‘It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been back on the bike” – Susan gets ready to ‘Gear Up’


Susan posing with an Adelaide Free Bike at Bicycle SA.

Susan hasn’t been on a bike for many, many years. That’s all about to change. 

My mother learnt to ride when she was so small she couldn’t actually sit on the bike seat.  I’m told she rode any bike hanging onto the handlebars above and ride suspended over the pedals.  She is the one responsible for sticking pegs in the spokes of my tricycle.

I loved my tricycle. I didn’t look for paths or pavement; I rode it over lawn, through parts of garden bed and gravel.

My first ‘two-wheeler’ bicycle was a Christmas present, which I got when I was 10 years old.  It was a 26 inch bike and there were no trainer wheels.  Somehow this worked because I could ride instinctively.

Tricycle to Bicycle.jpg

Susan’s tricycle & bicycle back in the day.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been back on the bike.

Today I find myself sitting and contemplating how I will prepare for November’s Gear Up Girl  SA ride with Bike SA.  I haven’t ridden a bike on the road really, except once for a triathlon, since I’ve been fully grown.  Why? Well I was involved in an accident with a car.  I was run over.  And without going into details – it took away all my cycling confidence. 

Obviously, I haven’t given the idea or riding on the road away entirely. I’ve taken the odd spin class and peddled stationary bikes from time-to-time.

So now I’m going to make a change. I’m going to get back on the bike and I’m going to start cycling. I’ve just started using the Adelaide Free Bike Service – and with the warmer weather – spending more time on the bike is going to be part of my weekly routine.

Gear Up Girl SA is a little less than two months away and offers a moderate 40 km challenge, so I should be able to ‘gear up’ for the ride.

If you’ve got any tips for me, any words of encouragement – please do let me know in the comments below. I’m going to need all the help I can get.

Keep an eye out for next week’s blog post as Susan documents getting back on the bike. You can Join Susan on Gear Up Girl SA on Sunday 22 November and ride Adelaide in a safe and supportive environment. 

4 Comments. Leave new

Congratulations Susan, your courage to get back on the bike is awesome. There are so many great cycling paths here in Adelaide, keeping you safe and off the road, you’ll have regained your confidence to branch out further in no time! I too took up cycling 18 months ago and found the best thing to do is find a group to join so you can pick up hints and find out new pathways as you go. Bike SA has a great calendar so you can find one near you that will match your skill level.
If you are free on Wednesday mornings media identity Keith Conlon leads a group discovering the safe cycleways from Adelaide. Its a great mix of many levels and, speaking from experience, a wonderful group to socialise with as you learn and grow (we have had many participants using the free bikes). Depart Wednesdays 9am BICYCLE EXPRESS, 124 Halifax St, Adelaide, you’d be very warmly welcomed. Good luck & will see you on the road at GEAR UP GIRL 🙂

David Platten
October 5, 2015 10:33 pm

Good on you Susan! Following my recent conflict with a car, I was in the same head space as you. My biggest difference is my absolute passion for riding, ever since my parents bought my first bike for me it has always meant freedom. My broken bones will heal and my confidence will improve, don’t let a fright stop you from doing something that is great not just but you can meet so many great people doing the same thing.
I can only add my voice of encouragement and invite you to Keith Conlon’s rides on Wednesdays – I call them Postcards from the saddle.
Keep Pedalling!
Dave P


Good on you for getting back in the saddle. I can also recommend the BE ride with Keith Conlan, they helped me increase confidence for paths & roads and riding in a group as well as helped me finally get my gearing worked out! They also helped me feel like a “real cyclist” with their acceptance and encouragement. There is also a Facebook page for Adelaide female cyclists. Often women are looking for someone to ride with, you might find a training partner. And speaking of training, The BUPA Challenge website has training hints for achieving various distances from 50km up to 200km.
I recommend starting with around 25 km once a week for a couple of weeks then gradually increase the number of rides, then have one ride you increase by 5 to 10 km each week. Happy Cycling! Hope to meet you on Wednesday.


That’s fantastic Susan – I admire your courage. All the best with your training for the Gear Up Girl event. 🙂


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