FRIDAY NOV 15 / 2019 / by Andrew Talati

Young Tate Riding with his local bunch

Proud father and son

All set to explore the rough tracks, the day started for Tate at 5 am in the morning to ride off with his Dad and his new bunch. Asked about his experience of the early morning bike rides, Tate said he found it pretty impressive and the ride was worth waking up for. Riding together in the bunch did get a bit hard at times as he had to spin a lot higher, but Tate said he still had a lot of fun.

Nick – The proud father

Nick and son Tate at Cafe Racer

Nick, Tate’s father, encouraged his son for the sport. He clearly looked like the proud father. When asked about his opinions, Nick remarked that Tate and he started cycling with this view on their minds, that one day Tate would be strong enough to ride off with other guys and do the North Road right.

As a father, Nick was relieved to see his son becoming a stronger rider and said that Tate, one day, would be confident enough to do it on his own.

Cycling, learning and doing it all together

Though Tate started riding in 2014, it wasn’t until 2016 since he first experienced riding in groups. He remembers doing roundabouts up to Paterson river, but with time, he has learned quite a lot and keeps breaking old records.

He recalls riding hill circuits and learning new things as Tate isn’t very good at riding on hills. For Tate, cycling is partly educational since one gets to learn from fellow riders, and also learns the skills that assist in riding effectively.

He has learned to handle his bike. Starting with simple drills, Tate learned by observing minute things like to hold the wheel the whole time, and he didn’t overlap wheels. He can also handle bumps better than before. Certainly there’s room for lots of practice and learning when you’re riding in a bunch.

Connecting and building communities

Nick and son Tate at St Kilda Beach

For Nick and Tate, cycling is a great way to spend some quality time together. However, Nick says that it's also fun to see other kids learning things with their fathers, or with their coach.

Nick admits that it's a good experience encouraging yours as well as other children, and getting to know new families. For Nick, it comes as a relief to know that there are families who look out for each other especially during the teaching tours. Having that network makes the whole riding thing fun.

From sharing rides to grains, cycling is a great way for caring and sharing. Although the weather does manage to reduce the number of riders at times, cycling is always great to catch up with people.

Finding the right branch

Half a year ago, Tate was still searching for mates who were willing to give up their morning sleep for a good ride. Tate did manage to find few people on the spot, but he was still in search for the right branch. He found a lot of help lately, and it now seems things are finally falling into place. For Tate, this is just the start, but he is sure that he will be able to do a lot more exploring and will be able to become stronger each time he goes bunch riding.

Switching from swimming to cycling

There’s a striking difference between the communities of swimming and cycling, says the young rider. First of all, swimming has few selected people with whom you get the chance to get really close. Secondly, the inter-club connection in swimming differs vastly as compared to cycling. 

Cycling events have helped Nick and Tate to meet people from all over the place, and be friends with adults and kids alike. Perhaps, this community-building is what drew Tate to cycling. The interesting part is that all these people get along really well. Compared to other sports, the community-building spirit soars high in cycling. 

Cycling is about ‘mateship’

As a concerned parent, Nick emphasises how kids gain social skills as they go riding along the way with others. They set out as strangers, but eventually end up becoming friends, talking to each other and supporting each other. It develops a deep, real sense of mateship where they have got each others’ back.

Nick also points out about how the maturity of kids level up. They start understanding each others’ physical pain and help a rider if he or she is having a bad day. If a rider has fallen, you know what to do and make sure he or she makes to the rest of the ride safely. For Nick, cycling undoubtedly is the best sport that develops a good sense of camaraderie among kids.

Pushing the limits

Cycling is all about pushing yourself. Riders like Tate are well aware of the physical pain that is a part of riding. But that’s when you learn to push your limits, especially when you know that you need to continue it for a prolonged period of time.

When you reach a point where you feel like you can't carry on, that’s when a little bit of encouragement from a mate every now and then keeps you going. You push through it, and it firms your determination.

There’s character building in strength building

When Tate struggled to go up the hills, he kept repeating to himself that he is going to make it. Cycling challenges him, and that challenge is what keeps him on his tracks. Tate finds that in the strength building cycling gives him lays the secret that builds character too.