Aussie Hump Day Riders beat the pandemic blues on bikes

AHDR founder Tim Searle on the road at home. Photo: David Tune.


SAWTELL resident Tim Searle is a dedicated cyclist who came up with an idea for socially distanced rides that has taken off throughout Australia and overseas.

After issues with his knees stopped him from playing soccer and a severe crash when cycling down the range from Dorrigo hampered his riding, he set up a static bike in his man cave and discovered an online cycling simulator called Zwift, which allows riders from anywhere in the world to interact and ride on a simulated course.

Tim started the Aussie Hump Day Rides (AHDR) in 2016, so named because they happen on a Wednesday evening, and had a group of around 30 people regularly joining him online for a one-hour ride.

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With the pandemic restrictions reaching into every part of life last year, the number of regular riders increased to over 800, and the number of rides expanded to 15 each week, with Tim leading ten to twelve of them.

“The Aussie Hump Day Ride started in April 2016, with the aim of being a social ride that as many Australians as possible could ride in together for an hour or so,” Tim said.

“Wednesday seemed a good day being the middle (hump) of the week.

“Our first ride had 28 attendees.

“Within three months we had 200 people turning up every week, and from all over the world.

“Giant Bicycles came on board and we continued to grow the ride.”

The software package links to a trainer on the rear wheel of the bike and simulates riding conditions including increasing resistance on hills and providing a feeling of ‘drafting’ when riding behind another cyclist.

One of the features that Tim rates very highly is the ability to use a keyboard to chat with other riders, giving what is a time efficient training tool an important social aspect.

Tim still rides outdoors but holds the world record for hours logged on the Zwift platform, and has covered over 199 thousand kilometres from the comfort of his own home.

By David TUNE


The view of the course as provided by Zwift. Photo: David Tune.

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