G’day Team Evesham, my name’s Ryan and I’m from Canberra, the national capital of Australia. I’m a Commander in the Royal Australian Navy and earlier this year I found out that I was coming to Moorestown for a couple of months training with Lockheed Martin. I’ve been a keen cyclist for many years now and whilst I’ve typically been a mountain biker, this year I have set some challenging goals to achieve on the road. As any one of you would know, taking an extended period off the bike is difficult to recover from, especially when one of my events takes place 2 weeks after I arrive back in Australia. With that in mind, I decided to keep riding by bringing my bike to South Jersey!
Riding in the US presents an Aussie with a bunch of anxieties, namely riding on the opposite curb, not knowing one end of the street from the other, and more specifically to South Jersey – there being no hills! I searched bike clubs in the area and the results led me to contacting the Bike Club of Philadelphia. The secretary responded to my email and promptly sent my address out to the entire BCP membership! Instantly I had 20 or so emails to respond to offering all forms of assistance from group rides to places to visit to a bed to sleep in! It was quite overwhelming but very much indicative of the brand of hospitality you Americans are so renowned for. Anyway, Sandy was one of those that responded and the rest, as they say, is history.
One of my first stops (on Sandy’s recommendation) was D&Q. I popped in to grab a few things and was back there again just prior to the Labor Day weekend as the forecast hurricane necessitated the purchase of a rain coat. Well, let’s just say that I left without a rain coat and instead with a new bike frame laid away for a short term upgrade! It took some heavy negotiating over facetime back home but the upgrade is now complete and I have my wife, Belinda to thank for further allowing me to indulge my bike habit!
My first Team ride was the pancake run out to Red Barn café – couldn’t have timed it any better and it was a great way to start with the club. Needless to say I will always remember my first peach pancakes! Since then I’ve been a regular participant in Dawn Patrol and weekend rides. More recently I’ve completed the Scenic Schuylkill century and the MS City to Shore rides. I have met some amazing people and I thank them all for letting me into their lives, if only for a brief period of time. I certainly look forward to an opportunity to reciprocate when next you find yourselves ‘Down Under’.
Finally, many have asked what it was like travelling with my bike. This was a first time for me and the truth is it traveled really well and I can highly recommend you getting a good bike bag and taking your trusty stead with you when the opportunity presents. There is no better way of experiencing another country than on two wheels. It’s the complete sensory experience and one that the car, bus or train cannot compete with. More than that, joining a group of like-minded people makes the time spent and distance away from home more bearable. Obviously I miss Belinda and the kids (Piper, Lottie and Hamish) desperately but with the support of the Team Evesham crew, I feel like I’ve found a home away from home, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I hope that I will be the first of many Aussie riders to make ‘guest’ appearances with Team Evesham and I wish you well for the future. You have a great club and I will wear the Jersey with pride back home in Australia!
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie….. (and you say – Oi, Oi, Oi).