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August 20, 2014

Boucle de Burbs

Bikes are cheap, environmentally friendly and good for your health - but they can also help you discover hidden things about your city, as Treadly Bike Shop's Boucle de Burbs demonstrates. On ya bike, mates.

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  • Pictures: Photos of the 2013 event courtesy Treadly Bike Shop and photographed by Che Chorley.

For the third year running, Treadly Bike Shop is holding the Boucle de Burbs – a charmingly French-sounding event that sees hundreds of Adelaide’s bike riders swoop through suburban back alleys on a casually-paced Sunday adventure.


The Boucle de Burbs runs this Sunday, August 24, from 12pm. Pre-event registration is a good idea because then Sam can organise a rad gift bag for you – visit the Treadly website to buy your ticket.

Treadly co-owner Sam Neeft had ridden in interstate events similar to the Boucle before he decided to start his own version in Adelaide.

“It’s just about the everyday bike going out on a ride with some friends and family and finding places you’ve never been before,” he says.

“It goes through heaps of different laneways, through the suburbs and past your local businesses – of course – for some food and beverages. So, it’s just a thing to show people what else is out there they might not know about.”

The 40km course is kept secret until participants arrive at this year’s starting point of the Bonython Park Pond, but it is deliberately mapped to take in some refreshment points in the form of excellent cafés and pubs. Riders who make it to the end without getting waylaid by too many pints or espressos will be rewarded with the presence of Veggie Velo and a prize ceremony to acknowledge serious things such as looking silly.

As well as spending hours alongside wife and business partner Emily co-ordinating tickets, supplies and maps, Sam is responsible for plotting the route for each year’s Boucle. Over several months of weekend riding he accumulates a list of places and paths that hold interest and then puzzles over how to interconnect them into a cohesive course.

As this week’s rider wend their way through some unexpected laneways and around bends, Sam says they should be prepared for some grand and unusual sights.

“Through some sections of the route the architecture behind houses is actually really quite beautiful sometimes – mostly you look at the front but when you go around the back people have some really nice architecture – extensions and things like that, which is cool,” he says.

“And then some of the artwork in laneways – there’s a lot of graffiti but there’s also some really good stuff that has been commissioned by the councils, or local people have had it done.

“Sometimes too its just really quirky – on one of the laneways there’s a burnt out house that is completely demolished. There’s no windows, there’s no roof and smoke stains everywhere, which is kind of cool. We’ve seen wrecked cars and toilets and TVs and all that kind of stuff – it’s just kind of fun.”

Named after Le Grand Boucle – a sort-of women’s version of the Tour de France started in the Great War era – the event is set to attract more than 400 participants this Sunday.

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