Select Page
Rhode of the Rove

Rhode of the Rove

Meet Rhode, a remarkable man who has turned his passion for cycling into an annual community event with many enthusiastic  participants. This is the tale of how Rhode’s love of long rides developed into “the rove”.  Be inspired as you read Rhode’s story – great things can be achieved when you pursue simple passions that make you happy.


Tell us about the Rove…… how did it all come about?

I started riding with Bike Force Joondalup some 6 years ago and met a group of like-minded folk, one of which was John. He is always one to push himself and that rubs off on others, we started doing longer and longer rides, my nice and easy 20km became 50, then 100 etc. Initially these were called Rhode’s Roves.

John had, from memory, done a few rides to and from Bunbury over the years and he came up with the concept. The Co2 (Committee of Two and a play on the “compressed air canisters” carried by cyclists) was established – John and myself. We embarked together on a one way ride to Bunbury and such was the birth of the Bunbury Rove – a 200km ride. That was December 2009 and I think we had 13 cyclists.


Since then both the name has been shorted to “the rove” (lower case) and the rides lengthened to a maximum of 500km over two days and in 2014 the number of riders was close to 70. This year will be the 6th year. Other than the Bunbury ride we have a One Day Classic from Bullsbrook to Toodyay and return.

We aim to have another two events in 2015 – one of which will be a rove team in the Delirium 24 hour event in March.

The Rove 2012

What’s the philosophy behind it?

The tagline speaks for itself “re-define your limits”. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and surprise yourself with what can be achieved.

What’s your background?

Just hit the big half-century, an immigrant from South Africa. Married to Leslie with a 17 year old son, Michael. A banker / finance guy who found he enjoyed cycling and the company of great people dressed in lycra.

Rhode, Leslie and Michael

What’s your secret to ‘making time’ for cycling and organizing the Rove?

John does a heck of a lot of work on it and designed the rove kit we now use each year, and those fine coffee mugs (see above – stock still available), as well as the website and runs the books. I deal with the front end – registrations, payments, nodding my approval of John’s great work. It does take a bit of time but we have help from an expanded Co2 to Co3 or 4 and each year we learn from our mistakes and improve the process.


What does a typical day look like for you? 

Work / eat / sleep / repeat. I normally wake up at 5.30. If I am riding I will get up and leave home at around 6.15 and 6.45 for either a BFJ ride or a commute to work in town. I normally get home no later than 6.30Pm, have dinner with the family, watch TV, and walk the dog. All nice, quiet mid-life activities.

You took a leap of faith…  Did you ever wonder if you were doing the right thing?

I was concerned last year with the number of riders, many of whom I did not know from other clubs. It does make the logistics harder and more time consuming, and to be honest I thought it was time for a break from being an organizer. But after the event (the leg down in terrible weather) I saw the sense of achievement, the satisfaction, smiles and camaraderie, and the appreciation / gratitude of the riders. It was a fantastic feeling for both John and myself. It makes the time and effort all worth it and I will continue to be a member of the Co2 for a while yet.

The Journey

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

The weather has always been an issue, one that we cannot control but have learnt to work with. The first ride was too late in the year and therefore too hot. The second was earlier but still too windy. We soon hit on early September as the best time and have stuck with that. The rain is the rain. Last year was the first wet ride and that made it even more interesting and challenging.

Logistically, getting drivers for support vehicles, with the patience to drive at 30kph, is the main issue every year. But it always works itself out at the end of the day. My wife, Leslie, has done it every year and a few others (Bruce C) have done a good number of them. Without them the event cannot take place.We have also secured the support of a number of financial sponsors, most of whom ride with us, and this reduces the cost to the riders. We are most definitely a Not for Profit organisation.

We have also secured the support of a number of financial sponsors, most of whom ride with us, and this reduces the cost to the riders. We are most definitely a Not for Profit organisation.

The next step, starting this year, is to link a suitable and worthwhile charity to the therove allowing others the benefit and not only the participants. Our goal is to become a substantial donor over the next few years.



What are the tough parts of cycling long distances and setting up the Rove?

The distance comes with training and being prepared with nutrition, diet, support etc. The most difficult part is the mind – convincing yourself that you can ride that far (assuming you want to ride that far). A tube of good quality butt cream is a great help.

Can you give us some examples of when you’ve had to dig deep and be brave?

When I asked Les to marry me? Making the decision to leave South Africa for the sake of my wife and son, and leave my parents and sister behind. Both, by the Grace of God, have turned out to be the best decisions I have made.

Who is your role model and why?

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

I have never modelled myself on others. Your talents and goals are yours, and mine are mine. I admire the courage of a soldier who, at the sound of a whistle, went over the top to near certain death. Margaret Thatcher – who took no crap from anybody. Bill Clinton – just because he is Bill Clinton. Of course Mandela – a spirit of forgiveness and a very, very wise man who understood what impact he had and what could have happened if he took a different stance when released.

How has pursuing cycling and the Rove changed your life?

I am fitter and healthier than I have been since the mid 80’s. I have made great mates and it gets me up and out in the morning. The rove is going to grow into something bigger and bigger and the desired goal is to support a charity or two, so that both the participants and those in trouble (of whatever sort) benefit.

