The Weekly Rider - Nick Squillari

Part Podiatrist, part writing hack. Full time epic Hubbard who could not think of anything worse than a life lived indoors (unless it's riding Zwift). Weakness for doughnuts, bread crusts and new cycling swag... and now La Velocita Weekly Rider.

Nick Squillari - Geelong and Melbourne - split across two cities.

Dream Bike

One of any of the bikes in my stable. I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can ride bikes that I truly love - so there's a Stinner, a Baum and a Cervelo (TT) at my disposal. Life's too short to ride shit bikes. Any of those three are a damn pleasure to go flying around on. The only one missing is an Italian masterpiece (Colnago, Pinarello, De Rosa, etc). I'll fix that one day.

What is your favourite local ride?

Brisbane Ranges. Non disparagingly known locally as riding in 'man's country' on account of the lack of places to stop for food, especially worse when the Anakie local store had shut down for a few years. You're out in the bush, barely any cars. Wombats, roos, wind and piles of pinchy climbs. It's about as savage (climbs wise) as it can get down south and due to the long, exposed run back to Geelong not a ride you want to empty yourself on, only to have 40km of block headwind home to contend with. I have managed to both snap a rear derailleur cable (so only the front 53 and 39) and bonk out there. Left me questioning why I ride bikes on both grovels back to civilisation.

What is your current cycling goal?

Ideally place better than 9th in the Australian national elite time trial. That result came in 2016. This year I managed to deck myself. Even better given Cycling Maven was there, filming it all... I am positive I can go a little higher. And while I'll never be within a light year of the top pros, there's no reason I can't beat a few of the others.

When I am on the bike I.... think. A lot.

I don't ride with music but maybe one of the groupset manufacturers can build in a dictaphone, because the amount of ideas, 'to do' and general crazy thoughts that enter my head are too much for me to remember. I also make sure I wave. An ex team mate once asked "why wave? Is this some kind of f**king club you reckon you're a part of". Yes. It damn well is a club we're all a part of. Never too pro to say hello.

How did your love of bikes come about?

I've had a right knee reconstruction and an arthroscope on my left. They're totally cactus. The reco came second, with rehab saying I could ride a bike before they would even let me swim. I used to surf, so was grudgingly willing to accept swimming just so I could get active again. When the physio said "no, but you can ride" I pulled out my 9-speed, never been cleaned, road bike and went for a spin. Freezing temps and nothing but a jersey and bib shorts on. Massive Hubbard. Was hooked from that point on (and am still a massive Hubbard).

Share a cycling memory

I was fortunate enough to race in Asia for a Singaporean UCI Continental level team. One stage in the Tour of Langkawi, my completely inept ability to climb saw me chasing back on downhill. On the front of the bunch, I clearly wasn't going fast enough for the rider behind - who happened to be Jaan Kirsipuu. Four time Tour de France stage winner. I remember simply following his line through corners - too scared to look at my speed - and thinking "he made it through and didn't die, so can you". It was as close to an out-of-body experience as I've ever had on a bike. 

Inadvertently eating horse meat when living/racing in Belgium in 2014 also one of the weirder cycling memories I have.

I love to ride because....

The new places it still takes me. Now as a freelance writer, I've been lucky enough to have ridden the Taiwan KOM Challenge (sea level to 3,500m), raced through the Australian red centre and recently toured around Hungary. Places that, without a bicycle, I likely would never have visited. Holidays to the Gold Coast just seem so passe now in comparison. 

The camaraderie that also exists within cycling is something quite special. My team, the Men of Steel, are an exceptional bunch of guys. Not just a team in the traditional sense, we try and also do our part as advocates for mental health. A message our sponsors both support and actively also help promote. It's terrific to show that bike riding (and racing) can still be a success without crossing the finish line first.

Nick is supported by - Black Sheep Cycling, Stinner frameworks, SRAM and Power2Max all deserve a huge big up. They look after myself and my team mates, The Men of Steel, exceptionally well.