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A'qto Blog

  • Melbourne Cyclists talk Bikes, Bunches and Business

    Last night saw the successful launch of the Melbourne Business Network (MBN) Cycling Bunch at the Metropolitan Hotel in Melbourne.

    With a French inspired, TDF celebratory theme, the 40 plus guests were treated to a great night of conversation, food, wine and cycling while hearing from Cr Cathy Oke about the importance of cycling to the City of Melbourne’s Bicycle Plan and vision for the future as a true ''cycling city''.

    Amongst the guests were cyclists from a range of corporate organisations, professional services firms, universities and small businesses from across the CBD based MBN membership.

    ''A’qto is thrilled to be driving this great new initiative for Melbourne cyclists and businesses in the CBD, in partnership with the MBN’’ said Marketing Director, Nancy De Losa.

    ‘’Last night’s conversations brought out some fantastic opportunities and ideas for the MBN Cycling Bunch’s program of activities, and most importantly showed how businesses, individuals and small groups share the purpose of building networks and relationships around the platform of cycling’'.

    The first Cycling Bunch breakfast will kick off with a relationship building ‘’Bunch Meet & Greet’’ on Thursday 31st July, followed by fortnightly ‘’BRB’s'' - Bunch Rides and Breakfasts to be held every second Wednesday.

    There will also be a of number special events held over the coming year for the Bunch which will include skills development/training, riding & racing techniques/coaching and more.

    If you’d like to become involved in the MBN Cycling Bunch, contact us.

  • Enjoy Our Favourite Aussie Rides

    Enjoy Our Favourite Aussie Rides
    Congratulations to the 10 winners of our Favourite Aussies Rides competition who all contributed some fantastic stories of their favourite rides.  We'll be sharing these with you over the coming weeks as we take you on a road trip across Australia, with some great rides through National Parks, up Mountains and along Coastal Roads.....not to mention the rides that bring out the joy of sharing cycling with the people closest to us.Here's the first in our series - a poetic experience from the "Chairman" - sharing the love of riding up Mt Donna Buang.

    _______________________________________________________________________

    My Favourite Ride is "The Great Lady".  Its in Victoria.  Up Donna Buang.

    You start at the Launching Place Hotel and ride up the Warburton Highway towards her.  From the outset you can see her looming.  She is beautiful.  A seductive temptress beckoning you on up the highway.  As you get closer you can see her full pulchritude and you start to gain a sense of the way she dominates everything.  Then you finally turn off the Warby Highway and start to engage with her.  No matter how well things are going she will discipline you.  She is no push over.  And when things go badly she will make you pay a price for her affection.  It can be cold.  It can be hot. It can be romantic.  It can be passionless and make you wonder why you are there.  But once you have been with Donna Buang she will become your muse.  You will want to go back again and again to experience her in all her moods. And nothing will compare.

  • 1237km's into the Outback....done and dusted.

    1237km's over 7 days into Outback Queensland.  The challenge was set.

    Raising the awareness of men's mental health and funds for the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service), the third RideWest Charity Bike Ride finished last Friday in Longreach in the highest of spirits.

    22 riders from diverse backgrounds and riding calibres took on the huge challenge from Brisbane to Longreach, drawing on awesome teamwork and mental toughness to reach the finish line together.

    As the major event partner of RideWest, provider of both custom kits for the bunch and proud advocates of the huge role cycling can play in supporting men's mental health, we thought we'd share some of our awesome experience with you in photos. Enjoy.

  • Ace 250 – Mt Hotham Dawn Patrol

    January 26, Bright VIC, 4am.
    It is black. It is cold.
    Mt Hotham, Falls Creek, Tawonga Gap.
    Anticipation has hit unbelievable heights as the ACE-250 riders await the send-off.
    The world of natural beauty and physical pain are about to intersect on a grand scale.

    It doesn’t matter what order they come in, the 4am start taking in two horse category climbs, a category 1 climb and numerous other categorised climbs, is the pick of the high country rides - according to this author.

