THURSDAY AUG 17 / 2017 / by Andrew Talati

Peak Cycles Shop Ride - Peak's

Peak Cycles Kinglake bunchPhoto courtesy Ben McIntyre

For Sean Young it started 9 years ago when they opened the shop. Most people who open a bike shop enjoy riding a bike with many enjoying riding road bikes, and it was no different for Sean.

Setting yourself apart

With so many bike shops selling road bikes Sean wanted to set himself apart in the market so, from the very start of opening the shop doors they started a ride to Mt Pleasant Rd (Mount P) in Eltham.

At the time, there wasn't anyone else doing bunch rides on their side of Melbourne, with most of the rides being Bayside at that stage, except for one ride that didn't really belong to anyone at the Bundoora Hotel on a Sunday morning that went up to Humevale.

The Peak's Ride was borne

Peak Cycles Kinglake huge bunchPhoto courtesy Ben McIntyre,

So, with no regular rides going out to Eltham, Warrandyte or Kinglake on a regular basis, Sean knew they were great roads and being in the Kinglike corridor it was time to show the world that we have the best roads to ride on.

Only 3 riders in the beginning

Peak Cycles Kinglake, upping the pacePhoto courtesy Ben McIntyre,

In the beginning, there were just three riders, including Sean mapping out how long the loops actually took. Ironically, those same loops take a lot less time to complete than they used to (laughing) as it's gotten a little more willing over the years (there are regrouping points along the way).

How to advertise the rides

The next step was working out how to advertise the rides to the general population. From there they grew very quickly with 20 -30 riders participating within the first 12 months of rolling out.

Now, towards the height of summer as people are building towards events like 3 Peaks there can be up to 60 - 80 riders rolling out.

The Peak's Cycling kit

Lizzie WIlliams, Peak Cycles bunch with VIC Female cyclist of yearLizzie WIlliams, Peak Cycles bunch with VIC Female cyclist of year, different generations of kit

The kit was introduced fairly early on in the piece and people wanted to buy in to being part of the community that was building and show some support back to the business.

A two way relationship - showing support back

The Peak's ride is quite unique in that a high percentage of those riders have purchased and wear the Peaks cycling kit in support and recognition of the energy that Sean and his team have provided in the regular rides on offer most mornings of the week.

Their love is shown back as well with the riders supporting Peak Cycles and shopping locally and having their bike serviced through the shop.

Local ambassadors

Peak Cycles Mount Hotham 2013Onwards to Mount Hotham 2013, Photo courtesy of Andrew Hull

Riders have taken on the role of being ambassadors within the bunch that builds a great community in the Etham, Banyule and Heidelberg region. Many riders have grown their own communities through people they have met on the Peak Cycles ride.

Just like a local footy club

With the shop's location being on the corner of Burgundy and Cape Streets, Sean likes to think of Peak's like the local footy club that spawns that sense of community and belonging.

Peak's kit - many more waves

Brendan Canty Peak CyclesBasso and Brendan Canty - Cannondale - Drapac, Photo courtesy of Andrew Hull

As the Peak's ride is an extremely solid pace with many A/B grade riders including Andrew Stalder and even pro riders like Brendan Canty (now riding for Cannondale - Drapac)

Peak Cycles Kinglake breakawayAndrew Stalder (front) Brendan Scott, Ed Green, Sam Evans, Photo courtesy Ben McIntyre,

Riders who may not be at a level to join the rides, but have purchased the kit, are amazed at how many more waves they receive while riding in the Kinglake/Eltham region whether it be a rise of the index finger or a nod of the head in acknowledgement of being a Peak rider.

A great metric of success - not knowing everyone names on the road

So successful has been the riders purchasing the kit that now Sean will be out riding and will be challenged to think who the rider is going in the opposite direction. It's a great thing to see so many red kits out on the road and even occasionally on Beach Rd as well.

Building a community

Peak Cycles Amy's Gran Fondo group 2015Peak Cycles Amy's Gran Fondo group 2015, Photo courtesy Ben McIntyre

The goal from day one was to build a very strong and successful community through a shop ride. Without the rides the shop would not be here. The value that the riders see, being part of the community, flows back to wanting to support local small business.

Will show support when you feel part of something

With Peak Cycles being run as a family business, Sean has found that people will show support when they feel part of something and seeing value that isn't focused on price; there is a lot of mutual respect out there.

Having a bit of fun

Ultimately, it’s about having fun and getting away from the 9 to 5 grind, enjoying the ride with no egos on the ride and no egos in the shop since it doesn't matter if you're doing sub 16-minute Kinglike climb or new to riding; it's about treating everyone the same. At one point, everyone was new to the bike including Brendan Canty who will be riding the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) at the end of the month.

Supporting Amy Gillet Foundation & the Gran Fondo

Peak Cycles Amys Gran Fondo 2014Peak Cycles Amys Gran Fondo 2014, Photo courtesy Ben McIntyre

Part of Peak's and the Red Army, as they are affectionately known, is supporting organisations including the Amy Gillet Foundation for the past 6 years in a row with huge numbers attending each year’s event.

Giro Della Donna

For 2017 they will be supporting local rider Andy Van Began (Hells 500 and Everesting) from Cycling Tips with their Giro Della Donna out in Warburton at the end of November. There will be a heap of red jerseys to tackle the hills and get over Reefton Spur, Acheron Way and up to Donna Buang.

Amplifying the fun

Peak Cycles Giro Della Donna 2016Peak Cycles Giro Della Donna 2016, Photo courtesy Ben McIntyre

For Peak Cycles, they try to target two events per year as it's always more fun with 50 of your mates plus, the fun is amplified.

The kit goes back 5 years

Jason Murphy Peak Cycles kit

Jason Murphy, a big supporter of Peak cycles, first bought the kit over 5 years ago. It’s been a while and he has accumulated a few over the years including the Amy's Gran Fondo edition which is a special kit since it features everyone’s name.

Buying the kit

Having started to do the shop rides with Peak and really enjoying the rides and company, Jason has met a lot of people through the rides. Since he wasn't originally from Melbourne, it was a great way to connect and, especially to support the shop and it's a really good kit.

People asking at the lights

When stopping at the lights, other riders ask about the Peak bunch as it's become more famous lately. With Brendan Canty, who started riding with the Peak guys and is now a World Tour rider, the Peak Cycle story is an amazing one and a part of local history.

Getting recognised

For Jason, especially during summer, when you're out riding in the local area you see a lot of people you know who give you a wave, which is nice.

Becoming close friends through the ride

It's been really good making close friends who I wouldn't have otherwise met since it's hard to make new friends when you have a family and are new to an area.

Supporting the shop as much as they can

A lot of Jason's friends support the shop wherever they can and wear the kit as well. Sean, Troy and Aldo are really good guys and Sean has put a lot back into the community, he is genuine and authentic. For Sean, it's more than just business. I have seem him care for the guys in the bunch when they have been sick or injured by visiting them in hospital.

Like a second family

Jason has made some of his best mates in his life through the shop; really good guys and some great moments and some great times on the road that he will never forget. It's nice to know that other people enjoy and appreciate it in the same way.

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