Cycle tours resume bringing more visitors to Gloucester

A group of mountain bike riders enjoy a day cycle around the Gloucester region. Photos supplied by Aussie Bike or Hike.
A group of mountain bike riders enjoy a day cycle around the Gloucester region. Photos supplied by Aussie Bike or Hike.

There's something to be said about enjoying the beauty of your own backyard and for outdoors enthusiast, Alex Cudlin, he's determined to share it with as many people as possible.

He recently brought 16 people to Gloucester for a 35 kilometre cycle, something he hasn't been able to do since the COVID lockdown.

The tour took place on Saturday, June 20, as Alex's business, Aussie Bike or Hike works to regain traction since being forced to shut down.

According to Alex, the riders came from within the region, as well as Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and Sydney. Riders did a tarmac tour of Gloucester, Barrington and the base of the Bucketts, even getting a chance to splash in the Barrington River as they made their way over Rocky Crossing.

It's not the first time Alex has brought tours to Gloucester, even taking on the Barrington Tops ride, as he looks to explore all the beauty within the Barrington Coast.

"It is such a beautiful place and town. It really is an adventurer's dream town," he said. "It has a bit of everything. If you want to hike you can, if you want to ride you can. It's a beautiful town with plenty of charm. The countryside is gorgeous, and the locals are great."

Riders always stay for at least one night and encouraged to support the town.

"Whether it be a coffee at the local cafes, buying petrol at the service station, getting a beer at the pub or staying in the many accommodations the town has to offer," Alex explained.

"We have had customers come on our tours who stay in Gloucester for a few days and realise just how beautiful it is. One customer on the ride had not been to Gloucester for 35 years, a few others had never been here before, and some were coming back for the 10th time here."

Alex Cudlin before the start of racing in the 2016 Troy Bayliss Classic.

Alex Cudlin before the start of racing in the 2016 Troy Bayliss Classic.

Cycling tours may seem a far cry for this motorcycle World Endurance champion, but mountain biking has been part of his training regime.

"My love for the great outdoors was built from a very young age, having grown up on a small farm near Taree with my parents and an older brother and sister," Alex explained.

Motorbikes were a part of his childhood, with his parents owning a country motorcycle dealership and him undertaking motorcycle mechanic apprenticeship.

Mountain biking and hiking were always interests of his, but after moving to Europe at 18 years old to pursue his dream of becoming a professional racer, his love for the outdoors grew.

Alex Cudlin in action.

Alex Cudlin in action.

"I competed in the World Endurance Championships all over Europe, Asia and Middle East, becoming world champion in 2010," he said.

"I cycled roads in Qatar, pedaled the hills of the French Alps, mountain biked in England and Scotland, trekked the mountain region of Lebanon, hiked the hills of Switzerland, walked the roads of India, and visited monuments in Indonesia and many other countries throughout my travels."

When he returned to Taree in 2017, he decided to start an adventure company bringing together his three loves; motorcycles, mountain biking and hiking.

The business has grown from a few local hikes and cycling tours to overseas adventures in New Zealand, Nepal, India, Mongolia, Peru, Indonesia, and well as other parts of Australia.

Like many businesses, COVID hit him hard. Not only did he have to stop operations in Australia all of the overseas tours have been postponed.

"We are (now) able to run local tours which is great. Unfortunately our overseas tours are still on hold but to be ale to operate the business in some capacity is fantastic," he said.

"It has allowed us more time at home and exploring the local region more."