Tour Down Under: test ride time!
The Adelaide City Council Tour Village has been under construction for over a week. This is a centre piece of the whole cycling festival that’s associated with the Santos Tour Down Under and there’s a wealth of entertainment planned as well as ample opportunity to sample the wares of cycling brands from around the world. There is a race on next week but there’s a lot more to it than the competition alone…
“It’s the vibe. I rest my case.”
– Dennis Denuto, The Castle.
The Tour Down Under is a bike race. That’s the central theme for a week of cycling in South Australia but, as we’ve often said, there’s much more to it than watching professional cyclists ply their trade.
Unlike most races on the international calendar, the opening round of the WorldTour has only one hotel for the duration of the event, the Hilton.
Opposite race headquarters is the Adelaide City Council Tour Village. And this is another key component of what makes the festival of cycling what it now is. This is where the mechanics work on bikes and punters can hunt for autographs, as the pro riders can often be found wandering around the village before or after the race.
It’s in the village that you’ll find an impressive display of product as this has become Australia’s biggest annual cycling expo.
This year there’ll be two enormous live screens (40m2): one showing live action of each stage of the race, the other featuring what the organisers are calling a ‘Social Media Wall’ – use #TDU when posting to see your Tweets and Instagram photos on the big screen…
The activities in the village are all part of what’s become a true festival of cycling. (For a complete program of events, visit the Tour Down Under’s official site.)
Highlights of the events and activities on offer in the Adelaide City Council Tour Village include:
- 55 exhibitors
- Official team presentation (Saturday 16 January) – featuring special guest Jessica Mauboy
- Bike SA bike hire program
- BMC demo fleet
- Bollé ‘WattBomb’ challenge
- Bupa Challenge Tour registration
- CamelBak – meet the legends, Simon Clarke and Patrick Bevan (6.00-7.00pm 22 January)
- Canyon bikes official Australian launch
- Cervélo bikes demo fleet – including the new C5, R3 (with disc brakes) and S5 (as used by the Dimension Data team)
- Factor bikes official Australian launch
- Focus bikes demo fleet – featuring Izalco Max with SRAM e-Tap, Shimano Dura-Ace disc brakes, and SRAM Red disc brakes
- Lake Taupo Challenge ‘Virtual Reality Ride’
- Lapierre bikes demo fleet
- Launch of Subaru’s new Livorg car
- Merida bikes demo fleet
- Santos giveaways – including free fedora hats
- Shimano Experience
- Specialized bikes demo fleet
- Thule’s power meter challenge
- Trek bikes, featuring the new 9-series Madone (with limited demo bikes)
In recent years the test ride fleet has grown significantly and the opportunity exists to sample bikes from a range of companies.
Derby Cycle, the Australian agents for Cervélo and Focus bikes, has a fleet of 45 bikes available for test rides. The Focus stand will be the only one in the Adelaide City Council Tour Village that features bikes with SRAM’s new wireless e-Tap shifting system.
There will also be a range of Cervélo bikes for you to try, including the new C5, the R3 with disc brakes and the S5 as used by the Dimension Data team.
Advance Traders represents three bike brands that will be used by teams in the WorldTour this year: BMC, Lapierre and Merida. And of the 61 bikes that will be on display in those booths, 31 are set aside for test rides.
Visit the stand, talk to one of the representatives, book a time… and turn up with your kit and cycling shoes. And then it’s time to ride.
“We’re there to promote the products rather than attempt any direct transactions,” said Advance Traders’ product manager, Rob Bekavac. “We want customers to sample the bikes and then we like to encourage them to visit the local dealer and work out a package that suits their needs.”
He says support from all brands in his stable is strong and that the relatively new relationship with BMC has been a big surprise – because of the enthusiasm that is shown by the Swiss company’s management. “It’s really cool to have such support from everyone involved.”
The goal is to sell bikes, but there’s no obligation to buy.
With a bit of planning you could test ride multiple brands all in one day – and this is great opportunity for anyone interested in buying a new bike. The first impressions of a bike do, after all, tell a lot about the ride qualities.
The message is simple: go for the race but be sure to check out the many periphery events during the festival of cycling in South Australia!