HUMANS OF THE HIGHLANDS // Peter Dowse
Meet The Fixed Wheel’s world-class bike mechanic and Manager of successful mountain biking team, Trek Shimano Australia
Peter Dowse is pretty low key about his achievements. You’d never know he’s been to seven World Championships and the Commonwealth Games as the Australian mountain biking team’s mechanic. And you also probably wouldn’t know he founded and is at the helm of Trek Shimano Australia, an awesome mountain biking team of elite athletes.
Unless you asked……which we did!
We caught up with Pete Dowse at The Fixed Wheel in Bowral, and had a chat about how his career has evolved and what he loves about living and working here in the Highlands.
How did it all start for you? Was cycling always something you did?
I got into mountain biking when I was recovering from football injuries and knee operations to help strengthen up my knees. I enjoyed mountain biking more than riding on the road, it just mentally stimulated me more.
I went to Whistler in Canada and spent a year there initially to ski, but I came back a mountain biker.
I started my own mountain bike hire business in Canberra back in the year 2000 and ran that until I moved to the Highlands three years ago. I used to compete, but it was more at a social level.
Tell us about Trek Shimano Australia.
I started Trek Shimano Australia about ten years ago. When I had my business in Canberra I started doing some work with a mountain biking club. Through that I met Ben and Rebecca Henderson (now McConnell) who have now both represented Australia internationally. I asked them if they wanted help with managing all that comes with what happens off the trails for an elite athlete – sponsorship, race support etc. From there, it snowballed and Trek Shimano Australia now has ten elite riders and four age group (masters) riders on the team.
How did you end up as a bike mechanic for a number of Australia mountain biking teams?
I’ve spent ten years in bike shops, as well as doing my own mechanics from home and after getting more involved in mountain biking teams and clubs, I started applying for Australian team jobs. I was the mechanic for the Australian Mountain Biking Team at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. And have been to seven World Championships in a management role but lately more so as a mechanic.
I was in the running to be part of the Olympic team this year but because of coronavirus, as you probably know, the Olympics have been postponed. I’m hoping to make it there next year instead.
Why is the mechanical side of cycling and being proactive about repair and maintenance so important?
It prolongs the life of your bike and all your bits and pieces and saves you money in the long run. It’s also a safety thing. The right tools and expertise is what you need to service your bike properly. If you don’t have that, that’s when guys like me come in. Chefs can cook. Accountants are good with numbers. I just happen to be good with bikes and tools!
What do you like about working at The Fixed Wheel and living in the Highlands?
I work with a great bunch of people. That definitely makes it a lot easier to come to work every day. And it’s the people I work for too. I’ve always said that even though I have employers, I also work for the community.
And the Highlands community, with their enthusiastic cyclists, is a pretty cool one to be part of.
What’s your favourite track?
I’ll say Welby, just because I know it like the back of my hand.
What are some positives about cycling?
At the moment, we all need to take a bit of time out (or are being forced to), so cycling is a great way to keep or get fit while you’re following social distancing rules. You can go out for a solo cycle, or with another person without being in close proximity.
At The Fixed Wheel, we’ve had a lot of families come in and buy new bikes for the parents and / or the kids because now many families are all home together, they are choosing cycling as a way to get some exercise and get out of the house together once a day or a few times a week. They haven’t had the time to do that before, so that’s been a positive from all this going on in the world right now.
Tell us about The Fixed Wheel’s Pick Up & Drop Off Bike Service.
If you need your bike serviced, but you don’t want to bring it in, on Wednesdays we offer a pick-up & drop-off service (within a 10 kilometre radius from The Fixed Wheel). We come and pick up your bike, we sanitise it for our own health, do the work on it, then deliver it back home to you. Just call us on 0499 913 797 and we'll get it done. It’s easy for customers to pay over the phone or online, and you have a bike ready to go for your next ride!
The Fixed Wheel is a full-service bicycle shop in Bowral and is under new ownership. The guys and girls in-store are all cyclists themselves with quite a collection of championships, race wins and real experience under their belts. They definitely know their stuff! If you're keen to start cycling, you want to try a different type of cycling or perhaps you're ready to go next level, start at The Fixed Wheel.