Every city has a few core running and cycling communities, and at the center of each is usually one or two local influencers – the glue that holds the scene together. Everyone knows them. They’re at every race, on one side of the barriers or the other. They know all the country roads and city shortcuts. Best of all, they’re great people… easy to talk to, flush with smart advice.
We hope that between the powerful, data-driven city guides of Strava Local and the personal support we extend to our favorite local influencers, you can find an exceptional ride or run – maybe even a new friend – in any of the world’s great cities.
We’ll be introducing you to our Local Influencers from cities around the World. Meet our team representing Melbourne.
I currently race my bike with Budget Forklifts Continental Cycling team, which competes in the Australian National Road Series (NRS) and also some UCI races both domestically and internationally. At the moment I am fortunate enough to have the full support from my family to continue pursuing the dream of becoming a professional cyclist. Monday feels the same as a Friday to me and I think that suggests how lucky I am at this point in my life.
Not much beats a bike on a sunny day, no wind and a few Strava PR’s!
What is your favorite ride and why? strava.com/activities/156519018
My favourite place to ride is in the northeast of Melbourne, heading out towards Healesville and looping back through Kinglake and Arthurs Creek. This loop includes plenty of climbing on some very scenic roads and is generally pretty good for traffic. You can even complete this entire loop without coming across a set of traffic lights!
What do you like most about the cycling culture in Melbourne? It’s a really friendly cycling community with plenty of different bunch rides available mid-week or during the weekends. This means there’s always someone to ride with, which can really help with motivation. Sometimes I’ll head out to Kinglake for a solo ride and end up riding home with a bunch of mates.
I started running because it was something my Dad did, and I wanted to spend time with him.
He was training for his first 100km at the time and we would go for three hours and that became normal for me. At 16 I ran my first 100km with him and we finished in 12:36:00. I loved it! The following year I went back and came second in a time of 9:32:00. I think that was the real turning point and when people noticed me. Since then I became the first junior in the Skyrunning World Championships overseas in France, and this year I am representing Australia at the World Trail Championships.
Which superpower would you like to have? You’d think it would be to be super fast, but I would love to be able to fly. Looking down on mountains and valleys would be pretty epic.
What do you most like about the running culture in Melbourne? The trail running culture in Melbourne is relatively new but everyone who is a part of it shares the same passion and love for running in incredible places, but most importantly, having fun and doing it with a smile. There is no competitiveness, and every weekend you can go out with a different group of people that are keen to show you their backyard. I just love the support everyone gives and to me and it feels like one big family.
The freedom, the fresh air, the camaraderie, the sound…
There’s not much you can’t like about the bike, especially in Melbourne. With the country hills, the overgrown forests, the beach, and abundance of racing available all at your fingertips, it really is the best cycling city in the world. My Dad was a big fan of Jan Ulrich – I was made to watch the tour. Through his persistence I grew up to love the sport.
Which superpower would you like to have? Teleporting. I always sit and have coffee after a ride for too long.
What song best describes you? Good Life – Kanye West.
What is your favorite breakfast food? Coffee? The porridge at Three Bags Full back in 2012 is still the best. It’s yet to be beaten. Coffee: Magic or latte… it’s all good.
What is your favorite ride and why? «Dazzler Summer Ride» is the best. Hands down. Flat green farms, climbs, bush, steep roads.
What do you like most about the cycling culture in Melbourne? The people! Definitely the people – oh, and the coffee.
I moved to Melbourne a few years ago to pursue a career in local government, where I work full time as an environment officer. In my spare time I also write a regular column for Cycling Tips and have my own blog, www.veritastewart.com. When I’m not writing, you can find me riding my bike up mountains, sipping coffee or looking at pictures of cats on Instagram.
It all began when I moved to the city. I vowed to never drive my car again so I started to commute to work by bike.
Before I knew it, I had caught the cycling bug! I discovered that I loved the fun, the people, the adrenaline and challenge that riding my bike gave me – especially up mountains. Within a short period, I started racing, and I now race competitively for the elite National Road Series team Specialized Securitor. I juggle full time employment with full time racing and training commitments, but I am loving every minute of it. How could I not? I get to race my bike all over Australia (one day the world) with a bunch of awesome women.
What do you like most about the cycling culture in Melbourne? I love Melbourne’s vibrancy and diversity.
There are so many people in Melbourne that ride bikes, whether it be for fun, commuting, recreationally or competitively – cylocross, MTB, road or track – all within 20km of the CBD. Melbourne is great because there is a bunch ride you can do every day of the week, you can race almost every day of the week, you always can find someone on the road to ride with and women’s cycling in Melbourne is booming. It really makes me smile! Moving to Melbourne is the catalyst that sparked my love for cycling. There are so many great clubs (like Hawthorn Cycling Club) and people doing great things in Melbourne for women’s cycling.
If it wasn’t for the mentors and friends I have met here, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The support is absolutely awesome.
Although I really enjoy technology and learning how businesses use it, my life is predominately about running.
My parents started me at Keilor Little Athletics when I was six and I have been running ever since. On top of the pure distance running, I am also a Boundary Umpire for Australian Football League (AFL) Victoria, mainly officiating Victorian Football League (VFL) matches with the goal of hopefully taking the step up to the AFL in the next few years. In 2013 I created an athletics website called Athletics Exclusive. I wanted to offer the athletics community something different, that wasn’t already being done by anyone else.
What do you like most about the running culture in Melbourne?
The social scene, especially among distance runners, is great. This part of the community is quite close and it is always awesome when you can go to a new area in Melbourne and almost always recognise someone. We always go up to Falls Creek over the New Year period, which is an awesome experience for distance runners of any level. Being able to join in on sessions and runs with other distance athletes is something that I always look forward to. This is a culture that you don’t often get in an individual sport. But it’s great when you get the opportunity.