My interest in cycling began when taking spin classes at the gym. I would often think about getting out on a bike on the road, but the thought of riding on the road with all those cars terrified me.
I began working with a colleague who rode. His kind of riding was the real deal. Hours and hours spent on his bike. Often reminiscing of his riding days in the past, and of the enjoyable days he still has today on the bike. I could tell by the look in his eye that this was not just a sport to him but a passion. His passion for cycling was enviable. I wanted the high he was getting from cycling. A sport to love, a hobby, fitness and new friends. Something to become passionate about, new life style.
Around the same time my husband had had a double hip replacement. I thought this cycling gig could be good for him too. Get him out, meet new people, keep fit.
We went down to the local bike shop and were sold twin Blue Giants. His n hers. One big one small. All the gear. Helmets, saddle bags, bike shorts, a quick lesson on gear changing and we were set.
A few weeks passed and we had a couple of short rides on local streets. Hubby lost interest but I was determined to keep at it... Nothing was going to stop me.
I did a little poking around cycling sites and came across a learn to ride program dedicated to women. An 8-week program not too far from home was something I could commit to. I signed up. Saturday mornings, 2 hour sessions with a group of ladies with their own reasons for joining. The promise of a coffee after the ride was a bonus.
That program brought changes to my life that I never would have expected 2 years ago. To be able to get on my bike and feel confident that I can ride out amongst what are mostly courteous and patient drivers is an amazing feeling. It’s even better when you can get out earlier on Sydney roads without a car in sight. The fresh air tingling on your skin. Fresh dewy scents stimulating the brain cells. Exploring new places and sometimes just slowing things down and taking in new sights. Even a ride in the rain can be an enjoyable experience in the warmer months. Every day is different and I love catching a beautiful sunrise, it’s one of my favourite times of the day.
That 8-week program changed the lives for all of us in that group. We remain friends, often riding together where we continue to learn new skills and challenge ourselves in various challenge rides of between 60 and 100 kilometres on a bike saddle. That’s 4 to 5 hours of riding for me and I love it.
All too soon you come to learn more and more about bikes. Carbon fibre, Ultegra gears, saddle bag or no saddle bag. New kit and Strava. Gone is the blue Alloy Giant …I’ve upgraded!!
More and more rides often dedicated to women riders are being promoted by cycling groups, clubs and organisations around the country. Encouraging more women to get out and feel confident on a bike, keep fit and make new friends. Not that I don’t want to ride with the guys, you guys are great and super encouraging as you zoom past at an incredible pace leaving me shaking my head. You guys have such an incredible strength and any advice you can offer to help me improve my riding is always welcomed.
If you have ever thought about having a go at cycling, do it, hesitate no more. You like me will wish you had found it years ago. It will change your life and you too will get that look in your eye.