The Jewel Residences Oceanway Ride event is in its first year in 2016. You may wonder how, and why, this event has come about and who is behind it. Our social media team asked the Founder, Kate Riley, a few questions in this two-part interview.
What inspired you to start the Oceanway Ride event on the Gold Coast?
The Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise is world renowned for its beaches and has a reputation of being a world class tourist destination. The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be the biggest event our city has hosted, not only will we be seen around the globe as a world class tourist destination but we will be seen as a world class sporting destination.
Having organized the Gold Coast Festival of Cycling with Robbie McEwen for three years, I wanted to create a cycling event that showcased our most precious commodity, our beautiful beaches and coastline. However, most importantly I wanted to create a cycling experience that the whole family could be a part of, no matter the age or person’s ability.
I worked in close consultation with the Queensland Police and the City of Gold Coast to ensure we designed courses that were safe, ensuring that we encapsulated our beautiful Gold Coast coastline, “The Oceanway”.
Creating this event for me was about promoting cycling, engaging the community, bringing families together, promoting healthy lifestyles and promoting our beautiful city.
I have worked in the tourism & events industry on the Gold Coast for over 20 years. It has shaped the person I am today so this is my way of giving back to an industry and community that has given me so much.
Having an event that isn’t a race opens the ride up to a larger audience. Have you found this has been a drawcard for both the more dedicated cyclists as well as the cycling enthusiast who may not have been involved in a cycling event before? It really is quite inclusive of different ages and different levels of biking enthusiasts.
The support has been overwhelming. It’s been nothing but positive from the professional cyclists, right through to the Mum’s and Dad’s who love to go bike riding with their kids. So many people have wanted to ride along our beautiful beaches but have been hesitant, so the Oceanway Ride gives them the opportunity to do so in a fun, safe and controlled environment. The courses have been designed to include all ages and different levels of experience.
You have the most recognised voice in cycling coming along as an ambassador for the event, Phil Liggett. Why did you choose Phil to join the Oceanway Ride team? Can you tell us more about the VIP Ride?
While I was in the planning stages of the Oceanway Ride, I wanted an Ambassador who was well respected and would bring something special to the Gold Coast. I remember watching the Tour De France and watching Phil on CBS commentating and thought he would be an amazing Ambassador but never thought it possible.
I was speaking to a dear friend, John Trevorrow, he himself is a cycling legend and world class cycling event “guru”, so is his son, Dean Trevorrow, – yes you both are! Dean is also flying up from Melbourne for the week to help with Oceanway Ride logistics. John is a very good mate of Phil’s, so I asked John if he thought Phil would be interested in coming to the Gold Coast to be our Ambassador. We made contact and to cut a great story short, Phil basically said, “Yes, I would love to be a part of the Oceanway Ride”.
I’m so looking forward to meeting Phil and have been privileged to chat to him over the past few months. Not only is he “The Voice of Cycling” and yes, that voice – need I say more, but his charm, his sense of humour, his passion for the sport and his excitement about being our Ambassador, epitomises a true gentleman.
The VIP ride will be an experience that will no doubt be memorable for those participating. Twenty riders will be joining Phil and a few other local sporting heroes on a private ride to Burleigh Heads Surf Lifesaving Club and return. The group will stop for breakfast overlooking Burleigh beach before returning to Surfers Paradise, where they will have time to freshen up and regroup for a private and very long boutique seafood lunch.
Jewel Residences has come on board as the official naming rights sponsor for Oceanway Ride. How does Jewel Residences fit with Oceanway Ride?
Jewel Residences has been an incredible fit for the inaugural Oceanway Ride event. I met with the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Jewel development, Lucas Wilson, on our official launch date, where we were able to identify a number of synergies between the two projects. As two very different projects both in their infancies, and with a shared view of the Gold Coast’s untapped potential, the Wanda Ridong team behind the Jewel project were fully supportive from the outset of our long-term vision for this inaugural event.
The developers have been behind us all the way, as we both embark on ambitious projects that will form a key part of the ‘new’ Gold Coast into the future, and we are both committed to supporting the local community, including another Gold Coast icon – the important Surf Life Saving groups.
Boasting some of the best beaches in the world, a hinterland where nature lovers can explore some of the most bio-diverse offerings in Australia, Pacific Ocean waters that average 21.5 degrees Celsius in winter, a sleepy, surfer culture coupled with a rocking night life, world-class theme parks and attractions, as well as high-end, luxury shopping destinations – the Gold Coast is undergoing a transformation as it becomes one of the world’s most desirable travel destinations – and the Wanda Ridong Group will play a key role in delivering that message to the world.
The Wanda Ridong Group’s Jewel Residences and the Oceanway Ride are both looking toward a bright future for the city of Gold Coast, where we can leverage ours, and other, strategic partnerships, in bringing a new level of domestic and international tourism numbers to what we believe is one of the most extraordinary cities in the world.
* Thanks to Amart Sports for the photo – and the bikes in the main pic.
Read Part Two of this interview with Kate Riley here: https://oceanwayride.com.au/part-2-interview-kate-riley-founder-oceanway-ride/