From middle-aged men in lycra to daredevil mountain bikers: there's no doubt cycling is a big deal in the Tropical North.
Cairns was recently named as the fittest city in Australia according to research featured in the latest Progress In Australian Regions report, and cycling plays a big role in the accolade as one of our most popular ways to exercise.
In this list by the TropicNow team, we've gathered up 7 cool things happening in the local cycling scene right now.
1. Watch an exclusive screening of awesome documentary MAMIL
PhyxMe Physiotherapy owners Megan and Chris Thomas knew what they had to do when they saw a trailer for new documentary MAMIL: they had to bring the film to Cairns.
MAMIL explores the culture of 'middle aged men in lycra', those white-collar professionals who transform into "Lycra-clad road warriors on expensive carbon framed bikes travelling in packs and competing with other males for dominance in the group".
The film is an independent production, and was not earmarked for screening in Cairns until Megan and Chris decided to garner enough support to make it happen here.
Megan in particular is a keen cyclist, having used the sport for rehabilitation after suffering a knee injury at a young age. Megan was able to continue playing competitive football, athletics and cross country thanks to the leg strength riding provided.
"This film is a wonderful depiction of the active lifestyle that PhyxMe promotes and it perfectly reflects our cycling motto of 'get Phyx’d and stay calm'”, Megan said.
The film screens this Wednesday at Event Cinemas Cairns Central and tickets must be pre-paid online. You can find more details and grab a ticket for the screening here.
2. Get pumped about Reef 2 Reef
Get pumped: Australia's newest MTB stage is happening here in August.
Reef to Reef takes place over four days from August 9, with the 195km event starting at Smithfield before heading inland across a network of trails through the Tablelands and back down to the coast at Port Douglas.
According to the organisers: "Reef to Reef is a four day event but don’t let that put you off. This is not a slog-fest or the death defying rock gardens of the 90’s. We’ve scouted the funnest trails we could find, with loads of variety each day and achievable distances (30km min, 60km max). The perfect balance of enjoyable time on the bike and enjoyable time sipping beer."
3. Take part in the Tour of the Tropics event
This event has been re-branded (it was known as the Tour of the Tablelands) and reinvigorated for 2018, providing yet another feather in our collective cycling cap.
The event from August 3 to 5 will feature more than just great cycling - it will also encompass a food, wine and music festival.
Organisers say the event is about "immersing yourself in the tropics and experiencing the wonderful fresh produce grown in Far North Queensland through the many food and beverage pop up food stall offerings available at the event".
Find out more by clicking here.
4. The Wangetti Trail project is progressing
Now this is one project we are very excited to see - eventually - come to fruition.
Spearheaded by bike trail building legend Glen Jacobs, the 76km Wangetti Trail will be a world-class mountain bike and walking track stretching from Port Douglas to Palm Cove.
Glen recently told TropicNow the project is slowly progressing, with Douglas and Cairns councils working behind the scenes to ramp the project up.
The key missing ingredient is, of course, a large amount of funding. An estimated $20 million is required to turn the vision into reality. The concept has been kicking around for at least three years, so let's hope there's some tangible progress in 2018.
5. Upgrade of Cairns Velodrome
One benefit - and probably the only benefit - of an arduous election campaign is the funding that flows from political parties to woo voters.
Last November's state election provided such a sweetener for the Cairns Cycling Club, which received a $150,000 pledge from the Labor Party to upgrade the Smith Park velodrome after years of lobbying.
Technically, the funding was part of a departmental program rather than an election promise. But given it was announced in the heat of the 2017 campaign by Labor MP Curtis Pitt and Labor candidate Michael Healy - who were joined by cycling club stalwart and Mr Healy's campaign manager Richie Bates, the political intention was clear.
It didn't matter to the cycling club - the funding was well received regardless of politics and helped pay for the replacement of the track surface and drainage upgrades.
As Cr Bates said at the time: “The current track is near the end of its life and this funding will ensure we’re able to upgrade the track, which is vital for its continued use.”
6. COUCH Cancer Ride
Many cyclists use their passion for two wheels to raise money for charitable causes, and 10 riders from Cairns are gearing up for a monumental mission to do just that for COUCH.
Starting at Buderim on May 18, they will ride more than 1900 kms over 9 days to raise funds for the building of the COUCH Wellness Centre, a place of rest and recovery for local cancer patients.
The trip is self-funded so 100% of the money raised will go direct to COUCH. Ride co-founder and cancer survivor Michael Bowmaker explains: “The ride is a huge challenge physically, however it’s nothing compared to the challenge faced by people going through cancer treatment. All of us will be affected in some way by cancer during our lifetime, either directly or indirectly. By donating to the riders, you’ll not only be helping other locals - but perhaps one of your own family members.”
To follow their journey and donate, click here.
7. Tour de Cure comes to Cairns
The COUCH Cancer Ride isn't the only big charity event on two wheels coming up in the next few months - one of Australia's largest events of its kind winds its way to TNQ this April and May.
The Tour de Cure charity brings its Signature Tour to the Far North with riders from all over Australia expected to take part in the 1060 kms road trip from Mackay to Cape Tribulation, starting on April 27.
Since it was founded in 2007, Tour de Cure has raised millions of dollars and funded over 260 projects aimed at finding a cure for cancer.
For more details about the Signature Tour, click here.