The newest event on Australia’s cycling calendar has quickly become one of the largest with more than 3,000 riders signed up for the Bowral Classic just days out from the inaugural Gran Fondo.
The number of confirmed starters has already tripled the initial target of 1,000 cyclists with riders from all over Australia and around the world set to descend on the historic township in the NSW Southern Highlands this weekend.
Among those saddling up for the full 160km ride through one of the most picturesque courses in Australia is local Federal MP Angus Taylor who was full of praise for the event that will benefit his electorate on many levels.
“This will be big, and I’m not just talking about the sheer numbers of participants or the money being raised for charity,” the Federal Member for Hume said.
“Think of the tourism dollars pouring in, the packed cafes and accommodation houses. Think of the invaluable exposure this will generate for the beautiful Southern Highlands and its villages. But also think of the tremendous health and environmental benefits.”
Fun, Fitness & The Great Outdoors
The Assistant Federal Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Mr Taylor mentioned other positive outcomes the Bowral Classic will have on participants.
“Cycling is so much more than lycra and lattes. The Bowral Classic will demonstrate that. It’s about staying healthy, making new friends or catching up with old ones, and enjoying the great outdoors.
“I congratulate the organisers on their work in promoting this inaugural event and participants of all levels for embracing it.
“I am intent on finishing the 160km ride…although as a pollie, I don’t anticipate there will be much free-wheeling,” Mr Taylor quipped.
Ride organiser James Yaffa said there is nothing else like the Bowral Classic on offer in New South Wales.
Yaffa, a publisher at Yaffa Media, the owner of the nation’s pre-eminent cycling publication Bicycling Australia, said in terms of cycling events in regional areas, NSW is a bit lacking compared to other states.
“We wanted a beautiful location that is a bonafide tourist and weekend destination close to Sydney which offers a variety of courses from challenging to easy, not to mention a great gourmet scene. The Southern Highlands fits the bill on all accounts.”
And Yaffa would know, having gone to school in the region that his family have enjoyed close ties to for more than 40 years.
“It’s a fantastic local community in that part of the world,” he said.
“We would love locals to get on board with this event, either by taking part in the ride, fundraising for their chosen charity or coming out to support the riders as a volunteer or spectator.”
Catering for all levels of cycling ability, the event covers three courses:
• The ‘Maxi Classic’, a full ‘Imperial Century’ distance of 160km for the hard core and challenge-driven rider
through the scenic backroads of Bowral, Mittagong and Kangaloon.
• The ‘Midi Classic’, a 90km option for those with less time on their hands, or distance in their legs.
• The ‘Mini Classic’, a 25km ride through the streets of Bowral that the kids will love.
As well as its beauty the Southern Highlands is a popular training location for pro cyclists due to the diversity of terrain on offer. From lush rural farmlands and spectacular forest landscapes to hill and mountain climbs, it has it all.
The event will live up to the Southern Highlands’ reputation as a foodie hub with suppliers from all over the region offering up an array of fine food and beverage delights at ‘The Village’, a tent land that will spring up at the Bowral Velodrome at the event’s Eridge Park finish.
Riders and their supporters can relax on a supplied bean bag and refuel on the fine food, coffee, wine and craft beer that will be in abundance at ‘The Village’ where a live band and BBQ will also add to the festivities. And there will be an array of kids’ activities, including a petting zoo and face painting.
All For A Good Cause
Riders have the freedom to choose their own charity to raise funds via the event which sets it apart from the majority of rides that support single causes.
“The cycling community is a great benefactor of charities, so we wanted to give riders an opportunity to support a charity they are passionate about,” Mr Yaffa said.
Anyone interested in helping out as a volunteer on one of the biggest events on the Southern Highlands calendar in 2016 can email their details to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the event organisers will be in touch.
For more details visit the Bowral Classic webpage: www.bowralclassic.com.au and go to the Bowral Classic Facebook page to keep up with all the latest event news and views www.facebook.com/bowralclassic.
Check out the Bowral Classic preview video for a heads up on the course www.bowralclassic.com.au/the-course.