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Soma custom bike builds

Abby's Soma Wolverine build

What drew you to build this bike up, with the parts you’ve used?

I’ve always wanted a Soma bike and after getting the fork originally for a different build I decided to also build the frame up. Originally, I build it up with the group set from my old commuter bike, a 1x GRX Di2 setup. But soon after using the bike a bunch more, especially loaded up as a bike packing setup I decided to go down the 12 speed MTB setup. The wheels were custom built as I wanted to have my own set of custom wheels. I also have a 27.5” wheelset for it, but sadly due to stock shortages no cassette for it.


Was there a particular intention for this custom build?

I wanted to build a super versatile bike that could be used for both commuting and bikepacking.


Having built it up, is there anything further you wish to change or experiment with?

For now, I’m loving it and it’s feeling super perfect, the only thing I’m going to add is a basket to the front rack


Any particular rides you’d like to do with the bike, or have already done?

I’m planning out a multi-day bikepacking trip out west of Gisborne ending at my partner Eve’s Mum’s house. I’ve also just had way too much fun riding this thing through mud

Soma Wolverine V4 Type-A

Soma Unicrown 15x100mm

DT Swiss G540 (700c) or DT Swiss EX471 (27.5”)

DT Swiss 350

Vittoria Terreno Dry 700x38c or Vittoria Mezcal 27.5×2.25”/2.1”

Surly Moloko

Cane Creek 40

Shimano XT M8100 (175mm) w/ 36T chainring

Shimano PD-M9120

Shimano XT M8100 10-51

Shimano SLX M7100

Shimano M8100 Brakes

Shimano XT M8100

Brook B17 Honey

Thomson Elite Offset 27.2mm

Thomson X4 90mm

Frame bags
Ortlieb Framebag RC

Rear bags
Ortlieb Seatpack Medium

Accessory bags
Ortlieb Gravel panniers, Ortlieb Fork Pack Plus Large,

Other accessories
Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt, Tubus Logo Evo Rear rack, Soma Lucas 3 Front Rack

Evie's Soma Grand Randonneur build

What drew you to build this bike up, with the parts you’ve used?

Before this my only bike was a classic Peugeot road bike, and I wanted a more versatile bike which could handle gravel trails and the road, and carry a decent load to be able to commute. 


Abby suggested the Soma Grand Randonneur, which I liked, and we chose the rest of the parts to complement that frame.


Was there a particular intention for this custom build?

I really wanted a do-everything bike. A big emphasis was just comfort – I’ve never really owned a bike that fit properly before so it’s a very nice change.


Having built it up, is there anything further you wish to change or experiment with?

The combination of drop bars and front rack means finding an appropriate basket or bag is going to be an interesting challenge. 


Next year I’m going to be studying Product Design so if the opportunity comes up I’m sure the bike will end up as a bit of a test-bed for parts of my own design.


Any particular rides you’d like to do with the bike, or have already done?

I rode to and from work at Green Street! Getting home was a challenge – almost entirely uphill up Mount Alexander Road, but I managed it. 


I’m also looking forward to doing the Maribyrnong River Trail on an appropriate bike. 

Soma Grand Randonneur

Mach1 Maxx 650bx25

Novatec 6 bolt Front, Bear Pawl 6 Bolt Rear

Tires Panaracer Gravelking SK 650x48b

Deda Piega 400mm

Tange Falcon 1” Threaded Headset

Shimano Deore M6100 (170mm) w/ 32T chainring

Ryfe Ghostrider

Shimano Deore M5100 11-51t

Shimano Deore M5100

Shimano M8100 Calipers

Shimano GRX 810 Brifters

Specialized Power Comp

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JP’s Vietnam bikepacking adventure

Setting out in late August, JP, our Geelong store manager and devout adventure cyclist, ditched the morning chills of Melbourne and set forth, bike bag in tow to Vietnam. With a loose plan in mind, JP is currently exploring the south coast of Vietnam aboard his trusty Norco Search XR steel framed flat-bar bike. 

Traversing gaps between fishing villages and local resorts, the beaches, and countryside between Vung Tao and Nha Trang make for some spectacular scenery. Check out some of the pics of his adventure on our blog. You can also follow his journey’s progress on Strava, where he’s racking up the k’s each day.

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Mark’s prep for the Hunt 1000

So, starting off, could you tell us a bit about how the Hunt 1000 compares or differs from other bikepacking rides you’ve done?

The Hunt will be by far the longest and toughest ride I have done. I’m allowing 12 days to complete it with a rest day or two included in that time.  Previously the longest backpacking trip I have done is four days. I am really excited about being able to switch off from life and work for two weeks and just have riding along as my only objective!

In addition to the overall distance the amount of climbing is huge, up around 30,000m usually, which is somewhat intimidating and a bit of an unknown. I’ll have to see how that goes – I like climbing normally so it should be okay, but wow it will be some slow going!

The most appealing difference to the other stuff I have done would be the remoteness of some of the sections, particularly the really remote wilderness sections and Jagungal wilderness in particular. I’m really stoked to be able to ride through those places.

Can you tell us a little bit about your prep for this event?

My primary strategy has shifted from get as fit as possible ahead of time to ride myself fit over the first 3-4 days – it’s a bold strategy and we will see how it plays out!!

