car, it’s a lot of common sense as well, just being cautious and not taking any risks really.

Laura:

Great. Now, I’ve noticed quite a few super fast bikes passing me on my commute in and out of the city and I’m talking like speedy, speedy bikes, not just racers going past me and I have noticed that they’re E bikes so could you please explain what an electric bike is, how it works and where they’d come in handy. Are they a form of cheating or, you know, because my mom’s an avid cyclist, she does a lot of the great Queensland bike ride, the South Australian bike ride, all that sort of stuff and she’s like, “I’m never going to get on an E bike.” Blah, blah, blah. Is there a stigma attached to them? First of all just explain what they are and where they’d come in handy.

What is an electric bicycle, how does one work and where would one come in handy?

Matt:

E bikes are the biggest growing market in Australia and certainly they have been in Europe over the last years. Australia has been slower to pick it up and that’s mostly because the manufacturers have been pretty cautious with how much they bring into the country because they don’t want to obviously dump Australia with a lot of E bikes and then they don’t move them. Big growing market for us. It’s definitely not cheating either because these bikes are all pedal assisted so in Australia bikes with throttles are illegal. It’s basically a motorbike then if you have a throttle. In Australia they’re all pedal assisted so what it basically means is that as you’re riding the bike so you’re turning your legs over and having pedal the motor cuts in and gives you some assistance. They’re all limited to giving you 250 watts of help.

That number doesn’t mean much to a lot of people but as an example the tour down under recently, most of those guys over that stage of a race will average between 250 and 300 watts. Those guys are motoring at 40, 50 K’s an hour so 250 watts of help is a significant amount of help however the bikes also cut out at 25 kilometres an hour. They’re really designed, if you look for a commuter bike, they’re really designed to get you to work without having to really work too hard. If you do live out of the city and you work in the city and you do have an issue with having a shower at work or storing some clothes somewhere you can ride a commuting E bike into town, not break much of a sweat, you’re still saving a lot of money and then you can ride home into that nasty head wind and still not have to try very hard because the bike will use its power to get you up to 25K’s an hour into the head wind.

Laura:

Oh gosh, you’ve almost sold me one now. It’s kind of like the head wind coming back home for me it always, it’s kind of like I’ve got a slight head wind in the morning coming from the north east but then coming home the wind is always changed direction, I’ve got a heavier head wind coming off the ocean and some days when I’ve gone to the central markets at lunch time and I’ve filled my backpack full of all fresh fruit and veg and I might have 20 kilogrammes on my back, which is why I can’t wait for my paneers, just to get that weight off the back but it’s been a hard, hard slog coming home but yeah, now I can see that E bikes not, I guess it’s still you, just faster isn’t it?

Matt:

That’s exactly true and that is the tagline that Specialized use for their range of E bikes which are called Turbos and that is their tagline, it’s you, only faster. It’s definitely a thing. The first E bike I ever rode was a duel suspension mountain bike and I can remember walking to the event from our hotel thinking why am I doing this, this is a waste of time, I want to ride a bike, I don’t want to cheat. Three hours later when I climbed off the bike and I’d had the best time ever riding through the trails, going 25 kilometres an hour up a 20% climb which normally would mean five K’s an hour, I was having the best time. I was still tired after three hours, I still worked up a sweat but I covered a lot of territory and I had a lot of fun. Who doesn’t want to go fast on a bike? Even though I was limited to 25, on dirt trails 25 is still fast. They’re a great thing and the commuters are definitely a great way of getting into work and back without having to get too hot and sweaty.

Laura:

I imagine that’d be great for elderly people too, the older generation who want to continue cycling but don’t want to really cause a lot of strain on their bodies, they can cycle for longer and enjoy cycling.

Matt:

Yeah, you’re spot on there Laura. We have a lot of people for that reason, that have been avid cyclists for many, many years and they still want to keep turning the legs over, they don’t want to give up because if they give up they really have given up to them so the E bike is a great way for them to still get out whether it be on the road or on the trails and still have some fun. A lot of them actually, a lot of the elderly, a lot of bikes we sold to elderly people lately. Not even elderly but the middle aged father who now has a 19 year old son who just wants to rip his legs off now buys an E bike mountain bike and can still continue to ride with his son out on the trails.

Matt:

You know what, this happened to me recently, my son finally convinced him to go out on a bike with me, he came into the shop and I said, “Mate, what bike do you want to ride?” And he pointed at the big E bike and said I want that one so hooked him up on that and I went out on the trails on my mountain bike and I tell you what, I was riding on my limit for two hours and he was literally just laughing behind me. He didn’t eve break a sweat. We had a great time, he’s not a cyclist at all but we were able to get out there and share that morning together and have a good laugh, he had a good laugh at me anyway.

