ACTIVE SENIOR: Ken Shephard in action.
ACTIVE SENIOR: Ken Shephard in action.

Runner turned biker prepares for GBomb Cycle

A BAD knee and a chance meeting on the side of the road got former marathon runner Ken Shephard on a bike - the comradery and fun keeps him there.

"I took up mountain biking about six years ago before that I was a marathon runner - running is great but the knees cop a flogging," he explained.

It was while on a walk with his wife, recovering from a knee operation that he came across mountain bike riding.

"I was walking in Bom Bom forest with my wife and a gentleman pulled up next us on his mountain bike," he said. The two got talking, the other rider was selling his bike and the rest, as they say in the classics, is history.

Ken, 60, is now the treasurer of Bom Bom Racing - the mountain biking sub-group of Grafton Cycle Club and gearing up to compete in the annual GBomb Cycle event at Bom Bom State Forest just out of Grafton City on September 8 and 9.

The GBomb is a two-day multi-race mountain biking cross country extravaganza with something for everyone. Between 250-300 competitors are expected to take on the challenging Bom Bom Courses for a six-hour race and two smaller Olympic course rides. This year the event will include the new E Bike class.

"E bikes have only come on the scene over the past two years, but I think in the next five years you will start to see more E bikes than normal Mountain Bikes," he explained.

For the uninitiated E bikes are electric bikes - designed with an integrated electric motor that can be used for propulsion.

Ken said the E Bikes gave assistance with pedaling in hillier terrain though once you reached 25 kilometre on flat they are on your own. He said the new bikes were opening the sport to more people - recovering from hip or knee injuries and even heart problems.

"It is a noncompetitive division, so they won't be competing against the other cyclist, but they have their own division," he said.

"And while there are winners in all divisions, the GBomb event is all about participation. You can just do the two Olympic courses and sit out the six hours or just do four hours of the six-hour event and call it quits. It is just about being part of it."

He said there will be a band on after Saturday night's racing and it all promised to be lots of fun.

The race format is suitable for everyone from Dirt Masters to Open to Super Masters.  For more information head to www.facebook.com/BomBomRacing.


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