MAGIC MOMENTS: Sport Australia Hall of Fame inductee and Olympic gold medallist Ryan Bayley was a proud sportsman returning to work at Ipswich’s Yellow Jersey Bike Shop.
MAGIC MOMENTS: Sport Australia Hall of Fame inductee and Olympic gold medallist Ryan Bayley was a proud sportsman returning to work at Ipswich’s Yellow Jersey Bike Shop. Inga Williams

Gala ride with country's elite

RYAN Bayley jokes he's become a couch expert having given up top level racing and with a young family these days.

However, the achievements of one of Australia's best cyclists will live on through his latest honour.

Bayley, 33, was recently inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame at a gala function in Melbourne.

He was one of eight sporting greats to be recognised for their outstanding contribution to Australian sport.

"I hadn't really thought about it (being inducted),'' the modest Karana Downs resident said.

"So it was a massive surprise.

"But the night was cool.

"You're basically going in to a whole bunch of absolute legends of Australian sport and people that I've looked up to for years.

"Being inducted as an equal . . . it was quite a thrill.''

At the height on his international track cycling career, Bayley won gold medals in the keirin and sprint at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

He also collected four gold medals at the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games, after being keirin world champion at the 2001 titles in Antwerpen.

He was one of Australia's most successful track riders, renowned for his ability to find something special in medal duels.

The Perth-born racer moved to the Ipswich area in 2009, living at Glamorgan Vale before residing closer to where he works at Yellow Jersey Bike Shop at East Ipswich.

Bayley and his wife Kristin have two children - Aurora, aged 4, and Lincoln, 2.

Although missing the adrenalin-pumping aspect of racing, Ryan still enjoys a social ride on "anything with two wheels''.

"I don't do as much as I used to,'' he said, having a young family.

"The competition bike has gone.

"The competitive side I have no interest in. I just love it when I get on my bike and have a ride.

"I've been there. I've done it well.

"The next few years, I may start going out and doing some road racing. I might get into mountain bike racing of some sort.

"But at the moment it's looking at the kids and worrying about the kids.''

While he and Kristin enjoyed the recent gala black tie function, he hopes their children can one day share in future inductee celebrations.

"There were a lot of high profile athletes that are obviously in the Hall of Fame,'' the former track sprint supremo said.

"It was an absolute honour.''

With the 2016 Olympics in Rio approaching, Bayley expects to be a keen watcher. "I'm a huge spectator at the moment,'' he said.

"I'm loving being the couch expert.

"I love getting up at two o'clock in the morning and watching the Tour de France.

"Sometimes I get a little bit nervous when those people are racing but otherwise it's good fun.''

 

Legends who are 'normal'

WHAT do sporting legends talk about?

Sport Australia Hall of Fame inductee Ryan Bayley said it's pretty much normal things.

"They are just like the rest of us,'' Bayley said, after his latest experience being among the country's sporting elite.

"I was sitting there having a chat to Mick Doohan. I had a chat with Casey Stoner, Susie O'Neill, which is kind of cool because as a kid you watch her swim.

"I had a chat with Wally Lewis, and his wife is absolutely lovely.

"It's a whole different world but it's just like talking to anyone else, except they have done more. They are normal people who talk about the same things.

"I was talking about bikes with them and talking about different sports and all that stuff.''

Golf sensation Jason Day and netball legend Anne Sargeant were also recognised on the night, along with Priya Cooper (disabled swimming), Leisel Jones (swimming), Ricky Ponting (cricket), Norm Provan (rugby league) and Stoner (motorcycling).

Administrators Helen Brownlee (canoe/Olympics) and John O'Neill (rugby union/football) were honoured on Bayley's special night.



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