Why this executive enjoys the times he feels most scared

Miles per week?
I try to do 100-150 km with the majority on dirt, when the weather permits. The most I have ridden in a week was on a gravel bikepacking trip from Dubbo to Broken Hill. We covered 1000 km in 10 days and barely saw any bitumen.

Hills or the flat?
Hills, particularly when you’ve taken a shuttle to the top. I’ve ridden two of the most epic mountain bike descents on the planet – the Downieville Classic Downhill in Northern California, and the Whole Enchilada Trail in Moab, Utah. The Whole Enchilada has some crazy exposure to canyon edges on the way down.

Love most about cycling?
I love the equipment, the places it has taken me and that it keeps me relatively fit. It is also the best thinking time I get. Some of my best ideas come on the commute to and from work.

Vaughan says he is looking forward to his next overseas trip – in Tasmania.

Dislike about cycling?
I really dislike the “us versus them” relationship that cars and cyclists have developed in Australia. Everyone is trying to get somewhere; it would be great if we could coexist more effectively.

Most like to go on a long ride with?
My regular gravel riding crew is the best. We are of similar ability, and we get each other through the peaks and troughs of a long trip.

Will you ever be too old to ride?
My son is only seven, so I hope to be able to stay fit enough for long enough to go on a bikepacking or mountain bike trip with him on that dream Yeti e-bike.

Favorite refuel station?
An almond croissant and coffee at either Berkelo in Brookvale or SeaChange Café in Dee Why is hard to beat.

Favorite piece of cycling gear?
My Gorewear Gore-Tex jacket has saved me on the longer, more remote trips.

Favorite ride?
Derby in Tasmania. It has so much variety, from sweeping smooth single tracks to insane double black trails.

Dream bike holiday?
I have never ridden in Colorado in the US. Both the Yeti and Moots factories are there, and they have more than 1000 km of incredible trail on the doorstep. I’ve heard the altitude makes riding really tough, so I’d need to go for a few weeks to acclimatize.

How do you feel about overseas cycling adventures?
We’re planning our next trip to Tasmania, if that counts. On the positive side, the travel restrictions have shown what incredible riding we have in Australia.

If you take long rides at the weekend, how does your partner feel about it?
Riding is incredible therapy, and my wife is very understanding of the long rides and trips I take. I did have a period of injury – the classic cyclist trifecta of fractures in the collarbone, wrist and arm – which tested her patience.

Ever felt scared on a bike?
I feel very vulnerable on a road bike. Close passes by traffic are not fun. Being scared goes with the territory on the mountain bike. A guide once sent a friend and me down a double black trail in Queenstown, New Zealand. I have no idea how we made it down in one piece – it just shows you what commitment and ignorance can do.

lifeandleisure@afr.com

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