I never had a bike as a child. I grew up in Canberra surrounded by acres of bike friendly open space but walking got me where I wanted to go so I never learned to ride. Moving to Sydney for work pushed pedal power even further back – no way was I going to battle with the traffic.
When everyone here at the Heart Foundation started talking about the Gear Up Girl ride, I imagined I’d help out on the day – handing out cold drinks, welcoming back the weary riders – but I wasn’t planning to ride.
But somehow all their enthusiasm infected me and I decided if I didn’t join the ride I was going to miss out on a lot of fun.
But first, I had to learn to ride a bike. So every weekend for the past couple of months, I’ve hired a bike from one of the local bike shops and joined the throngs wheeling around Narrabeen Lagoon. Cyclists big and small, riding with and without training wheels, wobbling over the track and sailing along between the masses, the shared path around Narrabeen Lagoon is an ideal place to learn. Everyone’s pretty friendly, and me and the toddlers can’t do too much damage to ourselves or anything else.
While I’m not yet up to daily commuting by bike into the city, at least I feel confident I can join everyone for the 20km Beach Ride exploring Cronulla. And now I’ve got a taste for it, there are a few more paths on my list to explore next.
Wendy Oakes, Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager, Heart Foundation