In the lead up to Gear Up Girl 2017, will be following 3 women who discovered cycling through Bicycle NSW events. They are everyday women, with full time jobs, who one day picked up a bike and have never looked back. Follow their journey to the start line on Sunday March 12 2017.
Morenna aka Momo, 35, Manager of a Cooking School
Momo how are things going?
Since breaking the 100km barrier just before Spring Cycle 105km in 2016, I have been enjoying this gorgeous summer weather by cycling at least 3 times per week recreationally and as part of my training.
I am far more confident on the bike now, cycling within groups and with cycling on the roads. I am now stronger and confident enough to be able to join the “big guns” on long, weekend cycling adventures. Feature picture was snapped on a cycling trip to Wanaka, a resort town on New Zealand’s South Island. It was awesome to have a break and get on bike!
Last week I celebrated Australia Day with friends enjoying the freedom of the outdoors with my longest cycle to date! A very long and hilly, challenging yet rewarding (and utterly exhausting) 125kms!
I am looking forward to taking part in Bicycle NSW’s a world record attempt for the largest women’s community bicycle ride on March 12 with all my female cycling friends and all cycling women in Sydney!
I cannot wait to see everyone on March 12th!
Lisa Joy, HSEQ Advisor
A little bit about your cycling story? I started cycling again as an adult after many years off my bike when my father started working at a bike shop. I was then lucky enough to work at Sydney Olympic Park and enjoyed several rides a week on their bike paths. After a change of jobs I was feeling stressed and unfit and wanted to get back on my bike so this year started riding again.
Why did you choose Spring Cycle? My friend Katie encouraged me to join her on the ride. I had talked about how the aggressive speed demons (mostly men) had put me off riding in events so this event seemed great. It helped that it started a short ride from my home!
Who did you ride with? My friend Katie
What was you inner challenge? I’ve been working on becoming fitter for fitness sake. Most of my years exercise has been about losing weight- but now I do it for fitness and fun. Interestingly I am progressing so much quicker than ever!
Tell us a little about your journey to Sunday 16th? Since Gear Up Girl I had the confidence to tackle the 50km Spring Cycle on my own and most recently the very hilly 58km Gong Ride! For the Gong Ride it was my turn to encourage Katie to join me and she was the perfect person to encourage me to get up those hills. I was so proud of not only finishing the race but riding up every hill and doing it in the same time as Spring Cycle!
Tell us about your day? Gear up Girl was so nice and non-stressful. I got to talk to other women while they cycled about their bike (which helped me gain confidence to upgrade from a hybrid bike to a lighter road bike with narrow wheels and upright handlebars – in a vivid purple! It’s so much easier to ride and it fits easily in my red VW Beetle). I was also treated to a massage by TWO lovely physio students afterwards!
If you could give any advice to women about cycling and taking the first step out on their bike, what would it be? At first I was too scared to ride on the road – my job is safety and as such I am risk adverse! Find cycle paths near your area to gain confidence and the road becomes less daunting. Take a bike maintenance class and a cycling class, many places offer them for free. If you have a partner encourage them to come out with you – but beware, they may get hooked too and your lounge room will be dominated by bicycles!
Morenna aka Momo, 35, Manager of a Cooking School
A little bit about your cycling story? I started cycling almost 2 years ago now, when I decided that I wanted to start doing triathlons. I was given a hybrid bike for a birthday the year before yet only rode it a couple of times as I was a very nervous rider and had no one to cycle or practice with. After doing a few short distance triathlons on my heavy hybrid bike, I bought my road bike a few months before my first Olympic distance triathlon. I was not the quickest learner and found grasping the concept of gears, braking and cleats all at the same time very difficult and found myself failing to clip out in time, and falling down every time (my legs were constantly covered in scratches and bruises). With only 2 weeks remaining before I tackled my first triathlon on the road bike, I felt like I would never see the day when I could cycle competently and confidently.
Two weeks before my triathlon, I participated in 2015 Spring Cycle 50km ride to give myself some more practice and confidence ahead of the triathlon. That day was very exciting and memorable for me; I had never seen so many other cyclists before, I cycled over the Harbour Bridge and through the city, even on roads and to places I never realised you could cycle to. That day was also the first time I did not fall down once! On that day, at Spring Cycle, everything finally came together and I finally grasped the concept of braking and clipping out (this was a very big deal for me)!
