While it is a very early memory, Alex Meyland recalls feeling really proud when he received his first bike as a Christmas present.
As kids generally are, he was more interested in seeing how high he could jump on his bike and how far he could skid in the gravel than he was in learning how to use his brakes. As a result, he recalls taking out all of his mum’s ornaments along the front wall of the house on his first ever bike ride.
Luckily, that wasn’t anywhere near a deterrent for him (or his family for that matter).
Alex was all of 4 or 5 when he lined up on a dirt track for his first bike race with his proud family watching from the sidelines. His father gave him a good push to start him off and Alex immediately hit the only rock on the track and came off. His first race was over in the first 5 metres.
As part of a family that was entrenched in cycling in the rural town of Wangaratta, it was a natural progression to become part of the local Club. Alex was one of only a few juniors and was a big focus of the support network. This also became his grounding in how he could create opportunities for other kids to be involved.
The way he saw it, he loved nothing more than being on his bike and that’s the feeling he wanted to share with the other kids.
While he didn’t have any heroes to look up to in the sport, his father Greg was a major influence and together they supported each other in their joint passion for cycling. Cycling talk sometimes had to be banned at the dinner table, however, it never seemed to last long.
His family provided the support networks and facilitated the opportunities to allow him to compete all over the country and internationally. While he started out on the track, it was mountain biking and cyclo-cross that provided him the platform to race internationally.
His final international race in 2014 in Netherlands was a special moment. Not only because he was retiring from competition but because it was the first time his biggest supporter, his father Greg, was able to come along to share the experience.
(Alex's final international race was extra special, with his father, Greg, attending)
However, retiring from competition didn’t mean he was anywhere near done with cycling. He embraced the opportunity to work with Cycling Victoria while studying a double-degree at Federation University in Ballarat.
When the opportunity to take on the role at Ride Nation Wollongong came up, it was a natural fit for Alex. To be part of building a community engagement strategy and grow the Ride Nation presence in Wollongong was a great career fit and progression….and the beachside location didn’t hurt either.
As part of the Wollongong 2022 Road World Championship legacy, Ride Nation Wollongong will work with schools, families and the broader community to share the joy for bike riding.
Alex is still more than happy to talk about how bike riding can benefit the community and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org