It’s 6am on a Sunday morning when a sleepy town on Sydney’s George’s River wakes to a bussle of grinding gears, fog lamps and whispers of encouragement from a group of local cyclists. It’s cold, wet and early and without fail, thirty plus cyclists congregate at the local clock tower for their weekly smash fest. A 60km ride through the Royal National Park where your only best friend is your Strava time at the end of day.
What started as a few budding cyclists roaming the suburban hills of Oatley NSW, quickly grew to a group ride of a dozen locals who have been inspired by the camaraderie and pursuit of optimum fitness to climb gradients over 20%. These are not your elite, club grade crit racers, however a group of men and women who just love cycling.
Over the years, OatleyCC have grown to over 100 social members. There is no club, fee, license or formality. Just a bike, a Babici designed jersey and a passion for road cycling. Every ride ends up at the local cafe (Tidz on the Park) in Oatley, where you will have to wait at least 20mins for a coffee these days. Why? Because there are over 50 cyclists telling their stories about the ride, deep in thought and provocation about how they could have done so much better on that last hill.
The group is organised weekly by a former city Mayor and the group “capitano” as we like to call Rob. Methodical emails with rides, data and statistics on what’s happening for the week to come are published every week to a group list that is exceeding the send limit of Outlook. What’s most impressive about this group, is the commitment to making these group rides. As most riders are in some form of full time work commitment, there is always time to squeeze in the scheduled rides.
It is a social network, a real one. One that has inspired a community to focus on their health and encourage each other to be better cyclists. It’s what cycling is all about. Fitness, fun, friendship and touch of competitiveness.