SATURDAY JUN 17 / 2017 / by Andrew Talati

The idea has been around for over 4 years

Velo CC Velo Club Fridays - Albert Park - Grandstands - Pit lane

The talk of the Friday Sickie Ride has been circulating around the CT (Cycling Tips) office for over four years. Traditionally it was, let’s be honest, it was bit of an excuse to get out on the road when there were just a few people in the office.

If there were big name riders in town they would come along for a spin, so after the move to their current South Melbourne office they decided it was a tradition they would like to continue.

The weekly Friday ride - one is every state

Velo Club Fridays, Albert Park Lake - westside

Through their Velo Club they have set up a weekly ride every Friday and the idea is to have one in every state all over the country. We have the Melbourne version here, a morning one in Adelaide, Canberra, Perth and a lunch time ride in Sydney.

The Friday Sickie - a few times per year 

Friday Sickie, Ride, Pre-ride brief - Andy Van Bergan Andy giving a  pre ride brief at the Teardrop at Kew Boulevard

A few times a year they have the Friday Sickie Ride which encourages people to ‘wag’ work and have a full day off, but the reality is people can work remotely or have the flexibility to spend a day on the bike and finish off with a few beers and maybe a burger.

Friday Sickie Ride Rockwell and-sons and Bright BreweryCasey Wall (Rockwell and sons) and Ben Kraus (Bridge Road Brewers)

So with a dozen Friday Sickie Rides to date, this was the second one that was done for Good Beer Week and the second one that was done in conjunction with Bridge Road Brewery and Rockwell and Sons

Taking people to where they haven't been before

Friday Sickie Ride, Amazing creek crossings over bridgesFriday Sickie Ride, riding along Eastlink adjoining bushlandFriday Sickie Ride, Autumn Leaves while riding through Banksia Park

A lot goes into each course design, with the main idea being to introduce one element which they may not have seen before. Adventure is usually a key component of the ride which covered roughly a 90km route with 1500m of vertical climbing.

It's an office decision to add in the epic climb

Friday Sickie Ride, the epic Templestowe Hill Climb

For Andy Van Bergan, the blame usually gets slung his way for these epic climbs but as a group it’s an office decision and everyone has input into whatever that feature of the ride may be. Andy assures me he claims no responsibility for the 40% average gradient climb (laughing).

But ultimately, the intent is to show people something that is a little bit different.

An urban legend - The Templestowe Hill Climb

Friday Sickie Ride, Templestowe Hill-Climb at 37percentFriday Sickie Ride, Templestowe Hill Climb FinishBen May completing the impossible - much respect especially that he was running a 25/39 while climbing

The intent wasn't to actually ride it, particularly when it’s a little bit wet, but to show people this piece of history that exists in Melbourne in a suburban area that you would never guess and never know about it.

Templestowe Hill Club racingPhoto courtesy of

It's an old car racing circuit where they raced cars up from the 1950s to the late 1980s. It's incredibly steep at over 41% gradient and it's inconceivably how steep that actually is.

Friday Sickie Ride, A quick check on the map to find the Templestowe climbEven for Andy, one of the best route creators in the business needed to consult the map

In fact, Andy had difficulty tracking it down and got a bit lost on the way out there; that's how tricky it is to find. It was a bit of fun trying to find it and the first time Andy saw it he was completely blown away as it literally looks like you’re hitting a wall, it’s insane.

Friday Sickie Ride, emerging from the forest_Deep Creek after the Templestowe climbEmerging from the top of the fabled Templestowe climb

Again, it’s about showcasing somewhere different you usually wouldn't ride.

Borne from years and years of riding

Friday Sickie Ride, Suburbia at Heidelberg

For Andy and the CT crew, their years and years of riding has given them an amazing depth of knowledge of these incredible places to ride.

Any good route is linking up the cool features

Having the luxury of time on their personal rides, they aren't necessarily looking for these types of places, but there may be an interesting looking laneway to the side and you have the time to go and explore it or you get the heads up from someone else who has ridden it and says you have to go and check out XYZ road.

Terrain, vistas, places to rest and chat, plus being cross eyed & sweating bullets

Friday Sickie Ride, Cities views across the park

The ingredients for a great route are different terrain, different vistas, places where you can rest and chat, plus those moments where you are cross eyed and sweating bullets; it's all important for a good route.

Linking up some icons

Friday Sickie Ride_Random bus stop Top Mt Pleasant ClimbRandom bus stop with some lounge fixtures at the top of the Mt Pleasant Climb

The route included linking up some icons that included the Yarra Boulevard, shared bike paths like the one out to East link and further up is the Mullen Mullen, features like the Templestowe Hill Climb again icons like Mt Pleasant and we hit the main Yarra trail on the way back which is a bit of gravel grinding.

Friday Sickie Ride Gravel Grinding bike trailsHeading towards the banks of the Yarra - a bit too tricky to take photos with culverts and muddy banks

This was taken a step further by jumping onto the actual Yarra trails (following the banks of the Yarra) so a little bit of single track which is always fun on a road bike, but quite achievable.

Supporting businesses, both local and regional

Friday Sickie Ride with support Bridge Road Brewers BeechworthGreat support from Bridge Road Brewers Beechworth - Ben Kraus the Founder enjoying a hard earned beer

Friday Sickie Ride Finish, thanking Bridge Road BrewersAndy Van Bergan thanking Ben Kraus - Bridge Road Brewers at Rockwell and Sons in Smith St Collingwood

Friday Sickie Ride, Rockwell and son Bike ParkingThanks to our special parking at Rockwell and Sons

One of CT's long-term pals is Bridge Road Brewery; those guys are amazing which was part of Good Beer Week and we they have had a long relationship with Rockwell and Sons on Smith St Collingwood and absolutely love these guys.

The double patty smash burger

Rockwell and Sons Burger Photo courtesy Rockwell and Sons, 288 Smith St Collingwood

There is no way you won't come back for another after tasting the double patty smash burger. You wiII be back for the second one, that’s for sure.

A big one planned for the Cycling Tips birthday

For the Cycling Tips birthday, a big one is planned but Andy cannot share any more details other than expect something monumental and 100% you will have to call in sick. Maybe call in sick on the Monday as well, it's that big; I'm terrified of it!

Sharing the passion of going out and having fun

Friday-Sickie-Ride, Crusing along the Yarra Trail

Ultimately, the main driver is to share the passion of going out and having fun. It’s not about going out and being functional but it’s about doing something we all love and enjoy and getting a thrill out of.

Keen knowledge of the northern suburbs helping with the weather

Friday Sickie Ride, Luscious Green Grass

Well at 8:00am there was rain just north of Melbourne but for Andy and the crew, they used their keen knowledge of the northern suburbs and crossing their fingers behind their back and hoping that we wouldn't get rain. Somehow, we threaded through the eye of the needle, it was pretty lucky.

For more info on the Friday Sickie Ride & Velo Club check out: 

Velo CC Velo Club Fridays - Albert Park - Grandstands