Sprocket rockets keep growing

Sprocket Rockets’ Lindsay Murnane, Marlene and Andy Thurlow and Ev Leske with Pastors Julian Bayha, David Altus (Lutheran Bishop SA/NT), Dave Preuss, Len Gerschwitz, Jim Bryan and Brian Schwarz who joined the group when they visited Hemera Estate, Lyndoch for their Christmas breakup on December 10. Middle row: Annemarie Murnane, Juli Dutschke, Wendy Schiller, Dianne Catto, Kate Sankey, Robyn Hart, Janet Schwarz, Sonia Holzknecht. Back: Anne Parkin, Cath Wrangles, Chris Leske, Kate Obst, Ruth Rathjen, Brenton Dutschke, Neil Rogers, Matt Preuss, Rob Schiller, David Boerth, Erica and Adrian Stiller, Paulene Boerth, Lorraine Mathews, Noleen Mattschoss, Helen Brennand, Dennis Hart, Tony Brennand, Pip Parkin, Sid Wrangles, Ross Kemp and Erich Holzknecht.

When a group of six cyclists decided to go for a ride to Angaston on April 26, 2019 with the aim of enjoying a coffee, never could they have imagined the little team they named the “Sprocket Rockets” would flourish into the huge social group it is today.

The brainchild of Andy and Marlene Thurlow, the Tanunda couple still can’t believe the exponential growth.

“Marlene and I have always enjoyed cycling – and drinking coffee, so I came up with the concept of ‘Sprocket Rockets’ and we were initially joined by others from the Langmeil Lutheran Church in Tanunda,” Andy s

“Now we have nearly 70 members on our mailing list, with 20-30 regularly riding on a Thursday morning, and a further 10-20 joining us for coffee, cake and a chat.”

Andy said the club had grown organically, mostly by word of mouth and it has turned into a great social outing for people from all walks of life. 

“Sid and Cath Wrangles from the Riverton area were immediate supporters and now we have a group of regulars who make the long trip weekly to ride with us,” he explained.

“Then Dianne Catto joined up and three of her friends – ‘The Ladies of Lyndoch’ ride from there, spend a few hours with us, and then ride home.

“Sometimes, even cyclists from Adelaide make the trip to enjoy a ‘Sprockets
X Sperience’.

Every Thursday morning the group ride for about an hour in two groups, donned in their fluorescent vests complete with Sprocket Rockets’ logo.

There’s the ‘semi-pros’ who set out from Tanunda to ride a longer and slightly quicker route to the coffee-ing (and often cake-ing) destination and then there’s Andy’s ‘Smell the Roses’ group.

“They are highly intelligent people, who saunter at a friendly and talkative pace, and stop at the top of hills to admire the views,” he said.

“We ride at the pace of the slowest in our group and directly to the coffee target! Next year we are introducing a group somewhere in the middle, led by Marlene and called ‘Marley’s Harleys’.”

There is an eclectic assortment of nearly everything on two wheels without a motor, ranging from road bikes, hybrids and mountain bikes through to a growing variety of e-bikes. 

“Mottos are penned on a weekly basis, but one that is popular is ‘any bike…any body’!” said Andy.

Some ‘Sprocketeers’ don’t ride, but walk some part of the way, and others turn up for coffee and conversation by car.

They’ve enjoyed rides to coffee shops in Angaston, Jacobs Creek, Nuri, Lyndoch, Krondorf, Tanunda, Seppeltsfield, Greenock, Stonewell, Rowland Flat, Riverton and Clare. 

“Sometimes we are invited to member’s homes and these visits are always a highlight,” said Andy.

“Sometimes, like today at Hemera Estate, we do a ride followed by a platter and wine lunch, and bi-annually we take on an ‘ABOVE’ ride and lunch – A Barossa Outer Valley Experience – to places like the Riesling Trail in the Clare Valley and the Rattler Trail between Auburn and Riverton.”  

Andy said Sprocket Rockets welcomed all cyclists. 

“If you haven’t ridden for a while, dust off your bike and join us. For those who like to really grind it out, after coffee you are welcome to extend your ride to blow out the cobwebs and chisel off the calories.”

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