GOLD Coast Olympic cyclist Sara Carrigan has cranked up her own business and is championing others on the sport that brought her Olympic gold at Athens in 2004.
The 29-year-old retired after another shot at a medal in Beijing and has since burst off the line with the Sara Carrigan Cycling School, where more than 100 cyclists are training and learning safer riding techniques.
“I call myself the bunch police,” says the Australian, World Cup and Commonwealth Games champion of her safety training regime out on the roads.
“It’s been going really well, it’s amazing really and I get out a kick out of seeing people improve.”
The business has three components – personal coaching, cycling skills and a Go For Gold program that provides a safe and social atmosphere with friendly cycling challenges, health seminars and the weekly incentive of a ‘gold medal’.
Overheads are low in the service-based business with no shop frontage. Like many of sport’s retired elite, Carrigan is successfully trading on her name and has expansion plans down the track to diversify and expand to include a women’s cycling course.
“Right now I’m getting a buzz out of helping people, the passion is the real motivator and the business will build as a result,” she says.
What started as a small cog less than 12 months ago is rapidly gaining momentum with cycling enthusiasts of varied ages and ability.
“Initially, starting this business helped me to ease out of the competitive environment but still maintain my enthusiasm and passion for the sport by passing on my knowledge to others,” says Carrigan.
“Having lived and ridden in Europe for so long where everyone cycles, when I returned to Australia I really wanted to see more Australians cycle however I learnt pretty quickly through a number of personal experiences that some cyclists here did not respect the road and there is a great need for education.
“I want to contribute to a safer cycling fraternity and encourage more people to learn to cycle safely – it’s a very healthy pursuit and it has minimal impact on the environment.”
With 14 years experience and level one/UCIA coach accreditation, Carrigan shares the early morning rides with Healthy Life Clinic owner Marco Renai who puts the cyclists through brisk workouts following their rides. Her partner Steven Sing assists with the skills program.
“Respect for the road and motorists, respect for yourself and your fitness and respect for the environment we live in – is what we are all about,” says Carrigan.
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