I’m 62, and I work as a family mediator, a job I’ve done for the last 35 or so years. I work part-time, in the interests of keeping my sanity. My hobbies include cycling (obviously!), reading and playing games on the computer (mostly fantasy role-playing games).
Before enrolling in the cycling course in 2009, I wasn’t exercising much. I used to swim regularly when I was pregnant, and I used to walk regularly, but I wasn’t doing either of those as much as I felt I ought to – possibly because of too many games on the computer. So I saw the Back on Your Bike course run by City of Stirling and signed up. I was VERY nervous when I first got back on a bike after after, oh, probably 20 or so years. I was very wobbly and no confidence at all. But Joanne, the coach and City of Stirling Officer, was extremely patient with me and the rest of the other course participants and it wasn’t all that long before I learned to use gears and steer the bike without worrying TOO much about falling off.
The thing that made a huge difference to me, though, was that after the intensive skills development part of the course finished there were several weeks of lower-key skills development combined with social rides. If that hadn’t happened, I don’t think I’d still be riding today.
Back in 2009, my mother who lived in Dunsborough was quite unwell, and her condition deteriorated during 2010. She died in mid-2011. I went from occasional trips down to Dunsborough to monthly trips then to fortnightly ones, which made it difficult to keep up with regular riding. When I was not going down to Dunsborough quite so often, I rode with the group run by Jen Faint, I think it was Sundays? Maybe Saturdays. However, she stopped organising those rides. By the time everything was sorted out with Mum’s estate and I was feeling up to riding again, there wasn’t a regular Saturday group and the Friday and Sunday groups were riding too far and too fast for me. So I thought, “Well, if I RUN a Saturday group, I’ll HAVE to get up and ride on Saturday mornings.” So I started organising a Saturday group.
There was one week where nobody turned up, but after that there was usually at least one other person. I started getting ladies from the Learning to Ride and Back on Your Bike courses because the Saturday rides were shorter and more gently paced than the Sunday or Friday rides.
I’m currently trying to get myself into cycling regularly more than once a week, but it’s sometimes hard to get motivated when it’s early in the morning and I’d rather sleep in. As well, I’ve had bad doses of flu during each of the last three winters, which means a slow return to cycling even on Saturdays.
I’ve done some short bike rides around home – these days, I’d probably hop on my bike to get to the ATM or the post box rather than drive down. I did try riding to the local markets once, but I buy too much there! Because I live on the top of a hill, and everywhere means going downhill but then returning uphill (and I’m not good on hills!) I don’t ride as much locally as I could. I’ve been considering buying an electric bike, though, and I think that’s likely to happen eventually. At that point I’ll probably do more local riding, and maybe cycle to and from the train station when I commute to work rather than driving there.
Through organising the Saturday rides I’ve made friendships and joined a book club. I’m considerably fitter than I used to be. I organised a ride and high tea for my 60th birthday, which was lovely. I know a lot of wonderful paths around Perth, and I know there are a lot more I haven’t yet discovered. I know a lot of nice cafes to have coffee or breakfast at too, and I take my son out for brunch every couple of months. EVENTUALLY, I’ll go back to Dunsborough just to ride the cycle path between Busselton and Dunsborough. I’m considering – though not yet planning – a Bike to Barge cruise in Europe for 2018 or so.