“Jerry, you have high blood pressure, cholesterol and you’re overweight. I would hate for you to be heading in the same direction as your dad who had a triple by-pass”… those words rung in my ears for days after I went to the doctor to collect my test results.
That was in January 2017. I was constantly tired and very unfit. I was 38. I vowed to myself that I would not let my health slip to the point where I would need to start medication, if I could do something about it. I was determined to get back into shape.
I wanted an activity that I could do daily, something more than just the gym. I really enjoyed cycling, so I dusted off my old hybrid bike and started cycling to and from work, which was a good 20 minutes each way.
After about a month or so, I was starting to feel better physically and mentally and the weight was slowly but surely starting to shift.
That’s where my passion for cycling really started to take off. My wife and I decided it was time to upgrade to a new bike.
I spent a lot of time researching different types of bikes, getting opinions and reviews from various forums. I thought to myself if I was really going to get serious about cycling and improving, it was time to join a cycling club.
I came across Parklife Cycling Club, which I joined in May 2017. One of the reasons I decided to join Parklife is because they promote “Support, Inclusion and Safety”. The ‘Safety’ aspect also resonates with my wife, as she worries a lot about me when I’m out riding.
After joining Parklife, I completed a Bunch Etiquette ride, which was really helpful as a novice, teaching me how to ride safely in a group, in very close proximity as well as the gestures for warning other riders behind you.
In July 2017, I finally worked up the courage and did my first Bobbin Head (“Bobbo”) bunch ride. It was really tough riding up Kissing Point Road, my legs were cramping by the time we got to Browns Waterhole but there is nothing like the satisfaction of finishing and conquering those hills, especially as a novice to bunch rides! The other more experienced riders gave their advice, support, and waited for me to catch up. They cheered each other and me on. I really liked the camaraderie.
By December I had plucked up the courage to try racing for the first time at the Armoury. I entered in D grade, didn’t place anything but it was a great learning experience. I decided to race again a week later but got the same result. In my next race at Sydney Motor Sport Park I placed fifth.
Fast forward to today and I have had podium finishes in a number of races in my grade(s) including first place in my first road race, Orica Kermesse. I have progressed from D grade to C grade and have just started racing in B grade to keep challenging and push myself. In addition to riding to work everyday, I try to train every morning at Parramatta Park with the Parklife crew.
My wife has been an amazing support and cheer-squad throughout this whole time.
Cycling was mostly about helping me get back into shape when I first started. Losing 25kgs and getting my health back on track is a positive, but there’s no denying that it’s more than that. Cycling helps clear your mind and really gets the blood pumping through your veins.
I have learnt a lot since joining the club but for me there is always room for improvement and growth - and there is no better place to get the support you need than through Parklife with their members’ experience, advice, friendship (and laughs). I have made some great friendships and continue to learn so much from an awesome bunch of people who share the same passion for cycling.