Domestique: a Hells 500/TCC collaboration


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The Domestique 7 Peaks Series

Here at Hells 500 and The Climbing Cyclist we’re all about the adventure of cycling. Sure, we might do the odd crazy ride from time to time, but underlying it all is a desire to ride nice roads, tackle great climbs, challenge ourselves and have fun in the process.

And what better way to achieve these goals than by tackling some of the biggest and best cycling climbs in the country with a great bunch of like-minded individuals.

Over the next few months we’ll be running a series of group rides to help cyclists of all abilities conquer the Victorian Alps and complete Tourism North East’s 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge.

On paper, the challenge is simple: conquer Victoria’s seven biggest alpine peaks before the end of March. But in reality it’s never that easy. You mightn’t be familiar with the climbs, you might be reluctant to ride on your own, or maybe you don’t think you’re strong enough to get over the climbs. That’s where we come in.

If you’re committed to completing the climbs, we’re committed to helping you. We’ll be like a personal tour guide, coach and motivational speaker, all in one. We’ve ridden all the climbs and we’ve got plenty of experience when it comes to long rides in the mountains.

We’ll let you know what to expect of the climbs, offer you climbing-related advice, encourage you to continue when you’re suffering and, ultimately, help you get through the climbs in one piece.

This is our second year running the Domestique 7 Peaks Series and last year was a lot of fun. We fully expect this year’s series to be even bigger and better.

We’ll have more information about the series in the coming weeks but until then, check out the ride dates and other details below.

Andy van Bergen & Matt de Neef

End-of-series wrap-up party

The end of the 2013/14 Domestique 7 Peaks Series is fast approaching but before it’s all over we’re getting everyone together for a wrap-up party.

The function will be held at the A Bloc bike shop/cafe/bar on Friday March 14 from 6pm. We’ll have food, drinks and, most exciting of all, an exhibition of great photos from series photographer Kirsten Simpson.

For more information about the function, download the flyer here.

So, save the date and we hope to see you there!

Ride reports

For each ride in the Domestique 7 Peaks Series we’ve put together a comprehensive ride report with photos from the super-talented Kirsten Simpson. Click on the links below to see any of the ride reports:

Domestique 7 Peaks Series sponsors

Putting together a series of bike rides for hundreds of riders is no easy task and in many ways it wouldn’t be possible without the support of some great cycling brands. This is particularly true when you’re talking about a series of free events.

Last season our sponsors really helped take the series to the next level with the giveaways and prizes they supplied throughout the summer and things are only set to improve this time around.

For those of you that took part in the series last year you’ll recognise a couple of familiar names, but you’ll also notice a couple of fresh additions to the Domestique family. Please join us in welcoming all of the Domestique 7 Peaks Series sponsors:


pngCroydon Cycleworks has been a valuable sponsor of The Climbing Cyclist for the past year and we’re delighted to announce that Mick and the team have come on board as an official sponsor of the Domestique 7 Peaks Series as well.

The guys from Croydon Cycleworks will be at the start of every ride to assist you with any last-minute mechanical issues you might have (within reason!) or to top you up with any spare tubes or other items you might have forgotten.


WSN_Logo_ATBBack by popular demand are the good folks at Winners Sports Nutrition, supplying you all with pre-ride nutritional products, including bars, gels and chews, all free of charge.

The Winners products were a real crowd favourite last year and we’re delighted Winners are on board once again. Check out the Winners Sports Nutrition website for more information about their nutrition range, and to order product for yourself. Use the “7 Peaks” discount code to 10% off your order.



Another new-comer to the Domestique 7 Peaks Series is Hammer Nutrition which will be supplying you with a range of hydration products and Endurolytes Fizz tablets before the rides, free of charge.

Check out the Hammer Nutrition website for more information about their hydration range and to order additional product for yourself. To get a 15% discount when ordering Endurolytes Fizz tablets, simply enter the code “fizz” in the coupon section of the shopping cart when checking out and press “Apply”.