What happened next? My cycling had improved in the past year and since I had already completed the 50km Spring Cycle, naturally I wanted to return this year to challenge myself to the 105km distance and enjoy a day out cycling with friends and covering more of Sydney on two wheels.
Did you do the Spring Cycle? Yes, it was a big 105km challange! I cycled with my training buddy, cycling partner-in-crime and friend Jacko. I had only very recently cycled 100km for the first time so cycling this distance was very new and challenging for me.
Tell us about your journey to Sunday 16th… Several years ago I suffered a serious and painful back injury and was unable to walk for 9 months, unable to work for over a year and it took over 2 years to return to a mostly normal everyday functioning capacity. The doctors advised that I would not be able to run or play sport however even though I was never particularly sporty pre-injury, I was determined to prove them wrong. Once I could walk again, I found a new lease on life and I learnt to run and as my running got better I looked for the next challenge to progress to. That is when I took up an interest in cycling. In March 2015 I did Gear Up Girl on my hybrid bike and even thought it felt like the hardest thing I’d ever done, I really enjoyed it and wanted to get better at cycling. From there I did Spring Cycle on my new road bike and once I was more confident at cycling, I joined some cycling groups and found more friends to cycle with. Over the course of this year my cycling has improved greatly! The more I improve, the more I love to go out cycling and the more cycling adventures I enjoy which in turn improves my cycling even more!
Tell us about your Spring Cycle Day… My day at Spring Cycle was as enjoyable as it was challenging. We started bright and early from North Sydney and enjoyed great views of the city as we weaved our way through North Sydney. Cycling over the Harbour Bridge definitely is an awe inspiring experience, admiring the iconic feat of engineering as we cycled down the centre of the bridge normally reserved for cars. We caught the beautiful morning sun over the Opera House as we cycled the Cahill Expressway, through the city, out through Darling Harbour and onwards through Concord, Meadowbank and Parramatta and out to Western Sydney. I was really impressed how many suburbs of Sydney we were covering. One of the most enjoyable sections of the ride was the beautiful and scenic Western Sydney Parklands, somewhere I had never been before. Although there were a lot of people doing this event there were loads of volunteers to assist and everyone was out having an enjoyable day just like us. We had a snack and refilled our water bottles and chatted to other cyclists at each rest stop. In just under 5 hours we crossed the finish line at Olympic Park for a much needed ice cold drink and lots of food. I was so excited to have completed my third 100km ride ever yet completely exhausted from the challenge.
What advise could you give to anyone wanting to start out? Take the first step and believe in yourself. Never give up! You are capable of achieving so much more than you think you are. Step by step you will get there. If you feel like you are struggling, you’re not the only one who experienced that in the beginning. And you certainly wont be the only one who falls down. Just keep at it, keep practising as often as you can, find some cycling groups in your area and join some social cycles and little by little you’ll get there. It may be hard to see progress in the beginning, but weeks, months and then a year down the track you will be able to look back and see how far you’ve come. One day, all of a sudden, you’ll be miles ahead, having the greatest cycling adventures and will be able to look back and appreciate the journey you took to get there.
Katie Robertson, 37, CFO of Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Division.
A little bit about you and your cycling story? I’m very much a social cyclist and enjoy going out with my friends to cycle and have a coffee, on quiet roads and round parks.
Tell us how you got into cycling… I was looking for a sport that was just fun, and I didn’t give me the ‘I better go to the gym’ dread. I saw an advert for Gear Up Girl 2015, so I entered the 20km and it gave me motivation to get active after the holiday season back in Jan 2015. It quickly became a favourite hobby, I didn’t worry that I hadn’t been out for a few day (sometimes work can be very long hours) When I could, I would just jump on my bike, switch off from the office and really enjoy getting some fresh air.
Did you do the Spring Cycle? Yes, I loved it was amazing to cycle over the Bridge! I did the 50km ride with friends, it was the furthest I have ever cycled. It was a mental challenge but it really helped that it was a pleasure ride and not a race so we could all laugh and chat as we cycled along.
If you could give any advice to women about cycling and taking the first step out on their bike, what would it be? Got for it! Pair up with friends who all go at the same pace, you can give each other support and build confidence together. I also strongly suggest starting with pleasure rides, Gear Up Girl in March is ideal. It gives you the feel of cycling in groups without the competitive pressures of others racing around you.