    GO!!
    We roll-out en-mass, swallowed up by the darkness as we leave Bright.
    250km and 4500m of vertical ascending are to be covered before we return back to this amazing town located deep in the High Country.

    There are no street lights when you leave Bright. Suburbia is a world away. You can’t see the mountains above you or the forests around you as we snake our way along the dark windy road to Harrietville, the foot of Mt Hotham, in the total darkness of night.

    The 30km climb to the pinnacle of Mt Hotham at this hour is unbelievable. The memory of the climb at this hour will be with me – and everyone else who rode it, forever. The red lights of the bikes further up the mountain dotting the path of the road in the darkness ahead, the white lights of riders further down the mountain marking out the windy road back down to Harrietville, the sound of the bell ringer in the darkness at the Meg shouting “Got no wind and got no rain, so here it is, bring on the pain!!” as I stand on the peddles and make my way up this insanely steep section begging for mercy.

    As the climb continues, the first rays of light start to break through the sky and light up the majestic mountain ranges we are riding through. The trees start to take shape, and the deep valleys off the edges of the road can now be seen clearly. Still climbing, we reach elevations where trees start to thin out to the point where they just simply do not exist.
    The road makes its way up to the ridgeline of the range tracing its way across the top of the mountain always climbing to the pinnacle that is Mt Hotham.

    Panoramic views of the Alpine range beheld from this ridgeline are beyond breathtaking, and at this hour, they were truly eternal memories. The valleys, swallowed up in a sea of mist as far as the eye can see with only the tallest peaks poking through like islands in an ocean of white. Some riders stop to take photos, others slow down to take it in, but before we knew it, the road descended into the mist momentarily before we climbed our way out for another 8km through to the peak of Mt Hotham.

    The higher we climbed, the brighter the sky became as bands of purple, red, orange and yellow appeared on the horizon marking the arrival of the glorious morning as we crested Mt Hotham, smiled at the photographer, took a swig of the water bottle and thanked God the first major climb was over .... only 200km to go ....

    Contributed by Joseph Farah

  • a’qto is very proud to be the major event partner of RideWest 2014

     

    Ride West is a boutique charity bike ride that aims to raise funds and help raise the awareness for men’s mental health in Australia.

    Since 2009, when founder Les Hancock was touched by the alarming figures associated with male suicide in outback Queensland, Ride West and its associated corporate sponsors, riders and event partners, has raised over 350K for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) in Queensland.

    With its 3rd event set to take place in May 2014 over 1200 long, hard km’s and 7 days from Brisbane to Longreach, Ride West is aiming to take its total funds raised to over 500K in 2014.

    a’qto is very proud to be the major event partner for this great cause, alongside major sponsors NAB, Lindsay Transport Australia, M&K Lawyers, Williams Hall Chadwick Chartered Accountants and FAST Group.

    “Using a challenging bike ride with 30 riders toughing it out over 1200km’s in Outback QLD as a conduit for spreading the message of the importance of men speaking up, asking for help and talking to mates early enough when faced with health issues, is a great fit for us as a brand and as cyclists…..cycling provides the perfect opportunity for guys to talk up and connect with mates’’, says Damian Hancock, founder a’qto.

    For more information, go to www.ridewest.com.au

    Join us for our RideWest Melbourne Business Lunch – Wednesday, 26th March 2014

    We are pleased to have launched our major fundraising event this week – the RideWest Melbourne Business Lunch - to be held on Wednesday 26th March 2014.

    To be hosted at foundation sponsor NAB’s new function venue at 700 Bourke St, Melbourne, this lunch fundraiser is expected to attract between 200-250 people from across Melbourne’s business network.

    Book your table or seat here now.

    RideWest Melbourne Business Lunch Invitation

  • Top Cycling Tip #10

  • Top Cycling Tip #9

  • Top Cycling Tip #8

  • Top Cycling Tip #7

  • Top Cycling Tips #6

  • Cycling Tips#5

  • Top Cycling Tip #4

  • Single Speed Competition Announced

    Congratulations goes to Cameron Mackenzie who is the  lucky winner of our Single Speed competition and takes delivery of a new machine to add to his collection.

