What a difference a bike makes

Big Canberra Bike Ride, News 0 324
Lisa Hester cropped

Lisa Hester never cycled much but her parents were keen bike riders and her dad was eager for Lisa to try it. “So I borrowed my mum’s bike, really just to shut my dad up.” Two months later she completed the 68km course on Amy’s Big Canberra Bike Ride, is now seriously thinking about entering the Rotary Rides 5 Peaks Challenge and has borrowed a mountain bike. Here’s her story…

I rode in the 2014 Amy’s Big Canberra Bike Ride. I did the 68km course. Not only was it the furthest I had ever cycled but it was also my first ever cycling event.

I first started cycling in January this year when I borrowed my mum’s Giant road bike. I started out cycling the Western loop of Lake Burley Griffith thinking that, once I conquered that, I could ride a complete lap of the lake. Surprisingly, I found I really enjoyed it. The scenery around the Lake is wonderful and I discovered I like to go fast.

I was soon looking for a bigger challenge. Ian (my supervisor at work) cycles regularly both on and off road and he mentioned Amy’s Big Canberra Bike Ride. Wow, 68km sounded far too hard but Ian assured me I would be fine so I signed up and started practicing hills.

The first time I attempted the Arboretum climb I couldn’t make it even half way! The second time I was determined to get to the top and I felt a massive sense of achievement when I did. After that I went out to Stromlo and conquered that climb.

It was time for Amy’s ride.

The ride itself was tough! My goal was to complete the ride in three hours without stopping on any of the hills. The long stretches of inclines tested my resilience and my leg muscles but I managed to get up all of them without stopping. I completed the 68km route with a moving time of 3 hours, 7 minutes and I am very happy with my effort.

I could not have finished the ride without Ian’s help though. He had planned to try to better his Strava time but, when I got a puncture during the first 15km, he came back and fixed it for me and then rode the rest of the course by my side. A good decision that because – with just 8km to go – I got another puncture! This time Ian came to my rescue with his own spare tube.

Ian’s assistance and encouragement along the course were invaluable and demonstrated the values that the ride aims to promote – to support and encourage new cyclists to take the sport up in a safe and confident manner.

Throughout the whole ride, especially when my legs were screaming at me, I also reflected on everyone who had donated to my ride, thinking to myself that they would all be waiting to hear how I went. I ended up raising over $800 which at last look was the highest individual amount raised. I am very proud of my family and friends who not only supported me but also donated to this great cause.

After the event I was exhausted and could barely walk but the sense of accomplishment I felt and the knowledge that I had raised funds for the Foundation made it all worthwhile.

Next year we will tackle the 110km course (no backing out now Ian!!) but first I’m thinking I’d like to give the 5 Peaks Challenge a go and I’ve borrowed my mum’s mountain bike so I can try some off-road as well.

I really like the cycling events because they keep me motivated to stay fit, learn new skills and keep riding.

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