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Adelaide resident Stuart O’Grady is back at the center of South Australian cycling culture. After taking a few years off from the day-to-day world of pro bike racing, the 17-time Tour de France participant, Paris–Roubaix winner and Olympic gold medalist has a couple of new gigs: a partnership with Mummu Cycling, a cycling travel company, and a new café and cycling space called Velo Precinct at Victoria Park, Adelaide. As we arrived at the café, 40 youth riders were lined up outside the café on an oval to begin their Thursday-night race series. The historic building has a Victorian feel and ample stands for parents to cheer on their kids each lap. We chatted with Stuart inside Velo Precinct.
This article originally appeared in issue 63.
How did you spend your time away from cycling? I played a lot more golf! It was awesome. Left the clubs in the boot [that’s Oz-speak for a car’s trunk]. I would go to lunch. It’s just nice not to worry about what you are eating. I remember going for a ride and someone mentioned getting fish and chips. I thought: “Are you joking?” Then I thought: “Why not.” This is cool. It’s just stuff I was never able to do, like getting on a mountain bike and riding bike paths. I was always training, getting on a bike and riding as far as I could for as fast as I could!
The new café and the partnership with Mummu Cycling…seems like you are keeping busy? It’s all pretty exciting. It was really nice to get out of the cycling bubble for a little while and have a breather…to feel kind-of normal for a little bit—whatever that is! Take the kids to school sports, see the girls dancing concerts, all the stuff I missed. It was nice to take a breather. I watched all the races; I just didn’t want to be amongst them. It’s only recently I’ve started missing it and wanted to get back involved.
How did Velo Precinct come together? I think it was a bit of fate we came across this space. The venue is an old horseracing jockey’s bar which was vacant for 10 years. We came back to Adelaide after living overseas for a few years and I was looking at doing like a hobby café, spin-cycling center and have a café there and we came across this space. Things went from a small idea to figuring out how to fill out a historic space.
Tell us about the kids’ races out front? We still kind-of pinch ourselves in the morning because we arrive and there’s riders lined up. It’s the ultimate cycling spot for us. Crit racing out front, and on weekends kids are learning to ride bikes for the first time in front. It’s a nice vibe… there’s no traffic for the kids to worry about; we are just really happy it’s come together. It’s a cool spot.