My prep has been quite stop start and interrupted by life and work unfortunately. I have been trying to ride at least an hour most days, and for the past month 90% of all my riding has been on the bike I will take loaded up so I can habituate to the way it feels and moves and the strain on my joints and muscles.

I have put in some over-nighters with some big days of distance and elevation wherever I can while juggling other commitments, but it has been difficult.

Due to my lack of preparation I have modified my plans from 10 days to 12 days just to have some time up my sleeve. I figure I’m on holidays so I should take advantage of that and enjoy myself as much as possible.

The most appealing difference to the other stuff I have done would be the remoteness of some of the sections, particularly the really remote wilderness sections and Jagungal wilderness in particular. I’m really stoked to be able to ride through those places.

What are your go-to’s for food along the way? What will you pack with you to get you through?

Lucky for me I have always enjoyed bakery treats and takeaway food! My plan is to cram my food bag full when I can and see where I get too with that.  I plan to carry a number of dehydrated meals as back up, but will eat real food as much as possible.

I have a pretty serious caffeine situation, and I have found specialty instant coffee that I can tolerate and will be bringing a supply of that too!

Riding Highcountry

Have you made any changes to your bike set up for this particular event?

My setup has been pretty consistent for the past year or so. I ride a Kona Unit X which I absolutely love. It’s by far the most comfortable bike I have ever owned. Highlights include a Tumbleweed Persuader bar, a custom frame bag from Rockiest, and my absolute favourite – a cut down Wald 139 basket on a front rack that I got from Blue Lug – the shipping was a killer but man I love that thing! Not having to worry about cramming my tent and sleeping back into a tiny stuff sack is a dream and it allows me to pack the most important thing on a trip  – extra space!

The one change I made specifically for this event was to change my tyres. I usually run bigger 2.6 but went done to a more easily rolling and efficient 2.3 tyre. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it has actually made a significant difference to my rolling speed.

We wish Mark a safe, fun, and trouble-free event. Good luck, Mark!

To see the live tracking of the riders progress, click here

To read more about the event, head to the Hunt1000 website

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Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality #WorldMentalHealthDay

There are a lot of great initiatives going on. Just as well – it has been pretty tough going lately. Everything Good Cycles does to make mental health a reality for all is actively supported by you, our members. We do not provide a ‘mental health service’. There are other important and accessible initiatives to make a real difference to mental health and well-being, like:

  1. Promoting cycling
  2. Fostering participation
  3. Creating jobs 

Cycling is so effective for well-being that riding is one of the ‘alternative prescriptions’ doctors around the world recommend for mental health. If you want to know more about just how much you are helping yourself by cycling, read more from our friends at Bicycling Australia. 

Obviously, it’s a lot easier to benefit from cycling if you have access to a bike. That’s one of the reasons Good Cycles has donated 60 bikes in the last 12 months to help people participate in the social and economic life of our communities. It might include exercise, visiting friends, or getting to work. It doesn’t matter whether you ride for the mental health benefits; they happen anyway.

It takes a bit of coordination and planning to create jobs, and as supporters of Good Cycles, it’s one of the things our members enable. The research evidence is ‘strongly supportive of a causal relationship’ between unemployment and mental ill-health. Our jobs are specifically targeted for those who are under-represented in the workforce so it is also one of the initiatives that improves mental health equity. Thanks again, members. 


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6 cycling resources to keep you rolling

1. Melbourne Bike Grid Map (Google Maps)

See all of the continuous paths available around Melbourne and Geelong with Google maps in Cycling mode. The Melbourne Bike Grip Map shows you a visualisation of all of the bike paths available to you so you can max out your 5km bubble.

2. Ride With GPS

One of our favourite tools for planning rides whether short or long. Ride with GPS offers plenty of different map overlays to help you plan your route while also showing other people’s routes that you can take inspiration from.

3. arevo Journey Planner app

Another tool we use to help us plan journeys is arevo. The app uses colour to represent different types of roads or cycling paths, handy when you are looking to use off-road paths only.

Bonus points for it being made here in Victoria!

4. Park Tool’s Repair Help

Park Tool makes workshop grade bike tools, but they also have a handy website, Repair Help, to help you fix your own bike. Park Tool’s Repair Help covers everything from fixing a flat to building a wheel. Useful when you can’t make it into our shop for a service!

5. Sheldon Brown

The late Sheldon Brown was a delightfully eccentric American bicycle mechanic (amongst many other things) and he created this website to help everyone from bike mechanic nerds to everyday cyclists trying to demystify tyre sizing. 

It’s a great resource when fixing up older bikes to check for part sizes and compatibility. The website is very low tech (it’s 20+ years old) but that means it loads fast!

6. Desire Lines

Desire Lines is an Australian website showcasing events, bike touring and bikepacking ride reports/essays and much more. Community driven, it always has great photos and is great for dreaming of future trips!

These are some of our favourite cycling resources and we trust they’ll become some of yours too. If you need some bits or pieces to keep the adventures going head to our online shop, we deliver Australia-wide and 100% of your purchase goes towards our mission.


Bike maintenance at home

Still want more? We’re hosting an online bike maintenance session to keep you pedaling through lockdown!

Date: Wednesday 22 September, 2022

Time: 5pm – 6pm

Cost: $25 / FREE for Good Cycles members (check your inbox for the promo code)