Growing up in Adelaide was a cyclists dream - lots of options, some decent hill climbs when you want them, flat when you don't, nice wide roads and not too much traffic - so it was no surprise I was out doing centuries on my Ricardo White
Lightening just about every weekend as I went through high school and uni. I loved that bike! Then, as it so often does, life got in the way. I started working, playing other sports, time became scarce and cycling drifted to a bit of a distant memory.
In 2000 I moved to Sydney where the sheer volume and speed of traffic was more daunting than I had imagined, but still I managed a bit of an on-again-off-again relationship with cycling after picking up a Trek/Gary Fisher hard tail a few years later. Occasionally I commuted to the CBD or North Ryde, went on a few group rides, and had a short foray into mountain biking - including my one and only ever race - a team 6 hour event. What was I thinking???!! But still it wasn't something that I was 100% committed to. I could take it or leave it and the bike sat in the back of garage for another few years. Roll forward to February 2018, and some realisations started to hit... I was getting older, I wasn't getting any fitter, and we had recently received the exciting news that our little family of two was soon to become three!! OMG!! So I pulled out the Gary Fisher once again and headed off from Gladesville down the Parramatta Valley Cycleway. I managed about 16km that first day... not quite to the Silverwater Bridge... and when I got home I was buggered!! But importantly, I really enjoyed it!! So out I went a few more times, a little further each time, occasionally venturing into SOP or up and over the Silverwater Bridge.
I was hooked again. I was feeling great!! And I was starting to shed some excess weight! I wanted more!!! So google... "what are our local cycling clubs and group rides??" I stumbled upon the PLCC Bobbin Head rides leaving the Bayview Hotel on Saturday mornings. Awesome, I thought!! ....then I looked at their average speed! Bugger, I thought!! Luckily there was a intro Group Etiquette Ride coming up in a few weeks, and off I went with Russell on my trusty MTB. If the club had to put just one person in front of every prospective new member, Russell is the man for the job! Instantly he made me feel welcomed and confident that PLCC was going to be a great new home.
My first group ride with PLCC was the Prospect Roubaix a few weeks later - a great ride as many club members know, but the furthest I had ridden in 20+ years and a challenge on my 16kg MTB! Stevie took me under his wing and nursed me home the last km or two back into SOP. For the rest of the day I felt like I was going to die, but still I had a great time and was overwhelmed with the support and encouragement from everyone on the ride. It was obvious at that point a new road bike was in my future!
I've now done over 1500km on my shiny new Trek Emonda SL6 - Prospect Roubaix, Bobbin Head, LCNP and I'm starting to lose count of how many laps of Parramatta Park I have done. I once again conquered a 100km ride... and didn't feel like I was going to die. 😀 Life still gets in the way ... sometimes... but every week I look forward to getting out with club, especially on those Saturday morning Prospect Roubaix rides, getting some exercise, having a chat with a great bunch of people, and relaxing over a coffee and breakfast at the end of the morning. It has to be the best start to the weekend you could imagine.