Nemisis Athletic Apparel is the brand behind the super-sharp Hells 500 kit and we’re pleased to announce that they’ve come on board to support the Domestique series, supplying us with the snazzy Australian-manufactured socks you can buy to help us bring the series to life.

We’re big fans of the work Carl and the gang at Nemisis do and we’re very excited to have their support this season. If you’re looking to get some custom kit made up, check out the Nemisis website.



The Domestique 7 Peaks Series simply couldn’t go ahead without public liability insurance. We’ve teamed up with the folks at CycleCover to ensure that we have appropriate coverage.

CycleCover don’t just provide public liability insurance for events, they can supply bike and home & contents insurance, travel insurance and more. Visit the CycleCover website for more information and to get in touch with the team.


logoLast year Cycling Express came on board as a series sponsor and this year they are back, providing us with the series’ grand prize: a Bianchi Impulso valued at $1,750.

To go into the draw for the bike, all you need to do is join us during the Domestique 7 Peaks Series. Do one ride with us and you get one entry. Do two rides and you get two entries … and so on.


We’d like to say a big thank you to all of our sponsors for supporting us in bringing the Domestique 7 Peaks Series to life.

7 Peaks questions and answers

What are the 7 Peaks?

Click on the links above to see detailed information about each of the climbs.

I did the Domestique 7 Peaks Series with you last year. What’s different this time around?

As you can imagine, pulling together a series of seven large events is no small feat, requiring the coordination of local police, VicRoads, resort management at all seven peaks and so on.

This means that a lot more needs to be organised at our end, which is fine, but it’s no longer feasible to run a couple of rides for each of the seven alpine resorts. Instead, we’ll be doing one big ride for each and trying to get a massive crew along to make it a truly memorable day.

We’ll provide further details in the weeks and months to come but for all intents and purposes the series will be the same: we’ll be providing opportunities to ride some great climbs with some great people, all in a supportive and friendly environment.

MG_0616These rides are only for strong riders, right?

No. As long as you’re committed to completing the climb, we’d be delighted to have you there. It might be your first mountain climb or your hundred-and-first — either way, we’ll help you get through it.

Our rides will feature cyclists of different abilities and we’ll be catering to everyone’s needs. If you’re just looking to get through the climbs in one piece, we’ll be there to help you do just that. On the other hand, if you’ve come along to climb mountains as fast as you can, you’re more than welcome to do that too.

But what happens if I’m slower than everyone else?

Simple: if you commit to completing a climb with us, we’ll make sure you don’t get left behind.

Is this another boys-only ride?

No. But it’s true: rides like these can tend to become a bit of a blokey smashfest. Not with the Domestique 7 Peaks Series. Last year we had a great number of women attend our rides and we’re hoping the same will be true of this year’s rides. If you’re worried about being too slow, don’t: no-one gets left behind.

I’ve only done a few climbs before. Will I make it up Mountain X?

Some of the climbs are certainly tough, but if you’ve got the motivation and you’ve done a bit of training, you should be fine. If you send us an email with information about how much climbing you’ve done, we’ll let you know how we reckon you might go.

I’d like to come along. How do I enter?

To officially compete in the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge and have a chance of winning prizes, you’ll need to get a 7 Peaks passport. Go here to sign up for free. Your passport will be mailed to you.

Whenever you complete one of the 7 Peaks you’ll get a stamp for that particular climb. Once you’ve got all seven stamps, send your passport back to Tourism North East and you could win some great prizes.

To come along to our Domestique 7 Peaks Series rides you just need to fill in an entry form for each ride you intend on attending. See the ride dates for links to the individual entry forms. It’s totally free to come along.

MG_0732Can I come along for just a couple of the rides?

Sure. We understand that not everyone has the time or motivation to complete all 7 Peaks and that’s fine — please feel free to tag along on as many of the rides as you can.

What if I can’t make it on the day you’re climbing Mountain X?