I have learnt:

  • Patience, patience and patience.
  • That if you spend enough time at something you can become pretty good at it. I will never be first across the line but that’s not important. Sharing the experience with your nearest and dearest is what counts.

Wisdom for others:

What’s the secret of your success?

By what measure am I successful? I have a loving family, good friends, a healthy mind and body. All of which comes without chasing the mighty $$. Success is in the eye of the beholder. And it’s easy – just do what your mother told you – play nice and be kind to others.

What’s next for you? What does the future hold?

Work & have fun, retire & have more fun, cycle as long as possible.

What advice would you give anyone who dreams of pursuing cycling?

Borrow a mates bike, ride it for a few months. If you enjoy cycling, buy the best bike you can afford. And more importantly the best nicks possible – your butt will thank you. Some guys can be brilliant riders seemingly overnight. For the masses it takes time and kilometers. And just enjoy it, whether you do 10km or 100km on a Saturday morning. But do push yourself at least a tiny bit – you will be surprised by what you can do on two wheels.

What advice would you give anyone who isn’t doing what they love?

Move on. Get out of the rut. Find something that adds value to your life and change whatever you can without hurting others.

How do you think each of us can live the fullest life possible?  

Don’t be selfish, think of others and do for others. One day we leave everything behind. Make sure the legacy and love you leave is what people remember – not the house or car.


Rhode and Leslie at the Lost City


Leslie and Michael













Favourite Quote:

Les-Miserables-207x300And remember

The truth that once was spoken,

To love another person

Is to see the face of God.

Final Lyrics from Les Miserables

Happiest places:

  • On the bike (when the wind is not blowing a gale) and the coffee shop after a ride;
  • Dinner table (not a restaurant) with good mates, good food & good wine;
  • Anywhere I can have a white Christmas.

Biggest passion in life:

To try and be a good father to Michael, and of course cycling.

Most inspiring film you’ve seen:

Two will always stick in my mind – Gandhi and Amadeus.

Most inspiring book you’ve read:

Who Moved the Stone – changed my life many years ago. 

Best light-bulb moment:

That getting married to Les would be a very good thing to do.

Anything is possible… what’s your wish?

Without wanting to sound like a Miss Universe contestant, the eradication of poverty and the suffering of children – anywhere and everywhere.

the rove 2014

Quinoa, Amaranth, Chia and Kale

Quinoa, Amaranth, Chia and Kale

Does that sound like a foreign language to you? Before I knew what they were, they could just as well have been words that meant “How Now Brown Cow!” Now days, trying to eat healthy requires a whole new learning curve. I feel like I’ve gone right back to grade school and need to learn a whole new language.

I’m not that old and everything I was taught about healthy eating has been turned on its head. The food pyramid is totally upside down! Eggs were “bad” for you because they caused high cholesterol, now they are good for you! Butter was an absolute no, no and now it’s the Bees Knees (in moderation of course). Not forgetting bread and cereals that were devoured for breakfast and lunch. Now bread is considered evil and cereal and sugar, well you just shouldn’t go there!

The latest I’ve read is that fermented vegetables like Sauer Kraut are really good for you. That’s beside all the other “super foods” that have suddenly appeared on the menu. Foods like quinoa, amaranth, chai seeds and kale. Did you know:

  • Quinoa and Amaranth are ancient grains that were staple foods of the South American Aztecs.
  • Chia seeds were also an Aztec staple food.
  • Kale is a leafy green relative of the humble cabbage that hails from the middle-ages. It was one the most commonly eaten green vegetables in Europe.

Forgive my ignorance but when I first heard of these foods I had no idea how to pronounce them, let alone what they looked like, how to cook them or what they tasted like. Only recently have I started to eat them and learn how to prepare them. In pursuit of good health and longevity, I am keen to keep an open mind and learn as much as I can this year about healthy eating. That brings me to the science of it all.

How much can we really trust the science? After all, wasn’t it science that gave us the food pyramid? (Mmmm…. perhaps it was actually economics). I don’t really know and it leaves me feeling rather confused. What was once touted as good for us by science is often denounced later as bad for us. Take Radium for example, when it was first discovered it was considered to be the elixir of health and was included in daily diets through items like chocolate, water and toothpaste. Turns out it was highly toxic and carcinogenic. Now I’m not trying to make a political statement or play devil’s advocate. All I’m asking is what do we believe and what can we trust?

Perhaps we should let history be our guide rather than relying on science. I look at old photos of my Grandmother and Great Grandmother and none of them are obese. They look well and it makes me wonder what they ate. I remember my Grandmother saying one of her favourite things was lard on a slice of bread. Can you imagine? I almost want to gag at the thought of eating fat on bread. I mean really, it just sounds so unhealthy, but apparently in moderation lard isn’t bad for you .

Now we have foods like quinoa, amaranth, chia and kale that have been around for 4000 years making a come back on our plates. The trend is leaning more and more towards growing our own vegetables, eating organic produce and eating food the way nature creates it. We appear to be heading back towards eating like the Aztecs and our grandparents. Perhaps science and history are working together to pave the way for us. I think it’s back to basics and a good dose of common sense for me.

  • What about you?
  • What did your Grandparents eat?

Do you have any recipe suggestions for these super foods?