IT'S A name that is synonymous with cycling in Tamworth, and he made his mark on the world stage too.
Sam Spokes has ridden in some of the biggest cycling events in the world.
He's worn the yellow jersey several times after big wins in races throughout Europe including the UCI Road World Championships.
He’s raced the Tour Down Under and been up-hill-and-down-dale across almost every continent racing as a professional cyclist.
And it all started in Tamworth. The proud Tamworthian first jumped on the bike as a youngster, with thanks to his father, and former pro, Alan Spokes.
That love of the sport soon turned into a career when the teenager was scouted for bigger and better things by cycling heavyweights, here and overseas.
At age 15, he travelled to Colorado in America for three years for six-week stints as part of the Real Aussie Kids contingent.
After completing his high-schooling at William Cowper in Tamworth, Spokes moved overseas at the end of 2010 with the Australian National Team.
And from there, his success continued, racing in places like Belgium, America, Europe and the Middle East, and picking up riding contracts with Etixx, and then Drapac Professional Cycling.
When you ask Spokes what some of his favourite races were, he recalls the Liège–Bastogne–Liège – often called La Doyenne – a one-day classic cycling race in Belgium and one of the oldest races in the world.
Claiming the yellow jersey in the Peace Race in the Czech Republic in 2014 is also up there as a career highlight.
And if you ask him about some of his favourite places he's ridden, the Tamworth area sits pretty high.
Tamworth is one of the best places to train in the world. There is such quiet roads, good terrain and the friendly people. I’ve always loved riding at home.Sam Spokes
“Tamworth is one of the best places to train in the world,” Spokes said.
“There is such quiet roads, good terrain and the friendly people. I’ve always loved riding at home.”
Spokes moved home to Tamworth from his training base in Lucca, Italy, at the end of 2016. There along with the Tuscany area are some of his other favourites.
Cycling is in his blood. A former president of the Tamworth Cycle Club, he's still an avid cyclist but spends more time riding for fun with friends, and passing on his knowledge, experience and skills to the next generation.
Since getting his Cycling Australia coaching licence in March, 2017, Spokes has assembled a small team of senior and junior riders under Spokes Performance Coaching.
“As I said before, I don’t think I’ll ever go away from cycling,” he said.
“It’s always going to be in my blood.
“This is definitely another way to give my knowledge back to other people and see cyclists driving to be their best.”
Tamworth is home for the now 26-year-old with his family, including wife Katelyn and two boys, Finley and Saxby, and he's not looking back.
He's gone from being a professional cyclist to peddling houses, and together with Katelyn and parents, Alan and Leanne, heads up LJ Hooker in Tamworth.
It's definitely been a big change for me, but I'm loving every minute of it.Sam Spokes
"It's definitely been a big change for me, but I'm loving every minute of it,” he said.
"Everyday is a new challenge and the people you meet, it's an exciting time.
“Real estate was something that has always been in the back of my mind after I finished cycling, so when the opportunity came up to get the LJ Hooker franchise we jumped at it."