Paul Wylie with a new bike he will take with him into retirement.Former pro cyclist Paul Wylie is keen to get back on the bike.
From the end of this month, he will have more time to do that.
Mr Wylie has run Cyclerama in Burnett Street, Ashburton, since 2003, but the business has been sold and Mr Wylie will have more time to do what he loves – ride bikes.
He started the business after coming back from Australia where he rode professionally for two years – “I didn’t get rich” – and working as a rep servicing cycle stores for 12 years.
Mr Wylie took up cycling when he was at Ashburton College – on a roadster bike – and rode with the Tinwald Cycling Club when he was 17.
From there, the list of achievements grew: he was the youngest, 19, win the Around the Mountain event in Taranaki; won the Auckland three-hour madison and was second twice; the fastest in a Timaru to Christchurch event; and the second-fastest in the 300km Melbourne to Yarrawonga event.
“In those days (brother) Neil and I got a start in the Sun Tour in 1981,” Mr Wylie said.
“It only used to have 32 riders so it was elite, and we both got starts in the Griffin run in conjunction with the America’s Cup.”
When he came back to New Zealand, he worked for nine months at the Fairton works.
He then thought “this is not for me and thought I’d use my experience on calling on good and bad operators in Australia to give it a go (with a business) here”.
“So I gave it a shot, and with the popularity of mountain-biking, it’s worked out all right.”
Mr Wylie said now people you wouldn’t expect were embracing cycling.
In many ways it would be hard to let go and he had mixed emotions.
“I’ll have time to ride my bike rather than spending time fixing everyone else’s.
“It’s the end of an era and a bit scary, but it will give me a chance to do things at home.”
Trips within the South Island are planned, with Wanaka and Nelson on the list of places to visit.