  • Top Cycling Tip#2

  • Top Cycling Tip #1

  • Give us your top ride tip and win a 2 T-shirt bundle.

    We are wanting your help to compile a list of awesome ride tips - be it about maintenance, nutrition, group riding, ride etiquette (my favourite) or the little things that have worked for you along the way.

    Given there is no correct answer, we will randomly draw out two people who will both win a 2 t-shirt pack and musette.

    To enter, simply click below and send us an email with your top tip.

    Winners to be drawn on the 11th of April 2013 at 5pm.

    Click here to enter

  • bikeTREES

    We are excited to announce our partnership with bikeTREES.

    bikeTREES is a self funded, bike industry based tree planting and reforestation program which aims to improve the world we live in by planting trees as a carbon offset.
    Whilst we understand cycling is a very ‘green’ activity, there is always more that can be achieved.  By partnering with bikeTREES, a’qto has recognised our responsility to the environment and taken the initial steps to make a difference.

    Find out how your business can also makes these changes by logging on to www.biketrees.com.au

  • Win a Stay in Victoria's Alpine Region

    In conjuction with our new partners in the Alpine Valleys, Boynton's Feathertop winery are giving you the chance to win a prize package of 3 nights’ accommodation in the Feathertop Apartment, valued at $975.00 (valid Monday – Thursday only).

    To enter, simply purchase any item from the a’qto High Country Collection or purchase any Boyntons Feathertop wine online by December 20, 2012, and you automatically go in the draw to WIN three nights in the Boynton’s Feathertop Apartment, situated just outside Bright, in Victoria’s alpine valley region.

    Buy a'qto High Country Collection

    Buy Boyntons Feathertop Wine.

    When buying wine on the Boynton’s website please enter “HIGH COUNTRY” in the coupon code field to ensure your entry is registered.

    About the Feathertop Apartment: Stay in amongst the action of the winery in the beautiful king apartment that overlooks the majestic Mt Buffalo.  Experience true high country indulgence and hospitality with a tab set up in cellar door for your convenience allowing you to spend your days lazing around on the shady terrace, dining, drinking and soaking up the stunning views after a testing challenge up one of the many alpine rides.

  • Mark Renshaw - Year in review.

    Hi Everyone,

    The 2012 season has now finished and as we are already looking to 2013. I thought it would be good to do a small wrap up on the last half of the year.

    Before the Tour de France I launched the Renshaw Racing brand with A'qto, Its been fun and exciting to work with Damian at A'qto to design and work on the brand that represents me. I have some ideas for the future and hopefully we can get them off the ground very soon before the 2013 season starts down in South Australia for the Tour Down Under.

    If we wind back to the Tour de France in July where we witnessed some great racing and also some very crazy stages. Personally the Tour was a little short for me. After having at least four crashes in two days my body found its limits trying to recover from the racing and crashes. After the first week's crashes and racing I managed to race for an other 5 stages and into the high mountains. On a short and very hard stage up some of the biggest climbs of the Tour I did the one thing that all riders in the Tour hate to do, I climbed off my bike, mentally broken and physically wrecked.

    I was lucky to have my wife, family and good friends in Europe to take my mind off the remaining stages of the Tour. It's hard watching the show roll on without being part of it.

    There was a lot of racing from July until the end of the season but one of my best rides was in my final race of he year, Paris Brussels. Paris Brussels is a short classic that normally ends in a hard  slightly uphill sprint after 218kms. I was just denied victory by Tom Bonnen who rolled past me in the final 20metres to take the victory. He rode a very smart race and was just stronger then me on the day.

    The most promising thing was to end the season with a good result and for the team to work for me riding as a team together. The lead out was one of the best we had all season and shows some promise for next years racing.

    After my last race I flew out the next day to Australia where my wife was waiting for me before giving birth to our son. It came down to the wire but I made it back just in time, a day later and I would have missed one of the most beautiful things in life, call it luck or fate but I was very grateful to make it back in time to meet Will as he entered the world.