Laura:

I can imagine and knowing my two sons too, one of them just loves pushing their body to the limit and will do anything active but the other one will find any excuse to get out of anything active so maybe as my sons get older one will continue on the pushbike and the other one might go for an E bike to keep up with his brother. I don’t know, we’ll see what happens when they get older. As I mentioned, I used to commute to and from uni and I used to ride my bike to and from school but there’d been a good 20 year gap since when I’d really been riding my bike regularly. A lot of that was because I lived in inland Australia in a small town in the outback and where was I going to ride to and it was stinking hot and from going into town it’s only a five minute walk anyway so I just got out of the habit of cycling.

Laura:

I know a lot of parents particularly have had a period of time where they got out of cycling and particularly through those babies years, particularly if their kids weren’t sleeping and it’s just fallen by the wayside and their old bike’s gathering dust in the shed like mine was for many years. Do you have any other tips to share to help people get back into cycling after an extended period of time particularly for those who are listening that haven’t really ridden since kids and they might just be a little bit nervous about getting back in the seat?

 

What are your tips to help people get back into cycling after an extended period of time, particularly for those who haven’t ridden since they were kids?

Matt:

Probably the best thing for those guys is to really just, literally just have a go, just pull the bike out the shed, wash it off or bring it into us, we can have a quick look at it, it doesn’t have to cost you much at all, we can just give it a safety check, chuck some air in the tyres for you and you can just go out and have a ride and see if it’s what you’re enjoying. A lot of people forget actually what the benefits are of riding and how it does make you feel. There’s a reason why kids love riding their bikes and it’s the same reason why adults like myself like riding our bikes because it’s the wind in the face, it’s the solitude, also on the flip side it’s the fun with your friends. We see it as the new golf for a lot of businessmen as well. They come in here and they spend a fair bit on bikes but they go out with their mates and they talk business and they have that social side of it. It’s a very social activity as well.

The best thing’s just to have a go. If you’re concerned with, you’re worried that our body’s letting you down, you’ve had some injuries over the years or things like that, you don’t have to put up with that either, the technology nowadays in bikes and saddle technology and way that we fit people to bikes is significantly different to how it was a while ago. We’ve got guys that have lots, and girls, that have had a lot of physical limitations. One lady in particular, just to tell a bit of a story, came in to see me about three years ago, used to be a runner, can’t run any more, her back’s terribly bad. She said my physio says I need to get a flat bar bike, very upright but I don’t know how I’m going to go, I don’t want that, I’m competitive, I want to get a road bike.

I said let’s just have a look at you so in the end we ended up fitting her up to this mid range road bike, was a few thousand dollars. She went off riding and slowly but surely we were able to massage her position and adjust her position into something that allowed her to be a little bit more competitive because she was a very competitive person and now she’s onto a full blown triathlon bike. She races 180 kilometres in an arrow position which is very, very good for her and she also does those iron man triathlons. Recently she just qualified in her age group for Cona, the world championships so you should never say never. Even if you think your body’s letting you down there’s a lot of stuff that we can do to get you into a position that works for you.

All you’ve got to do is go into your local bike shop and have a word with them about it and just say, hey look, I want to try riding again but I’ve got this problem and this problem and the guys and girls in there should be able to sort you out with a strategy to try and ease you back into it.

Laura:

Great, thanks for that. What an amazing story about that customer of yours who was able to get physical and active again and competitive again even with the injury she had. On a personal note I mentioned how my mom does a lot of, she got into cycling actually in her fifties. She never even had a bike as a kid, her parents said she was too clumsy. My mom’s in her late sixties now and cycling has been her life for the last 15, 20 years. I’d actually say it’s been her saving grace. My mom’s had a few tough moments in her life over the last 10 years in particular and 15, 20 years. Cycling has been her outlet, it’s given her this massive group of friends. She’s gone on all these massive tours around Australia, she does the great Queensland bike rid every year but things came crashing down quite badly for her about 15 months ago on the great Queensland bike ride. She had a really bad crash and again, in her late sixties and she smashed all her knee and her wrist.

Quite a really bad injury on a dirt road and no surgeon in Queensland would touch her knee so she got airlifted to Melbourne. She was connected with a brilliant surgeon there. We’re all her family a bit worried, “Oh God mom.” And we thought this might be the end of it for her. She got fixed up, she’s done months and months of rehab, learnt to walk again and I don’t want to make this sound a bad thing because it was a cycling injury but she hurt herself doing what she loves the most. She’s done all her rehab, she had great surgery and part of her rehab was all back in the gyms and she had two stints in the rehab hospital and she was like, “I’m getting back on the bike.” That was her goal at the end of it because, “Nothing in this world makes me feel more alive and more happy than when I’m on my bike.

Sure enough, my mum, I don’t want to say stubborn, want to say determined mother got back on her bike and it was only exactly 12 months after her accident. She rode the great Queensland bike ride again last year, 2018 and there was a whole group of her fellow cyclists who just cheered her over the line because they were worried, they thought she’d never get back and I guess, cycling has given her this group of friends all over Australia and internationally who like-minded people want to keep active, grow old disgracefully. They kind of say we want to keep active and do this as long as we can and I thought, like I said, she had that bad injury but with the support of all her friends she got back into it and yeah, she’s cycling again and doing really, really well. I didn’t mean to say all that. I didn’t intend to say that coming to the podcast but that’s just what cycling has meant to my mom and with me getting into it now too she’s so happy for that. She bought me my panniers for Christmas and stuff like that.