We understand that not everyone will be able to make it to every single ride we’re running. And that’s totally fine. The actual 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge runs from October 18 through to March next year so you’ve got plenty of time to head out and tick off the climbs you weren’t able to do with us.

How much does it cost?

It’s totally free. You’ll need to pay for transport and accommodation yourself (for the climbs that are further afield), but it won’t cost you anything to come along on our rides.

I’ve got a question that’s not listed here. What do I do?

Send us an email and we’ll get back to you in a timely fashion.

What is Domestique?

So what is Domestique all about? As mentioned it’s about helping people to get through some challenging rides, but it’s also about bringing people together and introducing them to roads and climbs they mightn’t have experienced in the past.

There are also a couple of things we always do whenever we get people together for a Domestique ride:

We support the community

Wherever possible we’ll get community partners involved to support our rides. When that’s not possible, we’ll ensure that we spend money in the local communities we visit for our rides. This might mean a coffee stop at the local cafe or a night’s stay at a local B&B — whatever we can do to help support the communities that welcome us.

We are inclusive

Domestique isn’t about blokey smashfests and inflated egos; it’s about bringing people together and enjoying this great sport of ours in great company. We support riders of a range of abilities, from all walks of life and encourage new riders to come along to our rides. We’re proud supporters of women’s cycling and will do whatever we can to ensure that women feel welcomed and supported on our rides.

We are environmentally conscious

Wherever possible we’ll promote carpooling and other lower-carbon methods of getting to our rides. We always clean up after ourselves, never litter, and ensure that we leave no trace.

We show respect

Whenever we bring people together for a Domestique ride we ensure that other road users are shown the respect they deserve. We don’t ride more than two abreast (unless overtaking) and when we’re holding up following traffic we single-up and wave drivers through. We are courteous and respectful to all other road users and thank those who show us the same respect.

We provide amazing value

Our rides provide incredible value and leave people asking how we were able to do it.  We cover the basics well, but highlight our attention to the little things. If things aren’t free we ensure you get more than you pay for.

Help us to help you

YourCustomBottle3We love sharing our passion of the hills through our Domestique rides. There are a lot of expenses involved in running a free event — from permits and insurance through to sunscreen and first aid.

We’re currently working with VicRoads, Parks Victoria, Victoria Police, the Victorian alpine resorts and Tourism North East to bring the Domestique 7 Peaks Series to life. As with last year we are bringing these rides to you for free, but we need your help to do this.

By working with local suppliers we have been able to bring you a range of premium quality merchandise which will actually be useful for these rides — rather than ending up in the bottom draw with the scorched almonds and hankies. These items — including socks, jersey pouches, stickers and bidons — are now available through the Hells 500 shop.

There’s no obligation to buy something — the 7 Peaks rides are free and buying something isn’t in lieu of an entry fee — but if you would like to help us out, you can be confident that your hard-earned money is going to supporting, maintaining and building these rides and that we appreciate your support in being able to deliver these events for free.

Domestique Dirty Dandys ride

On October 27, 2013 a group of 30 of us headed out to explore some of the lesser-known yet amazing roads in the Dandenongs. It was a tough but rewarding day and it was great to see some new roads and new faces. Click here to see a write-up and some photos from the day.

Highlights from last year’s 7 Peaks series

We started off last year’s Domestique 7 Peaks Series with the goal of attracting 20 riders to each of the rides we organised. By the end we had nearly 150 turning up to most rides. But it wasn’t just the number of people that surprised us; the rides brought people together in a way that we didn’t really expect and we saw plenty of friendships (and a couple of romances!) start up as a result.

Here are the write-ups from each of the rides in last year’s series:

Check out this great essay from Daniel Robertson about taking on the 7 Peaks last summer.

And have a look at some of our favourite photos taken throughout last year’s series:

And here’s a video shot during the series at Mt. Baw Baw last year:

8 Replies to “Domestique: a Hells 500/TCC collaboration”

  1. “Wherever possible we’ll promote carpooling”…
    Which is fantastic, but is there somewhere we can register for interest in getting a lift?

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