So today I am not posting about one of my rides but one that my wife Rebecca did today. A few years back, Bicycle NSW started a great initiative to get more women cycling – Gear Up Girl! They realised that for the mass participation rides a whole bunch of male cyclists, riding as blokes do, can be a negative incentive for women riders. Sometimes women don’t necessarily want to ride at 35km/hr in a bunch and hammer it up a hill – sometimes they just want to go out for a ride and enjoy it. So they set up a set of women only rides to take the blokey edge out of the mass participation rides and get more women in lycra and on two wheels. In my opinion it can only be a good thing getting more people riding, women or men. But I think it sends a really powerful message to kids if they see their mum’s getting out to ride and get fit. Our little Pok (AKA our son) was quite jealous that his mum was going out for a ride and insisted that he bring his bike along. He even wanted to set off for the 8am start after he saw his mum take off (2 year old tantrum ensued until I told him that he could go mountain biking on his balance bike among the trees).

My wife and my aunt Jan decided that they would be riding buddies for this trip, and it would 45km in distance starting and finishing at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush. This is the fourth Gear Up Girl ride that my wife has done, and no matter how many kms she has in her legs leading up to the ride she would never want to miss it. But the weather was looking ominous and it had been raining in Sydney fairly consistently for the last three days, yesterday being pretty heavy. I reckon a few riders decided to give it a miss, but it didn’t deter the two riding buddies from hitting the road. My wife registered on the day and placed the numbered rider bib across the bar and stem preparing to roll.

GUG_2012_0002

The obligatory rider pre-ride pose followed before heading to the start line. My aunt Jan had just installed a new set of rubber on her wheels, thinner and faster – so she was keen to try out how fast she would roll on these new shoes.

GUG_2012_0003

There is one annoying thing about this ride, the gas-bagging that goes on before the start. I don’t understand why they don’t realise that, male or female, getting cold again before the start of a ride is not conducive to a good ride. So all the riders were itching to get going, my wife and aunt included.

GUG_2012_0004

Thankfully they set off not too long after this shot was taken. Now when I said it was ominous check out the clouds in the next photo –

GUG_2012_0006

But the heavens stayed clear for the most part and it was only puddles mostly that had to be navigated. If you look carefully in the above photo down the bottom right you will see a rare sight at these rides – the Aussie Green and Gold ready to roll! The girls were lucky today to be joined by Jayme Richardson – who represented Australia at both the Beijing and London Paralympics and is two time bronze medallist in the speed event, the 500m time trial. I saw her on TV on SBS Cycling Central a few months ago, and never thought I would see her ride in person among the plebs. Here is the spot they broadcast on her – tough rider!

SBS Cycling Central – Jayme Richardson

Jayme Richardson - On the Track

Anyway, the girls set off and had a good ride – except for the nasty headwind for the last couple of kms.

GUG_2012_0007

They returned to the finish line after two hours. My aunt Jan’s new rubber was very quick, and this has probably delayed her desire to purchase a road steed. I am very proud of my wife’s efforts and look forward to our next ride in May for the Ride Around the Lake. Next time I will be able to join in the fun!