Who are the “Sprocket Rockets”?

Annemaree and Lindsay Murnane; Sid and Cath Wrangles; Janet and Brian Schwarz; Marlene and Andy Thurlow and Chris Leske with Dave Preuss and Ev Leske kneeling at front.

Chances are you’ve noticed a happy group of people cycling around the Barossa Valley dressed in very distinctive yellow hi-vis vests.

If you can actually catch up with them, you’ll see they even have their own logo  with the words “Sprocket Rockets” emblazed on their tops, complete with flame and cogs.

But who are these pedalling pals on wheels you might ask?

The Leader spotted them at Tanunda Bakery last Friday and members were quick to point out Andy Thurlow, of Tanunda as the one who “knows all”.

He happily shares their story.

“My wife, Marlene and I have always enjoyed cycling – and drinking coffee – and the Barossa Valley is just a perfect place to do both,” says Andy.

“Over a year ago we asked some friends if they would like to join us for a weekly ride and cuppa, and so our social cycling club was born.”

On Thursday mornings the “Sprocket Rockets”, now numbering close to 30, ride for about an hour in two groups.

 “The ‘semi-pros’ set out from Tanunda to ride a longer and slightly quicker route to the coffee-ing (and often cake-ing) destination, and ‘The Rest’, who saunter at a friendly and talkative pace,” explains Andy. 

“Our bikes are an eclectic assortment of nearly everything on two wheels, without a motor, ranging from road bikes, mountain bikes through to a growing variety of e-bikes. Mottos are penned on a weekly basis, but the latest is ‘Any bike. Any body’.” 

Andy says some ‘Sprocketeers’ don’t ride. Instead, they walk part of the way or turn up by car for coffee and conversation.

“Sometimes we do a ride followed by a platter and wine lunch, and quarterly we take on an ‘ABOVE’ ride and lunch – A Barossa Outer Valley Experience – to places like the Riesling Trail in the Clare Valley,” says Andy. 

“We plan to ride the Rattler Trail soon, with the Amy Gillett Trail or one of the many wonderful Adelaide trails planned for the future. “ 

The group have enjoyed rides to coffee shops in Angaston, Jacobs Creek, Nuriootpa, Lyndoch, Krondorf, Tanunda, Seppeltsfield, Greenock, Stonewell, Rowland Flat and Clare and they welcome all cyclists.

 “If you haven’t ridden for a while, dust off your bike and join us!” urges Andy. 

“We stop a lot to take in the Valley views 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. 

“But primarily it’s a fun club.”

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