There is much more to South Australia’s festival of cycling than watching some of the world’s best riders whoosh past as they battle for top honours. Each year the lineup of events and fun outside the race grows and grows, so here is a guide to the not-to-be-missed stuff that doesn’t involve Lycra.
1. City of Adelaide Tour Village
Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga is again the heart of the 10-day 2023 Santos Festival of Cycling program. The largest-ever Tour Village – which is free to enter – will feature bars with a daily knock off hour to get city workers out of the office. There is also a family zone and seating, ample shade and live music daily. Stay around for lunch or dinner with some of Adelaide’s leading food vendors, including Sprout, Comida, Fine and Fettle and Fiesta Tajine. And, of course, you can watch the stages live-streamed on the Santos Main Stage big screen throughout the day. 13-21 January, daily from 11am (4pm on 13/1), City of Adelaide Tour Village.
2. Symphonie de la Bicyclette
Enjoy a good belly laugh. This funny, heartfelt one-man show is about cycling and obsession, envy and ambition, winning and losing, and finding the inner grit to dominate the mountain stages of life. 17-21 January, Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, purchase tickets.
3. Knock-off Hour at the Tour Village
Spend an evening (or several) celebrity spotting. Stake your spot in the Garden Bar or the Hahn Beer Garden, grab a cold drink and settle in. With tunes to set the mood, it is also the perfect spot for after-work drinks. 13-21 January, from 4pm to late, City of Adelaide Tour Village.
4. BMX Freestyle Demonstrations
Grab some food and a drink and watch the epic tricks by some of Australia’s top BMX, Nitro Circus and X Games athletes including Josh Matthews, Jaie Toohey and Kyle Baldock. The 20-minute sets kick off the first weekend of the festival and then return for the final days. Each intense set will keep you on the edge of your seat. Check out times here, City of Adelaide Tour Village.
5. Live music and DJ performances.
Spend summer nights under the stars, dancing to the beat. The free program is chockful of Australian talent, starting with Vanessa Amorosi (and a huge lineup) on Friday and continuing each night with everyone from Tilly Tjala Thomas to Mums Favourite to Morgen + Tink and many more. City of Adelaide Tour Village, find more info and times here.
6. Get out of town to enjoy local hospitality.
Regional towns are putting on shows to welcome spectators to local businesses and ensure they have great views of the loops and finishes. Starting with Stage 2 of the Women’s Tour finishing at the “Uraidla High Road” on Monday 16 January and then continuing with the “Barossa Loop de Loop” to highlight all that makes the famous wine region great during Stage 1 of the Men’s tour on 18 January. The show then rolls on to “Gear up at Campelltown” for Stage 3 on 20 January and then be sure to be amongst the history-making moment of the “Lofty Finish” to crown the tour winner atop Mount Lofty on 22 January.
7. Walk, cycle or electric scooter the “efex Prologue” circuit.
Need some gentle exercise to ease you into the new year? This 5.5km loop starts at the footbridge by the Adelaide Festival Centre and journeys along the Torrens, detouring into tree-lined lower North Adelaide before joining up to follow the river once more. Allow an hour and a bit.
8. Take a selfie with the giant inflatable bike.
This THINK! Road Safety initiative is a reminder to motorists to watch out for cyclists on the road and for cyclists to ride safely. It’s also a smashing backdrop for a squad or family selfie on a day out.
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