From books to bicycles with New Horizons

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Almah finds balance with New Horizons.

PhD student, Almah Tararia used to paddle a canoe to school.

In her village of Musara in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, only the boys had access to things like bikes.

It wasn’t until age 46 and studying at the Australian National University in Canberra that Almah decided to challenge herself and get on a bike for the first time.

‘I was feeling a bit stuck with my thesis and needed to get my head out of the books and do something different,’ Almah said.

‘My goals were to challenge myself, learn to ride and understand the mechanics of a bike.’

Almah started with Pedal Power’s Cycle Well course where she learned the basics on a basketball court.

‘Unfortunately I didn’t have my own bike at the time and I forgot some of it because I didn’t have the opportunity to practice.

‘Following it up with New Horizons was great because you turn up consistently over eight weeks and work on the practical skills of cycling.

New Horizons really pushed me. I wasn’t very fit and would run out of energy quite quickly.

‘I could have given up but I wanted the challenge.

‘The support I got on the course pushed me along and I just fell in love with it.

‘I received a lot of one-on one instruction within the group until I found my confidence.

‘On the rides, the coaches and volunteers stuck with me, encouraged the good things I was doing and corrected my technique.

Almah with her bike

Almah with her bike

‘When I thought ‘I can’t’, they encouraged me and helped me achieve the skills.

‘Their method of coaching, and the personalities of the coaches and volunteers, were highlights of the course.’

Almah said she would recommend New Horizons to anyone wanting to learn properly from the ground up.

These days, Almah enjoys regular 30km rides with a group of women she met through New Horizons.

‘I’m improving all the time and enjoying the lovely public spaces around Canberra.’

An added bonus for Almah is that her PhD studies have benefitted from the balance between studying and outdoor exercise.

‘I’m beginning to realise how much my attitude and happiness has improved.

‘Good vibes come with cycling. When it’s time to go home to PNG, my bike and all that I’ve learnt, will be going with me.’

Registration is now open for the Spring New Horizons course, held over 8 weeks from 11 October to 3 December.

To secure a place, call 6248 7995; email office@pedalpower.org.au or lodge an expression of interest at www.pedalpower.org.au/new-horizons/

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