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Interview with Paul & Dieter from Trail Towns TV

Interview with Paul & Dieter from Trail Towns TV

In this interview, we asked Paul and Dieter from the upcoming Trail Towns TV show what inspires them to cycle, hear their best bike advice, and revel in some of their exciting tales from the road.
About the Show
Paul van der Ploeg is a world champion mountain bike rider, and Dieter Kahsnitz is a self-professed lover of dad jokes and passionate cyclist. Trail Towns' first season consists of 8 episodes scheduled to premiere on SBS in June 2021, with Paul and Dieter exploring the great rail trails across Australia and New Zealand.
Paul and Dieter from Trail Towns TV
What’s your favourite cycling route in NSW? Australia? World?
PAUL: I've had a few good races in NSW and the standout for me has been Ourimbah State Forest. It has some proper trails in there and I had a great day riding with mates. Australia? I love riding in the Victorian High Country! My favourite place is probably Falls Creek because of the landscape and trails, just so unique and beautiful. World? We have some of the best trails in the world! But if I had to say an international location I'd say Queenstown in New Zealand or Pemberton in Canada! Both world leading trails for Mountain bike riding.
DIETER: NSW...The state really is a massive mystery to me. I've ridden in Thredbo, Snowy Valleys, and a little around Merimbula / Tathra. But so much to explore now. I actually just love NSW because it's a big state, with just so many things to discover, and super cool people. Victorian's can often bypass it for Qld. We shouldn't. NSW is a gem. My favourite riding is in the high country of Victoria, mainly because I part own a place near Bright, so I ride there heaps. But there are just so many cool places to ride in Australia - almost impossible to name a favourite.  Overseas? Sedona, Arizona, in the southwest of America. Just absolutely mind blowing MTBing.
How did your passion for cycling ignite?
PAUL: I grew up in Mount Beauty, and I'm the baby of 5 boys, all of my family rode mountain bikes in summer and skied in winter. I was destined to be addicted to riding from a very young age.
DIETER: I finished ski instructing in 1989...needed a new challenge and MTB's hit the market... I bought one ...hooked for life.

What’s the ultimate cycling trip on your bucket list?
PAUL:  I'd love to do a South Island New Zealand cycling tour with my girlfriend Chloe. She loves riding and if we could take a month to explore the beauty of the island that would be my ultimate bike holiday. [Sounds like you need to check out our sister travel company in NZ, Adventure South! - ed.]
DIETER: I go to the US every year riding, so I reckon Europe - maybe Switzerland, Austria, and do the alps in Summer - ride all the parks, eat the food, look at the views. Perfect. [For European cycling trips, UTracks has you covered, and in the US, our new brand North American Active has just launched - ed.]
Paul & Dieter from Trail Towns TV
Possibly a controversial question: do you have a favourite café stop?
PAUL: I live in Collingwood, Melbourne these days, so I'm spoiled for choice in the café world. I do love country bakeries, actually. Gum Tree Pies in Yackandandah is a must visit in Northeast Victoria!  
DIETER: Not really. I love discovering new places, and part of the adventure of riding is discovering not just trails, but cafés, views, locals, places to, not really.
What’s your best/funniest memory from a cycling trip?
PAUL: How can I pick one?!?! The time I flew into South Africa solo to meet my team and they were flying in 24hrs later, the time I broke my leg in Rotorua and got a business class trip home, the time my mate accidentally stole my passport in Portugal, or what about when we crossed a barbed wire fence on the border of Vietnam to get into China! There are too many to choose from.
DIETER: I did a cycling trip in the late '90s to Bright with a group of mates. We stayed in one room, all 6 of us, no room to even walk by beds in the room, had to crawl over them and riding MTB's on the trails was not allowed back then, so we ran the gauntlet for the week, got chased by the locals for attempting to pick up some local girls, we actually ran out as fast as we could out of the town in the middle of the night being chased by a group of very tough and very angry locals along the river! We watched "The Omen" in the room and all got nightmares. We were all about 30 years old too. One mate stayed in a tent because he thought there were too many of us in the room. His tent got hit by lightning (he wasn't in it) and then got washed away in the subsequent flood. That's all I can remember.
Paul & Dieter from Trail Towns TV
What would you say to a first time cyclist?
PAUL: Get out and explore new places, ride new trails and immerse yourself in nature.  
DIETER: Ride for fun, include as many friends as possible, do it as often as possible, and always include your partner.
What’s your best piece of cycling advice?
PAUL: Always ride within your ability. Build up slowly... Everyone will be having a coffee at the same café at the end of the day. Just enjoy the ride.
DIETER:  Don't crash.

Keep an eye out for Trail Towns TV show which will be screening on SBS soon! In the meantime, stay up to date with all things Trails Town:

Keen to check out a rail trail for yourself? Take a look at our exciting rail trail tours and our comprehensive range of Australian self-guided cycling tours.
Sydney to Bowral Charity Cycle Success!

