There's a metric crap-ton of events at the Tour Down Under. It's flippin exhausting to keep up with it all. So we've taken some editorial liberties and put together our picks. It's a fraction of all the events and group rides but you can't go to everything, so this is the very best stuff.
Words - James Raison
Cover Image - The incredible Jake Thomas (@lilbikenerd) of the Treadly Maker Festival
We're breaking chronological order to put it up front. Hey, that's the price you pay for us doing the work to put this list together!
We've (James) has put together a killer route here that showcases some properly gorgeous roads that are a little off the main cycling tracks. There's gravel, steep stuff, killer views, and some sweet descents. If you aren't there; why aren't you there? Have a gander at the Strava route. Go and mark yourself as attending on the Facebook event. DO IT!
There's some big brands jumping on the Pop-up bandwagon in 2018 so here's your guide:
Rapha - This is the OG pop-up and its success has spawned all other pop-ups on this list. It's a big warehouse with beer, food, bikeporn, and naturally some Rapha swag to buy. It's well-located and guarantees a big screen and shade. They also run 3 organised rides per day. Goddayum! Check out the Facebook event.
Chateau by Black Sheep & Specialized - Our good mates at Black Sheep have teamed up with a small, mostly unknown bicycle company names Specialized (you probably haven't heard of it) to make the classiest sounding event for the week. It's a new setup so we know there'll be bikes and sweet kit inside an abandoned pub. There's also daily rides. Check out the Facebook event.
The MAAPers are dropping into town and setting up in a sweet locale at 33 East Terrace. This is a co-organised show with local legends at Treadly Bike Shop. Like the other pop-ups, it'll be all about kit, bikes, coffee, beer, and good times. Check out their Launch Night Facebook event.
Things at The Bend
There's all kinds of stuff going on at The Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend on the Saturday before the race. It's location, 90km from Adelaide, will make it a bridge too far for many but those who make the voyage will certainly see bikes doing things!
There's the Women's Tour Down Under Stage 2 start at 10.30, South Australian Criterium Championships, The SA Penny Farthing Championships (ERMAGHERD!), and the Revolve 24 where a bunch of people on bikes will ride around the track for a really long time and learn many things about wind resistance.
Tour Village Expo/Team Presentation
The Tour Village is all about ogling bikeporn and consuming things from trucks/tents while reflecting on your leg soreness. The opening night sees all sorts of people rush in to stare at the cyclists as they lycra-up and get presented to the masses. Then there's a free concert with... Guy Sebastian... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Check out the Facebook event.
Norwood Cycling Clubs Super Series Rapha Uraidla Kermesse.
Piccadilly Valley is the gorgeous host of a beautiful club race. The competition is furious as everyone's in Summer peak form and there's plenty of talent in town. For interstaters, this is just a wee hop over Mt Lofty and a roll down the other side to get to the course. We also did some recon and can confirm the nearby Uraidla pub and bakery are A+ awesome. This is just a damn nice way to spend the morning.
Get all the info on the Facebook event.
Treadly Maker Festival.
This is a perennial favourite of ours because of its aggregation of so many fantastic Australian cycling brands. It's set in a closed off Ebenezer Place that's lined with cafes and pubs. It's also 30 metres from the People's Choice Classic criterium. This event is too well located and too awesome to miss. The brands on show will be: prova cycles, Indigo, Tenet Supply, Spin Cycle Clothing, PEAU Cycling, Wallis Paints, FYXO, Rogers Bespoke, SUGI Bikes, Velo-Porte (Performance Bike Hire - Adelaide ), Buckit, Biketivist, Cycle Closet, Skingrowsback Hardwear.
The action happens 12pm-5pm - go to the Facebook Event
TDU Super Series Giant Adelaide Super Crit
Both Monday and Tuesday night will see crits raging around the Victoria Park track - just on the edge of the CBD. There's big prize money on offer so the fields are big and the racing intense. There's few better ways to spend and evening.
Get all the info on the Norwood Cycling Club Facebook page - we haven't seen a Facebook event yet.
Roller Frenzy X presented by Port Adelaide CC
Here's something that's a little different. The PACC Roller Frenzy sees punters on rollers spin themselves into oblivion. Here's PACC's words: "Two sets of rollers are connected to a mechanical dial. As the rollers are driven, the dial rotates – simulating a 500m lap on the track. Head-to-head handicapped races and time trial events test everyone’s abilities and provide a great backdrop to a social night out with a bunch of bicycle nuts." It's great fun to watch and this year it's located in the Tour Village at the Grinders on tour Cafe, action starts at 6pm.
Check out the Facebook event.
TDU Super Series a BLOC Criterium
Again we're at Victoria Park for another night of lovely crit racing sponsored by our mates at aBLOC Bicycle Beer. More bikes, more beer, more lovely vibes in the Adelaide parklands.
Get all the info on the Facebook event.
We haven't seen anything that really floats our boat Wednesday. So just eat something larger than your own head.
The aBloc ride, see above!
Curve Belgie Ride
We've already mentioned the Rapha pop-up generally but the Curve Belgie is a perennial parade of madness on mixed terrain and loose surfaces. The highlight is always the relatively tame single-track segment known as the Pioneer Women's Trail. It's doable on a road bike but there's some gnarly spots there. Always remember; clipping out is for losers (but we'd totally clip out at least twice on that section). The ride runs 4-6pm and leaves from the Rapha pop-up.
Ride anywhere other than the BUPA Tour route
The BUPA Tour is quite a spectacle with 11 billion cyclists all on the road at once. If you're not riding in it, ride elsewhere. It'll be quiet!
It's back! The concrete pounding contest that pits riders in a two-up, head to head... errr... time trial...? I dunno, all we remember is seeing a collection of riders hauling ass on bikes. The atmosphere is great, the location is outstanding, and a concrete multi-story carpark should be a cool place to be after everyone wrecks themselves riding to and from Willunga that day.
It all goes down on Union St from 5.30 to 9.45pm. Check out the Facebook event.
Crawl into a ball and cry
The Tour is over and so are your hopes and dreams. You're sunburnt, hungover, exhausted, and are probably going back to work very soon. But cheer up cobber! Every day brings you one day closer to the 2019 Tour Down Under!