Graeme Hanel is 67, lives in Barwon Heads, and has done the TAC People’s Ride multiple times as part of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

What brings him back year after year? The opportunity to share the roads he loves with his mates, enjoy a few tales, and bask in the freedom of riding.

That’s the power of cycling.

It unifies people; whether you’ve just met at the start line at Steampacket Gardens and said “g’day”, or it’s your mate you ride with every Saturday morning across the beautiful Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine regions.

Hanel rides in the TAC People’s Ride with over a dozen of his close mates from the Barwon Heads Cycling Club, a community nestled south of Geelong on a wonderful, quiet coastline.

And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I look forward to the whole ride,” Hanel said.

“Being a local, and following Cadel through his professional career and seeing him at Le Tour de France, the opportunity to ride with him on my roads with my friends – it’s the best.”

As part of his time with the Barwon Heads Cycling Club, Hanel and those close to him have their ride routine down pat. They’ll always ride together, enjoy each other’s company and finish at a Barwon Heads institution for a coffee and a chat, Annie’s Provedore.

“We do the same during the TAC People’s Ride,” Hanel said.

“We’ll gather pre-race at Steampacket Gardens and head to the start line as a group. We’ll then tackle the ride together before finishing as a group and enjoying a well-earned chat post at the live site.

“I’ve done the TAC People’s Ride about four or five times now and it’s always a beautiful ride. Sharing the roads you call home with so many people is wonderful.”

As Hanel looks to inspire the next generation of riders, including his young grandson, he acknowledged Cadel’s legacy to the region and cycling as being long-lasting.

“People are motivated and impressed by what he did,” Hanel said.

“He rides the same roads as us and you get to see him around a bit.

“It’s always great to be able to ride with him.”

The TAC People’s Ride returns during the 2024 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. You can experience the Great Ocean Road on two wheels and ride with Australia’s only Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans.

For more info and to register, click here.