Growing up in Jamberoo on the NSW south coast, riding my
Hanimex BMX around town, and between country towns, is one my earliest memories of an incredible childhood. This was a time of movie classics such as BMX Bandits and ET – both of which feature cool kids on bikes, something my friends and I were clearly trying to replicate (with success?).
I came to Sydney for University in 1990 and have lived here ever since. After my eldest daughter was born in 2002, I finished up playing rugby and reconnected back with cycling. I’ve lived in the West Ryde area for the past 20 years and always enjoyed the easy riding access to Sydney Olympic Park and Bobbin Head for what appears to be a million miles from the city. When the opportunity came to join up Parklife CC, I jumped at the chance as the club’s values really fitted well with my own. The Club’s Executive and members have done an amazing job in fostering a culture of equality and inclusiveness. This isn’t easy with members that span the spectrum from the elite riders, to well…. me. I continue to be enthralled by the tireless effort of people such as Foxy and all of those that work so hard to coordinate the weekly rides, the communication, the trips, the races and I’m amazed with anyone that can stay on top of the ‘Jungle Express’ Whats App chat.
Working in Sydney Olympic Park for the past 7 years has also provided me with an opportunity to engage with Nash & the team at Park Bikes in both a professional and personal capacity. They do an amazing job, and whilst we are all aware of the wonderful work they do in supporting PLCC, they also do an amazing job supporting entities such as NSW Institute of Sport and the Regional Academies of Sport in their typical under-stated, under the radar way, and should be congratulated.
When people hear me talk about bikes and riding, they often look me up and down and ask if I’m a cyclist… my standard response is that I’m a coffee drinker and I ride my bike from one coffee shop to the next. I view cycling not so much through the lens of a racing / competitive cyclist, but rather as another opportunity to be social. I set a couple of ‘sportive’ goals each year – recently these have included Bowral, the MS Gong ride, L’Etape and B2B and if I manage to get to at least 50% of them, I’m pretty happy. I’m a Foundation Rider of L’Etape, and despite carrying my thongs to enable me to walk up Boloka, I am still yet to finish. 2018 will be my year. No matter the result, I am sure I will have a great weekend away with my mates.
Life is pretty busy. My two daughters (16 & 14 yrs) are only a few years away from finishing high school and seeking greater independence from their mum & dad. So whilst it would be lovely clocking up huge kilometres each week, I am very comfortable squeezing in a little time on the bike in between family & work commitments in the knowledge that its quality not quantity that counts at this stage. Whilst I’m not necessarily a morning person, getting on the bike a couple of very early mornings a week is not only a great way to start the day, but as I keep reassuring my daughters, it also limits how many people see me in lycra!
I really enjoy the club rides and was a regular on the original Clydesdales rides up to Bobbo and more recently the Prospect Roubaix rides on a Saturday morning. All of these rides have given me an opportunity to meet really interesting people, learn more about cycling and myself and to find new and interesting places to have coffee.
I was very fortunate in 2017 to have my first cycling holiday to Holland, Belgium and Northern France to see the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix. Whilst I am very happy riding socially, I still have a deep desire to improve, be more competitive and perhaps go on one of those club trips to Italy to climb hills. So I’ll continue to purchase a racing Licence, but then… I am a born optimist!