It all really started around 7 years ago. I watched my brother enjoy riding a bike and getting right into it. I was quite envious on how keen he developed the love of riding and how he lost weight. He was a bad sleepy-in person and you could never get him up, but with riding he changed his attitude.
I did own, and ride a bicycle when I was 35 but had no confidence and no idea of gears or brakes. My feet were my brakes. We used to go to Rottnest Island with a whole heap of friends and our young children. The most I would ride was from our lodgings to the town centre. If I had a couple of beers I felt a little more confident. That is until one night I fell off the bike which had a basket with food. That was the end of my riding days and my bike was used by everyone else as a carrier instead of me.
I decided I was going to start riding and saw the advertisement in the Stirling Times for the City of Stirling bike riding classes. I booked myself in for the lessons which were starting the following year in January 2010 and I asked my Kris Kringle for a Kmart bike for Christmas.
The night before my first lesson I tried to get on the bike but it wasn’t happening. I didn’t sleep all night as I felt like a failure. The first lesson I wasn’t particularly good. The second lesson I got better and the third I got the hang of it.
We started our 12 week Social Ride course and our first ride was to Gwelup, a proud 7 km round-trip. The following Sunday we went from Hillarys to Mullaloo, double the distance 14 km. The class taught us how to catch trains with a bicycle and how to go into the city with our bikes.
This was my new way of spending Sunday mornings and always finding a nice coffee with my new found friends. At that time my husband would be at the soccer club and the children were busy too. I was very happy with my new way of life.
I also joined the Friday and Wednesday group, but as I wasn’t committed, due to going away, I lost a little confidence on the Wednesday, so I started the Wednesday Easyriders group, which was mainly riding in the City of Stirling between 20 and 25 km. I was keen to be back home by 11 am and the other ladies enjoyed the rides and social time.
Nowadays I try and ride twice a week: Wednesday and Friday. Life has changed at home and Sundays are now reserved for grandchildren and soccer. My passion for riding has grown in the past 6 years. I love being out there in the sunshine and I love the encouragement from the others as I get better and continue to build my confidence.
With riding it has been beneficial to my health. I had suffered from clinical depression, now I’m off medication and enjoy the fruit of life. Feeling pretty good and loving it. I’m having my 60th Birthday soon so I think a new bike is on my wish list.
I’m very involved with the MS society as my youngest son has MS. They have a lot of events to do with bike riding and I did the bridges ride which was over 40 km. It took me 2,5 hours in the dark, but I was happy that I completed it. We had a most spectacular ride with wonderful city views by night. That morning I had ridden 32 km with the Friday Ladies, so I totalled 75 km for the day.
I love riding and I am ever so grateful to the City of Stirling for creating such an opportunity for us. The friendship with these ladies grows every week. We all look out for each other and hope to ride safely for a very long time.