Li Wei Meakin is a two-time 5-Peaker but 18 months ago she always struggled to ride the ten kilometres to work. Now she says cycling is fully integrated into her life. So, what happened to Li Wei and where did her new passion for cycling start?
About two years ago Li Wei Meakin was commuting to work on her bike two or three times a week. She was too scared to ride on the road and struggled doing almost everything else – going up hills, riding in the rain or in poor light. She worried she would get a flat. Plus, she was slow. It would generally take her over an hour to cycle the 10 kilometres home from work.
But there was something Li Wei had wanted to do since she was a child. She wanted to go on a bike tour, maybe somewhere adventurous. So she kept pedalling, determined to get fitter, faster and wanting to be more confident. Things didn’t improve and she started to think there was more to cycling than just pushing the pedals around.
Then she saw an article about Pedal Power’s New Horizons course, specifically designed for female adult novice cyclists. Li Wei signed up and never looked back.
“In such a short time I became a confident rider. I learned to start and stop correctly, I made great friends and improved my technique. Instead of struggling on the bike, I really enjoyed it and embraced it. I cycled on the road and got faster. Seriously, the New Horizons course changed my life,” said Li Wei.
She firmly believes that more women should try cycling and that they should all enrol in a New Horizons course.
“Like me, a lot of women feel very vulnerable on a bike but they needn’t feel like that. Once you learn how to ride properly, it’s so liberating and empowering,” Li Wei said.
Now she rides at least 200 kilometres every week and it takes half the time to get to and from work. She has a touring bike and is on to her second road bike. In 2013 she completed the Tharwa Challenge (part of Fitz’s Challenge) and rode four peaks in the Rotary Rides 5 Peaks Challenge. Last week she conquered all five peaks, which she’s calling an appetizer, in preparation for the Fitz’s Classic (mains) and the Great Victorian Bike Ride later in the year (dessert).
“I am definitely hooked on cycling,” said Li Wei. “But the best part is the friendships that have come from it. I used to cycle alone. Now I often buddy up with other New Horizons graduates or go on Wanderer’s rides.”
And what about that tour she dreamt of? After finishing the New Horizons course, Li Wei did the Pedal Power Illawarra Escape, then the Pub Crawl, Bundanoon Xmas in July, MS Sydney to Gong, followed by the Great Victorian Bike Ride.
Photo by Aurélie Dorbath
The next New Horizons course will start in spring (October). If you would like to receive more detailed information once it’s available, please email us your name, email address and a contact telephone number.