We’re excited to bring you our first instalment from the awesome Dr Lachlan Soper, a bike riding enthusiast, a GP and father of three - and our resident Ride Nation blogger!
Some of you may follow Lachlan’s bike riding adventures and just like us, found lots of great inspiration for getting out with the family and enjoying life on two wheels. Here at Ride Nation, we’re all about rediscovering the joy of riding a bike and making it accessible – and fun – for everyone. We love hearing how Ride Nation is helping our community across Australia and we’re always keen to share their stories. That’s why each month, we’ll be teaming up with Lachlan to share his tips and experiences in our regular "Lachy's Family Rides" series.
This month – meet Lachy and find out what he’s all about!
Hi! My name is Lachlan Soper, I’m the father of 3 awesome primary aged kids (in 2nd, 3rd and 6th grade), I work as a doctor in general practice when not hanging out with my kids, and I’m the author of Lachlan Soper Family Biking - a guide to riding bikes with kids in Sydney.
When I saw what Ride Nation was all about, I couldn’t wait to bring my experiences to this bike riding community and hopefully share some ideas and inspiration for other families to enjoy bike riding as much as we do!
I got into cycling when I was in 5th grade. My mates, Scott and Andrew, were brothers who had road bikes and whenever I went to their place, I would borrow one of their (too big) bikes and ride and race with them around the local streets.
By the time I was in year 8 I bought my first road bike and started racing that year. It’s been a little over 30 years now since my first race and I’m still riding regularly and racing infrequently.
As a father, I wanted to pass my love of bike riding to my kids. That started by putting my eldest on a seat on the back of my bike to ride around local paths and streets, which then moved to taking her on the bike to preschool. As two more kids came along, I got them their own bikes when they were around age 3 or 4 and soon they were off training wheels and riding on local footpaths and nearby bike paths.
The COVID-19 lockdowns of April 2020 meant that for a short season many of the local streets became quieter, so I took the opportunity to ride on quiet roads with them, to teach them to ride two-by-two, to go single file when cars approach from behind, hand signalling when turning and many other road skills. I’m a big advocate for learning these important skills from a young age, so that children become confident – and safe – riders. There are lots of learn to ride programs available through Ride Nation, so do check those out on the website.
Back to my bike riding experiences in early 2020, I’d been riding with a mate of mine, John, who is in his mid-70’s and an expert on all the little, hard-to-find, bike paths around many scenic parts of Sydney. I thought to myself “These are world class rides, I’d bring tourists along these, I’ve got to bring my kids here”...and so the journey began!
What began as plotting out some really cool, scenic bike rides around Sydney Harbour and Parramatta River grew and grew as we went further and further.
It first expanded to riding as much of Sydney Harbour and Parramatta River as possible, a diversion down the Cook’s River Trail bike path to Brighton Le Sands return, then all the Northern Beaches up to Palm Beach, all the Eastern (Southern Beaches) down to the Hacking River at Cronulla, then all the lakes we could find - Narrabeen lake, Liverpool Lakes and Prospect Reservoir to name a few. We rode every part of Sydney we could that was next to water (including Prospect Creek and Prospect Pipeline). See the heatmap of our rides.
Friends of mine saw what we were doing on Strava and Facebook and said words to the effect of “You should do a website”....”I’d love to do that with my kids” etc…. So, what began as a simple documentation ended up being a 60,000 word comprehensive webpage of pretty well every part of Sydney that you can ride with kids near any form of water.
We then rated every ride out of 10 for awesomeness, and also gave each ride a star score out of 5 for difficulty. There are then links to a Strava route to follow (if the rider has Strava), and finally we walk you through all the sights and scenes of each entire route, in particular highlighting cafes, gelato joints and playgrounds to stop at, where to park and, the practicabilities, such as where we found toilets along the way.
Looking forward to sharing more of our adventures with you!
We hope you enjoyed reading how Lachy’s journey began – we’re certainly inspired to check out his recommendations! Stay tuned to our FB and IG @ridenationaus social channels to find out when the next instalment lands, and follow us for lots more tips, tricks, inspiration and fun events to help you #redisoverthejoy of bike riding.