Meet Graeme Thiessen, a fella up to his eyeballs in bike culture. He works at a bike store, runs a cycling blog, and is an organiser of Gravelaide: Adelaide's awesome gravel fondo. He's also incapable of refusing a post-ride burger and has an insatiable taste for gravel exploring.
Dream Bike and why
I'm horrible at this game. I never have an answer to this question no matter if it's about food or music or movies... I think the bike plays a pretty minor role in how enjoyable a ride is (good mates and a nice route are all you need), but obviously, a sweet bike makes things that much better. So... I've been liking the look of Field Cycles frames lately, but I'd have to say that for my riding habits lately, I'd go for an Open UP (or a custom plus-sized Field?) with Di2/disc set-up and a few wheels to swap around depending on the terrain for the day.
What is your favourite local ride
So hard to choose! Hills and a bit of gravel would do it, but there's so much on offer around Adelaide I honestly can't think of one particular route. Yeah, it's a cop-out, but it's true.
What is your current cycling goal
To always be fit enough to snap-off a big ride at a moments notice.
When I am on the bike I....
have an impossible time restraining myself from chasing anything in front of me. Because I am a child.
How did your love of bikes come about?
Quite naturally. Rode mountain bikes as a teen, as teens do, and never looked back. It's been a source of enjoyment, fitness, and transportation ever since.
Share a cycling memory
The first thing that comes to mind is when my wife and I rode across the UK on our own when we lived there (Lands End to John O'Groats). Just under two weeks of amazing countryside, a ton of challenging hills (pulling a loaded trailer), great people, constant rain (I'm not exaggerating even a little, and it resulted in usually pulling on still-damp clothes in the morning. Ewww), some seriously low points along the way, and obviously a whole bunch of awesome memories that will stay with us forever. As with all great rides, the second it was over the misery just added to the experience and we sad to be finished.
I love to ride because....
It's life-giving. That sounds horribly saccharine, but it's true. For something that's essentially a selfish act (it's not exactly feeding the poor or curing cancer), I can't think of anything that has so many positive effects on so many levels from something so simple as riding a bike. Sure, there are other ways that people accomplish the same results, but for me, most often, the bike is where I strengthen friendships, connect with nature, exercise my body and mind, and exorcise my demons (so to speak). It's hand's down the best way to get to and from work, despite some people's low regard for the well-being of those around them, and it just so happens to be good for the environment, the economy, and the social fabric of our communities. Why wouldn't you ride?
Some interesting stuff about Graeme
Since moving to Australia with my wife from Canada via a few years living in the UK, I've been fortunate enough to be in the position to do whatever I wanted, so I've been working in a bike shop - the tiny and old-school (let's call it quaint), Norwood Parade Cycles. Nothing flash, just good, honest service from a shop that's been around for nearly 40 years. My interest in cycling took on another role a couple of years ago when I quite spontaneously started up The Sticky Bidon with no actual plan in mind other than to simply dump some of my thoughts about cycling and the behaviour that surrounds it onto the interwebs. It's been amazing fun, and has ironically been the inspiration of it's own demise, as I'm going back to Uni full-time as of next week to study Urban Planning to learn a bit about the things I've been discussing on the website. "Demise" is being dramatic (I'm not killing it, though it has slowed-down as of late), but it's also taken a real back-seat lately because I'm one of three guys who are up to our eyeballs in organizing our second Gravelaide event here in SA (Gravelaide Facebook Group), which everyone obviously needs to get out to. Because gravel. And bikes. So basically, every aspect of my life for the last number of years has been around, about, or on, bikes. Sad? Or awesome?