First things first, introduce yourself
G’day i’m Chris Beales, Bike Manager and Bike Guide for Oxygen Cycling Hotel in Italy, I’ve been at this hotel for the last 7 years, I moved from Australia in 2008 to Italy, spent 12 months here then went to London for 3 years.
I spend most days on the bike either with guests on holiday or training, and then when it’s just me researching the area around Rimini to make sure the roads are still in good repair, what cafe’s are doing, have they changed closing days etc. And also when there are no guests riding on the weekends with a local Italian group of cyclists i’ve Become friends with over the years.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Born Geelong Australia, grew up in a place called Gnotuk on a 3.500 acre farm.
Where is your current home?
Current “home” that i spend most of the year is Viserbella, 4km north of Rimini on the Adriatic coast of Italy. My house home is near Surbiton London UK.
How did you get into riding a bike?
I rode as a kid to our farm front gate to catch the bus, our driveway was 3km long.
What is your local climb? The climb you do the most out of any other.
The climb i do and like around here is called Cioca, but the locals we call it Piccolo Stelvio.
What is it like?
It’s called Piccolo Stelvio due to the 18 hairpin bends, it’s 2.8km in length, 180m alt gain, ave 6.1% steepest section just over 17%
What kind of efforts is the climb suited to?
Basically the efforts are up to you.
Is the Strava KOM for the climb ever in your thoughts, or do you strictly focus on the goals of the current effort?
Neither i just ride it depending on how i’m feeling, i think my best time without trying is under 10min, normally i’m cruising up doing somewhere around 10 to 15min?
Any other climbs in the area you prefer, or is this climb your favourite?
We have a multitude of climbs in our region which all have different characteristics, i like climbing as a general rule anyway.
What about favourite climb overall? Any reason?
My all time favourite would be Passo Pordoi in the Italian Dolomiti, i liked it from the first ride, but even more when i won a Italian Cronoscalata event on the climb.
What is the hardest climb you’ve summited by bike?
The hardest climb i have done would be the Tourmalet, more so the day i did it it was 30plus degrees, would love to go back and ride it in more conducive conditions.
What kind of riding do you do in general? Is it more for training or pleasure?
My riding is based around my job as a Tour Guide and Bike Manager for the Hotel i work for in Italy, i tend to always ride by how i am feeling and when i need to push i do, but no race training etc.
Touchy subject, but something that has happened to every bike rider at some point, getting dropped. When did you last get dropped in a race or ride? What was going on when you got dropped?
Can’t remember the last time i got dropped in a race if at all, i know a couple of years ago in an LVRC race my rear mech decided to explode when i was leading by 3 mins with one lap to go and ended up walking and DNF!
i guess it goes without saying that you didn’t get back to the group you were with?
Gruelling turbo session or climbing the worst climb you can imagine in wind and rain?
I’m from Australia i don’t Turbo! Worst climbs in the worst conditions always tend to be in the UK!
On to more current matters. Which team/club are you riding for this year, and what do you aim to achieve in 2019?
When i ride back home in the UK i ride for Pearson CC, my aims are the same every year, don’t fall off, enjoy cycling.
What are your interests away from the bike?
Relaxing, different sports.
Quick fire questions
Tell me your…
Go to summer road bike? My Summer bike is a Prestigio Ultralight, custom built for me by a San Marino company called Prestigio, the frame was built in Imola.
One climb to ride said dream bike up?
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Favourite cycling book?
I don’'t really read!
Favourite cycling movie?
The last movie i watched was Cars, 2006! Not a movie buff.
Favourite pro rider(if any)?
Why? None are allowed to really race for themselves any more, it’s all to controlled.
Favourite piece of cycle clothing you’ve owned? I don’t really have a favourite piece, i love riding my bike but it’s also a job, so i dont get overly excited about kit, it needs to be comfortable and practical.
Chris on instagram
Oxygen Cycling Hotel