Earlier this month, Cogent organised the Cogent AGF Classic — a ride in the Yarra Valley that brought together people in the Melbourne technology space to raise funds for the Amy Gillett Foundation (AGF), and collaborate on ways that tech could be used to improve road safety for cyclists.

The turnout was great with around 45 riders all up, and everyone was super-friendly (on and off the bike!). People from Cogent, CarSales, Bosch, RedBubble and MYOB to name a few were represented. We were a chatty bunch — on the flats, in the hills, at re-group points at the top of climbs, and at lunch. We were all there with common interests (bikes, software and technology), and to raise money for a common cause.

Riders ready for the Cogent Classic

Riders ready for the Cogent Classic

The multiple distance options on the day catered for all levels of ability — 30km, 60km, 70km and 100km, split into two ride groups. I went with the 100km group and I’d have to say that the riding was some of the best I’ve had in and around Melbourne. I hadn’t ridden 100+km for over 2 years so I was keen to put in some decent preparation rides to make sure I was still feeling fresh after riding 100km and climbing 2,000m. I’m also not one to hold back from a competitive sprint or climb, so the intensity of the 100km route was going to be dictated in part by the riders around me. The 60km option was a flatter route that many riders chose as an alternative to the 100km epic.

With the 100km group’s lead — Phil Anderson — we set off from Healesville at 8.30am in quite a lot of fog but that soon cleared up as we rode up Mt Wise — probably the nastiest but one of the shorter climbs of the day. From then on, we were riding in sunshine and had one of the most pleasant Kinglake ascents many of us could remember. If you’re a Melbourne cyclist you’ll know that mild temperatures, blue skies, and zero wind is a rarity on Kinglake. From there we headed to Toolangi then on to Healesville and rode the Myers Creek loop back to Healesville.

Following the ride and a quick shower, the lunch spread was just what we needed as we arrived back at the Healesville Country Club. In retrospect I probably had one helping of food too many, but the final 15km chase from Toolangi to Healesville had me famished at the time! Along with lunch, we heard about the progress AGF and Monash University is making with their Meter Box, a small device around the size of a deck of cards that can be attached to any bike and measure the passing distance of motorists.

Meter Box Demo from AGF and Monash University

Meter Box Demo from AGF and Monash University

As a Product Manager of software products, it was great to see the significant progress Monash has made in developing the Meter Box MVP in just 12 weeks. What started out as a big, heavy and clunky piece of hardware is now lightweight and practical and is set to be tested with 50 users over the next few months. There is still much to do to make the Meter Box a commercial reality, and I hope that the gathering of technology heads at the Cogent Classic will help it’s progress.

We also heard from two of Australia’s cycling greats; Phil Anderson and Lisa Jacobs. Their stories were inspiring, and there were great anecdotes to help us understand what it was like to represent at the highest level.

Now I can’t wait for next year’s Cogent Classic!

Now if my words weren’t enough, check out this video.