There’s always a good story behind an avid cyclist, isn’t there?

Matt:

Yeah, there sure is. There’s so many stories. That’s a fantastic story and it just shows how addictive cycling is I guess. I don’t like saying the word addictive because it can have negative connotations with it but it really is, it’s something that people fall in love with. I think that once you spend a certain amount of time riding a bike it just does become part of you and there’s certain things that it does to you that, it’s just hard to explain. I do still find it hard to say why I love cycling so much. I gave up an engineering career to work with bikes because I was just not loving life and now I get to work with bikes, ride bikes, it’s a toy shop for me so I get to play with toys every day. There’s millions of stories out there of people that have had big injuries and health problems and things like that and they’re still out there trying to ride and they’d rather just keep moving instead of just quitting. It’s a funny thing what cycling does to people.

Laura:

For those listeners today who’d be keen to take this conversation further with you in particular Matt could you please share where they can find you and Bike Society.

 

For those who would be keen to take this conversation further with you, could you please share where they can find you and Bike Society?

Matt:

Bike Society is a locally owned South Australian company. We’ve been around for, one of our stores has been there for 20 years now, the one at Brighton so been around a little while so we’ve got a bit of experience with bikes. We’ve got three locations in Adelaide. You can check us out on our website. We’ve got the usual social media outlets as well. Check us out, you can follow us, see what we’re up to and obviously you can contact us as well. Feel free to flick me any questions you want through any of those avenues and I’ll be happy to help you out as best I can. I like helping people ride bikes, like getting them on bikes, keeping them moving, getting them fitter. That’s great because they all come in the store smiling which is what we love.

Laura:

I know Matt, obviously he’s based in Adelaide but Adelaide or South Australia being home of the Tour Down Under he’s been inundated with interstate biking enthusiasts over the last couple of weeks. In Adelaide and South Australia at this time of year and of course any listeners that want to get into that where they can just find you. Obviously they can find you at Bike Society in Brighton but just how many interstate visitors, you might be listening think oh, this is not applicable, Matt’s in Adelaide but of course, they’ve got that strong online presence and Adelaide hosts the Tour Down Under.

Matt:

The Tour Down Under for us has been, as far as sporting events go in Australia it’s definitely one of the biggest, particularly it’ll be the biggest free sporting event for sure. What it brings to South Australia, I’m not sure of the tourism figures but the stages definitely have four, five thousand people out at them so it’s pretty big. For us, being a large local retailer it’s pretty crazy for us and we’re linked pretty heavily with a couple of big bike brands like Specialised and Scott so we’ve a fair bit to do with the teams that ride those brand of bikes but like Laura said we’ve had a fair bit to do with the tour this year. What we did this year was we ran three rides over four days and we basically allowed riders to nominate. We had up to 60 people and it was a free event and we took them out to the stage.

Matt:

They watched the riders come through a few times. We fed them, gave them drinks, shared some support on the road and then we rode them back to either one of our stores or to a local pub for a couple of beers and some food afterwards. That was fantastic because most of the people that we had on there were from interstate and it was great to get that feedback from them as to, you know, that it was well organised and that it was a free event because too often too many things cost a lot of money. It was great and it was really surprising for us to see the reach that our brand has made to people from interstate, we even had some people from Germany. It’s crazy, we had no idea that we were reaching that far but it’s good to see that our brand’s getting some good traction and that people are liking us.

Matt:

We try to live by our name, Bike Society so we try to bring people together and get people riding bikes. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to set the hour record on a bike or whether you just want to go down the local shops and get some milk, we just want to get you on a bike and get you having some fun like we do.

Laura:

Well, you’ve done exactly that for me, you’ve been a great support in the shop answering all my questions, didn’t laugh at my old Melvin Star when I, the old classic girl when I bought her in to show you but you’ve obviously helped me make the decision to upgrade my infrastructure so I can continue cycling in a way that’s more comfortable for my body frame moving forward so I’m not going to cause myself any injuries. Thanks so much for coming on Eco Chat today, it’s been a really enjoyable discussion and like I said, all our listeners get on board, if you want to just get back on your bike like I have after such a long period, just if you can enjoy cycling with your kids, whatever it is, get back on there and if you need Matt’s help or advice any way to help you do that just follow Bike Society.

Matt:

Thanks Laura. Really appreciate the opportunity to chat about bikes. Like I said, I live, breath bikes so always happy to chat about them, its’ what I do all day so it’s definitely not a chore. Thank you.

You can follow Bike Society via their Website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Laura

Laura

Laura Trotta is one of Australia’s leading home sustainability experts. Fusing her professional expertise as an environmental engineer with the down-to-earth pragmatism that comes from being a busy mum, Laura is an eco thought leader who’s not afraid to challenge the status quo.
Laura

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