Smiles for miles: a weekend away with Ella and Soigneur

by Anne-Marije Rook and Simone Giuliani


There are endless reasons why we ride. We all have our own reasons yet the love for the bike unifies us and brings us together.

This weekend 11 women from all walks of life came together on our very first Ella Soigneur Feminin riding weekend.  Starting from luxury accommodations in the woodsy Gladysdale, Victoria, the weekend included stunning 100-kilometre rides on low-traffic, gravel and paved roads; massages; good food and drink and, best of all, great company.

Driving to Gladysdale last Friday, we were giddy with anticipation. As journalists, we spend the majority of our time behind computer screens, sending stories into the unknown. Getting to actually meet some of the people on the receiving end of those stories, and share some bike Ks with them is incredibly rewarding and delivers some refreshing insights.

From mothers enjoying a weekend to themselves and being catered to for a change, to a 26-year-old (literally) on her way to a new career and new life on the other side of the country; to a retired professional cyclist – the attendance was diverse yet so easily bound by the shared love cycling.

For some, the weekend was about breaking the routine and riding new roads with new mates. For others, it was about the challenge of long rides, climbs and gravel. But for all, it was an escape. An escape from the daily grind, pressures and challenges which were all silenced by quiet roads, crunching gravel, laughter and one’s own breathing.

It almost felt as if the lush green ferns and towering trees lining the roads were hiding us from the rest of the world.

Whether it was the sense of accomplishment from riding further and higher than ever before or the satisfaction of having beaten the rest of the bunch with that cheeky sprint move up the hill –there were smiles on everyone’s faces. And that made us smile, too.

There is nothing more rewarding than sharing in the joy of riding bikes in beautiful places, and to be reminded of why we do what we do.

Enjoy some nice shots from Jeff Curtes below. And we hope to see you on our next trip!

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