Sydney to Bowral Charity Cycle Success!

At Australian Cycle Tours, we love that feel-good rush of endorphins you get from being active and exploring. There's possibly only one emotion that tops it - and that's when you are active exploring while raising money for a charitable cause. As part of the World Expeditions Travel Group, we are proud of our achievements in helping underprivileged communities around the globe (view our projects here, including our latest mission to raise funds for travel industry workers in Nepal and Peru).
We heard about an excellent charity ride that recently took place from the Sydney Muslim Cyclist's Club. In April, they cycled 120 km from Western Sydney to Bowral, and in the process they raised over $27,000 for needy people living below the poverty line in Lebanon. Along the route they rode through gorgeous historical towns such as Picton and Mittagong, as well as climbing the challenging Razorback mountain and Catherine Hills.
Sydney to Bowral charity ride
We asked Malek from the club to share the group's experiences of this feat and cycling through the Southern Highlands.
What did the cyclists find were the highlights of the Southern Highlands?
The surrounding nature and less density compared to the city. The whole area feels more open and the town centre of Bowral was very welcoming.
Was the 120 km distance a new personal record for the SMC club cyclists? Did everyone manage with the hills? How far does your club usually ride?
The distance was not a record, a few years ago SMC cycled to Canberra over 2 days to raise funds for Syrian refugees with distances of 150 km and 125 km on each respective day. The hills did provide a few causalities, but the group worked together to get through. Usual club rides range from 50-80KM on the weekends.
Are many cyclists keen to return to the Southern Highlands for more cycling or for a holiday?
There are many SMC cyclists that have completed the Bowral Classic many times, and we have some members that travel to Bowral for a Sunday cycle too.
Does your cycling club have a favourite café/s?
We enjoy beach side cafés as the group enjoys soaking in fresh air and sun. Unfortunately, the ride to Bowral was on Easter Sunday so many cafés were closed on the way to Bowral.
Does your club have a favourite cycling route in Sydney?
This would have to be Lakemba to Cronulla/Kurnell and Cape Solander as it provides a nice flowing ride and ensures all members can attend. Also, there are great cafés along the way!!
What’s your ultimate cycling route in Australia and around the world?
Among our members there is a range of ultimate cycling routes – some love the Royal National Park, while others would love to cycle around Europe and tackle some Alps.
What does a food pack contain?
The food packs contain pantry essentials and enough food to feed a poverty-stricken family in Lebanon for a month. These items include but not limited to; rice, flour, eggs, sugar, oil, beans, grains, pasta, milk, jam and more.
Can people still donate?
We met our donation target, but there is still a need for more donations to help ease the burden of poverty. We partnered up with Sadaqcare for this charity ride and they have been fantastic. Donations can still be made and would be appreciated by all. If you'd like to donate, click here.
Sydney to Bowral charity ride Sydney to Bowral charity ride Sydney to Bowral charity ride
The SMC has been involved in raising money for Bankstown Hospital as well. Do you have any other fundraising plans for the future?
Yes, the Bankstown Hospital charity ride was a great initiative and was close to home, so our members were able to engage with some of the health workers that would benefit after the ride. We have also raised money for Australian farmers going through drought in 2018.
We are always planning fundraising rides and are currently planning a Spring fundraising ride. There is a high interest from newer members to complete another multi-day ride to Canberra. This is still in the early planning phase but will most likely be to raise funds for less fortunate countries/people.

How can people join your club? What can new members expect?
Based in the South Western suburbs of Punchbowl, the Sydney Muslim Cyclists Club was officially launched in January 2015 as a social club for like minded people with a passion for cycling. The club is open for all people regardless of ethnicity, colour or creed.
Joining the club is via an online registration via Registrations are currently closed and will be open in July. We have weekend rides, Saturday and Sundays as well as mid-week evening training rides. All this is shared via a Whatsapp group and with or 80+ members there is no shortage of advice or members to ride with.

Do you have any advice for a first time cyclist?
Don’t push beyond your limit or try to match more seasoned riders – this will only demotivate you. Build your fitness in a controlled environment such as a cycling track (M7 cycle path is great for this or Sydney Olympic Park) before hitting the road. Choose a bike that is suited to your physique.
> If you'd like to explore the Southern Highlands, take a look our new self-guided bike tour.
Are you part of a cycling club that has a story to share? We'd love to hear it! Send an email to us and we'll be in touch.
>> And don't forget to subscribe to our free cycling community. Join up here!
Watch: Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail

Watch: Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail Video

There is a lack of rail trails in NSW, especially when you consider neighbouring Victoria, home to the Great Victorian Rail Trail and the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail, among others. That's why it brings us great pleasure to promote the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail in the Riverina region of NSW. It has been a job 18 years in the making, powered by hundreds of tireless volunteers. The trail is currently 21km long, which is half the length of a marathon (makes sense they're holding the inaugural Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail Marathon on 9 October 2021!).