    As I was a new parent, I was very lucky to be in the off-season. Rabobank was great giving me some time off at the end of the season to make sure I didn't miss the birth.

    The off season seemed to slip by very fast with a new son to look after and it was a steep learning curve, I was very lucky to spend the first 4 weeks of his life there just about all day and night. I managed to catch up with all our friends and family in Australia and started to work on some core strength and Mountain Biking. Its great to tie in some fun times as you ease back into training full on.

    As 2013 is just about here I'm starting to get back to a good level on the bike, I'm now starting to do some efforts  and some long hours on the road. I am training my sprinting and climbing to get ready for my first race of the season, Tour Down Under.

    From TDU I will head to Tour of Qatar and onto Europe where I will hopefully improve on all my results in 2012. It's been a hard transition from lead out rider to sprinter but I believe I have a good shot at winning races and playing a big part in Rabobank's future. (Even if we are a little unsure on what that is for the moment??)

    To see the complete RENSHAW RACING range click here.

     

  • Welcome to our new home.

    Welcome to the new home of a'qto cycling.

    We are extremely happy to release to you today our new site that has a comprehensive range of cycle inspired fashion for off the bike as well as premium on the bike apparel.  With our upgraded loyalty program we reward you for supporting us.

    The had greater functionality and allows us to give you more variance and options in bundling together the products you like. Basically the more you buy, the more discount you get. We have the following rules, buy any 2 items and receive 5% off. Buy any 3 items and receive 10% off. Buy any 4 Items or more and receive 15% off. There are also other pre-determined bundles that we think you will like.

    Regards

    Team a'qto

  • Launch of New Website

  • GREAT RIDES - KURRINGAI NATIONAL PARK

    Riding the Northern Beaches of Sydney

    One of the nicest rides in Sydney has to be from Manly heading into Kurringai National Park, out to west head and then home via Akuna Bay. It's amazing to be able to have such quiet roads and beautiful scenery at your door step. The descent down McCarrs Creek Road, back to ChurchPoint is one of my absolute favourites.

  • OUR FAVOURITE CAFE OF THE WEEK - GINGER BAKER - BRIGHT

    Ginger Baker - Bright
    Located on the Great Alpine Road in Bright, this cafe is owned and run by a couple of ex Melbournites and they are serving up great breakfasts that go beyond the standard fare as well as beautifully made Di Bella coffee. Tim's wife takes care of all the baked good in the glass cabinet and they are truly delicious. We were there on a wet winters day but the beer garden out the back overlooks the river and will be a top place for a beer post the Alpine Classic.

    127 Great Alpine Road, Bright VIC.

  • JOIN OUR GREEN JERSEY TIPPING COMPETITION AND WIN A $250 VOUCHER

    We have a new tipping competition for this year's Tour De France and with Mark Renshaw on board, it's all about the green jersey.

    HOW TO ENTER

    1. Select 7 riders and place them in order of how they will finish in the Green Jersey points competition
    2. Receive the following points for having the correct rider in the correct position.
      1st rider - receive 35 points
      2nd rider, 30 points
      3rd rider, 25 points
      4th rider selected, receive 20 points
      5th rider - receive 15 points
      6th rider, 10 points
      7th rider......receive 5 points

    NB: If there is more than one entry that shares the highest score, a random draw will be held to choose the ultimate winner.  There’s no second prizes.  It’s all about the winner!

    ENTER NOW

    • Select 7 riders only.
    • Send your selected riders and their finishing positionsto  damian@aqtocycling.com by 3pm on Saturday 30th June 2012.
    • All entries received after 3pm will not be accepted.
    • A random draw will be held if there is more than one entry that shares the highest score.
    • Only one entry per person.
    • A leaders board will be sent to all participants at the end of each sprint stage so you can see how you’re faring.  Keep an eye out for spot prizes with the leaders board emails.

