Adelaide’s Tour Down Under maybe growing in stature in the world of cycling, but is there anything for non-MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra)?
Quentin Long goes on the tour for three days and found these surprising reasons it is well worth the trip for non-cyclists.
1. It’s a holiday with a superstar cycling race thrown in
If you thought that the Tour Down Under was just for MAMILS then pull that lycra a bit tighter and higher. The tour is based in Adelaide and each day’s route takes the cyclists, amateur and pros alike, to another spectacular region.
It is an opportunity to see, eat and drink all the wonderful things in places like the Barossa, McLaren Vale, the Fleurieu or the Adelaide Hills. But you don’t have to strictly follow the race. In fact we would suggest you don’t.
The perfect Tour day is in fact very light on cycling, the tour acts as backdrop to the fun. Start with the MAMILS in your party (if any) heading off to stretch the lycra and legs in the early morning while the non-cyclists enjoy a sleep in and breakfast.
The non-cyclists then head to meet the MAMILs in one of the regions to take in the wineries, swim at the beach, peruse the shops and galleries followed by a fantastic lunch at one of the amazing regional restaurants and then head to the finish line for about an hour.
Once the race is finished you then can mosey back to Adelaide for a beautiful evening (see point 2 – it’s a festival) via a great beach or another wine tasting or a walk in the bush or shopping.
2. Adelaide becomes a festival
Jam packed with quality restaurants and bars every night is a festival in Adelaide. South Australians get into the spirit and the atmosphere is infectious. Starting from the end of that day’s stage to the next morning the party across town is in full swing.
Plan to spend at least one afternoon in the Tour Village in the centre of Victoria Square. A great place to get a feel for the event, we suggest starting your first ‘tour’ evening here.
It’s a great introduction to the tour and the atmosphere. And be warned, you could have one too many and think it is a good idea to spend $5k on a new bike.
Check out the best Adelaide Bars and Restaurants.
3. It’s the people’s race
The Tour Down Under is the only world-class tour event where amateur or casual cyclists can race the same course as the pros the same day.
The good news is you don’t have to do all 160 kilometres or however long the stage, just bite off a much more achievable (and pleasurable) 30 kilometres or 60 kilometres.
There is something quite comforting watching a pro seemingly struggle just like you did up one or two hills. You feel better about yourself.
4. Superstars who would be mobbed elsewhere are at the breakfast buffet
You have to get lucky to get within sweating distance of a pro-cyclist during a grand European tour. Being laid back Adelaide superstars of the sport are wondering the streets.
Hang outside the Hilton Adelaide and you will likely bump into a past Tour de France winner like Cadel Evans, or a Tour de France stage winner and multi-TDU winner like Simon Gerrans.
It is not uncommon to bump into Olympic Gold Medal winner Anna Meares wondering the streets around midnight after a corporate gala event.
5. It’s a dose of healthy inspiration
While you will probably overindulge during your trip (you really should) being this close to elite athletes and the general cycling enthusiasm is contagious. You will return committed to a healthier life – maybe even on two wheels.
For event information see, Santos Tour Down Under