With the death of Stereosonic, so too died the tradition of the Post Stereosonic Pinger Cruise; a casually simple ride that took in the sights and sounds of Ascot Vale and Flemington following the final act of the Stereosonic music festival, all at our doorstep. This gaping hole in our heart left us desiring a worthy replacement, preferably during the day time, something that was just as fun but perhaps without the copious six pack consumption. And so we conjured up the Bootleg Classics.


It wouldn’t have been possible without the development of our weekly ride with Admiral CC – the #ACCSBCKPW aka Knifepoint Wednesday. While the original loop has enough ups and downs, twists and turns to keep you pre-occupied week in week out, when autumn hits there is a desire for something different. Variety is the spice of life, and we of all people know how well Classics Season captures the imagination of the cycling community, so we developed a series of #ACCSBCKPW’s inspired by the classics themselves. We partnered up with the Deurne Belgian Bier Haüs – sponsor of the Soup Bæs CX team, and who's famed hometown resident Jochem Danckaers is not only an elite Belgian cyclocrosser, but the owner of this raucous website. We felt that a Belgian Bier Haüs, especially one in rural Belgium would be a perfect sponsor for our bootleg classics season, seeing record Knifepoint Wednesday attendances throughout the 2017 campaign.



The good news is it was back for another year, bigger and better than ever. Each bootleg is held the Wednesday following the authentic version, allowing you to take inspiration from the late night broadcasts over the weekend. Along the way there may be prizes, but there will definitely be surprises – each Bootleg Classic a mashup of the authentic course and Soup Boys history & knowledge of the streets of their neighbourhood.





Authentic: 3rd March – Bootleg: 7th March

We kick things off with the Strade Bianche Bootleg Classic – a bunch ride that takes in some of the riverside gravé of the inner North West. Following the course of the Maribyrnong River this ride will be the flatter of the bootleg classics, reconnecting with the final portion of the original #ACCSBCKPW loop before heading back into Ascot Vale for coffee. This course will feature a lot more gravé than the 3 segments last year, all tested, and re-inspected for suitability on 23mm road tyres to ensure safety. Despite the greater wealth of gravé on the course, this will be one of the flatter editions of the #ACCSBCKPW, a detail that sets it apart from the authentic Strade Bianche – most of the elevation gains will come upon reconnecting to the original loop.





Authentic: 17th March – Bootleg: 21st March

The race from the San Siro to the Fattoria La Maccheroni. The Milan – San Remo. In its single running as a Bootleg Classic, torrential rain is all that has been experienced, in 2018 we hope for sunnier times. The course extends greatly in length, although not quite matching the near 300km of the authentic version. Again, a flatter affair to even things out with the extra km’s, a Fauxggio greets us right before the finish line in Ascot Vale. Stashing a packet of pasta is recommended for this enormous slog of a Bootleg Classic; you WILL need the extra carbs. Promise.





Authentic: 1st & 8th April – Bootleg: 11th April

A combined homage to both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix sees the #ACCSBCKPW showcase the finest cobbled laneways of inner suburban Melbourne. A worthy competitor of Fyxo’s Melburn–Roobaix, this Bootleg Classic shines above due to the fact that it is free, saving spare change for coffee at the end. In 2017 this set our record attendance for a Knifepoint Wednesday loop, and a record for number of cobbled sectors (23). While the ride won’t be finishing at Wolf + Hound (we miss you Luke) it will be taking in some fresh suburbs like Kensington, Flemington and Travancore. Expect things to be a little bit of a rollercoaster ride, with cobbled laneways that come in a mix of difficulties due to stone size, and gradient. There will be some new segments added, and the funnest, most popular ones retained for a second edition.




Authentic: 15th April – Bootleg: 18th April

Also known as the Dean Jones 1 Litre of Dutch Beer Classic, the Amstel Gold Bootleg was last year won by James Mortimer, cresting the Fauxberg in first place, and scoring himself a large Grolsch (nobody imports Amstel into Australia). In 2018 the course will be compacted geographically, but with many more short, punchy climbs and descents included to replicate the authentic version of the race. What prize will be at the end? Will there even be a prize at all? If you wanna maybe get on the beers at 7.30am on a Wednesday, attend to find out.




Authentic: 22nd April – Bootleg: 25th April

We close out the Bootleg Classics season for 2018 with one final hurrah, respects paid to Gerro and Liege–Bastogne–Liege. Falling on Anzac Day means we may be starting a little later (TBA), but this out and back affair will largely be shielded bike lanes, back streets and gutters, the turnaround point being a twisty and super tough segment that rivals most within suburban Melbourne. It’s not Flèche Wallonne, so Alejandro Valverde won’t have us on strings, but it might take age, wisdom and being doped up to the eyeballs to see the turn for home on this one.



All of our bootleg classics this year will wrap up at our regular, our own slice of Little Italy in the neighbourhood – Dolcelatte. With telekinetic powers remembering our orders even after occasional absences, Paolo is ready to rock the La Marzocco and put together some fine caffé lattes to get you through the rest of your hump day, and wind down before you hit the velodrome showers. More details will be posted as each individual date approaches, and would like to invite you to take advantage of our complimentary bag drop service should you be travelling from slightly further than Brunswick West or Ascot Vale.

adrian z