    THE PRIZE
    $250.00 a'qto Gift Voucher

  • OUR FAVOURITE CAFE FOR THE WEEK - DI BELLA

    Our Favourite cafe this week is Di Bella, on Leveson Road, North Melbourne. The chilled vibe, warehouse space and beautiful food make for a great spot for a lazy brunch but it's the outstanding coffee from their commercial roasting operation that really takes this cafe a step above.

  • 7 THINGS YOU NOW KNOW ABOUT MARK RENSHAW

    Here's a sneak peek from me about my life off the bike and a little bit about my lead up to the tour.

    1. What does your dream finish at the Tour de France 2012 look like?
    I am dreaming to finish the tour with a win in the final stage to Paris, Winning on the Champs Elysees is a dream for every sprinter!

    2. Who do you see as your main competition?
    The main sprinters in this year's Tour are Cavendish, Greiple, Kittel, Farrar and Petacchi.

    3. What’s the toughest thing about the Tour?
    Racing the best riders from the very best teams. There is never an easy day and you must stay focused every minute of the day to make sure you get your recovery.

    4. What’s your favourite pre-race meal?
    I like to eat 3 to 4 hours before the race, My pre-race meal is always eggs, ham and then a bowl of oats.

    5. What are your passions off the bike?
    I love to follow other sports, Moto GP and F1 are my favorite. I am enjoying my new adventure with a'qto clothing and working on this while not focusing on training and racing.

    6. Where do you mostly spend your downtime?
    I enjoy spending time at home with my wife when not racing. I spend so much time traveling while racing that's its nice to spend time relaxing with Kristina. I enjoy the nice things like lunch and dinner out with friends and a good TV show or movie at home.

    7. What are your weekend essentials?
    In Australia, the most enjoyable weekends are spending Saturday morning at the cafe with a nice coffee and breakfast. I miss the weekend papers when I am overseas so you could say the weekend paper is an essential back in Oz!

  • OUR CAFE FAVOURITE FOR THE WEEK

    Living in Melbourne, it’s not hard to come up with a list of favourite cafe’s.....particularly when you’re a cyclist and you live by the bay.
    Our favourite this week is Truman, with great coffee (particularly their piccolo lattes) and tasty breakfasts, their smoked salmon, salsa verde and poached egg number is always a hit.
    Located on Kerferd Road, Albert Park it's perfect for breakfast after a Beach Road ride.

  • WELCOME TO A'QTO2

    Since 2007, we've expanded from having a small t-shirt range to now having a growing number of lifestyle collections to help cyclists look and feel great on and off the bike.

    Our goal is the same now as when we started - to help more cyclists wear their passion with quality-designed, easy-wearing clothing and accessories.

    From that first small range in 2007, we've helped over 2500 cyclists across 10 countries look and feel good with our online range, and also in custom-designed gear from some of Australia's leading cycling events, charity rides and clubs.

    It's fantastic to see passionate cyclists wearing a'qto gear and we're extremely grateful for the support of our customers over the past 5 years who have helped make the a'qto journey possible.

    We are now excited to be taking our next step as a business with the launch of our new website, our loyalty program and the expansion of our collections - particularly with Australian pro-cyclist Mark Renshaw and the launch of the Renshaw Racing range.

    From fairly humble beginnings in Melbourne 5 years ago by artist, founder and passionate cyclist Damian Hancock, we've been able to take our unique cycle-inspired Australian designs to cyclists across Australia and around the world - with t-shirts, polo's, sweaters, hoodies, caps, gloves, socks, jerseys and bib shorts to name a few. We've now just added artwork through our dh Collection (due to the many requests we've had from clients for our unique designs to be available as posters, canvases and framed prints) and soon we'll add a new 'At Work' collection so our cycle-obsessed clients can take their passion to work!

    We look forward to continually developing our cycle-inspired collections for you and to jumping on the ride with Mark Renshaw as we get ready for this year's all exciting Tour de France.

    Thanks for choosing a'qto,

    Damian Hancock and the a'qto team.

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