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Redefining our relationship with riding

We chatted to four different people who've redefined their relationship with riding bikes since the COVID-19 lockdown has been in place.

How has your relationship with riding changed? Let us know in the Facebook comments and help inspire others!

Jack, the newbie

Jack, a 30 year old school teacher (now home-school teacher) living in the inner-city suburbs has recently jumped back on the bike after a 20 year hiatus. 

I used to ride as a kid, but haven't owned a bike for years. When my gym closed down during lockdown, I was looking for a way to keep active and an excuse to go outside... so I bought a bike!

How have your riding habits changed since the lockdown?

Well for one, I didn’t have a bike before the COVID-19 lockdown! I am a powerlifter and in the gym, it meant that I needed an outlet to get my cardio exercise in, and seeming as a live right on Gardiner Creek Trail, I thought why not!? The team at Melbourne Bicycle Centre Prahran sorted me out with an awesome bike that fits my powerlifting frame.

How often are you currently riding?

I aim to ride 2 – 3 times a week. Nothing too extreme, just down to the Hawthorn velodrome for a few laps to tick the legs over. I want to take my bike up to Beechworth and ride the rail trail (and also earn my wines!)

What’s your favourite thing about riding at the moment?

As riding is a non-impact activity it means that for me and my large frame, I can generally get a really good 30 to 60 minutes of activity (when gyms and pools are closed!)

What challenges have you faced with riding a bike lately?

My backside was definitely sore after the first few rides! But I think that’s par for the course (so I’m told). Another one is learning the path rules. With so many people out walking and exercising it is quite a challenge to navigate safely.

How do you predict your riding habits will change post lockdown?

I think they’ll remain the same to be honest! I want to take more weekend trips up to some more isolated tracks so I can focus on my bike handling and really pumping out a few km’s. It’s hard on the congested inner-city trails!

 

Emma, the commuter

Emma normally commutes to work every day, but with her commute now often being bedroom to lounge room, she doesn't need the bike every day at the moment.

My bike is my main form of transport. I normally use it every day to get around, only these days I don't get around as much.

How have your riding habits changed since the lockdown?

I still ride to my place of work a few days a week when I am not working from home. Since the lockdown I have been riding the whole route home from work more often instead of jumping on the train for part of the commute. Mainly because my other sports or hobbies have stopped so I have more time and energy for riding.

How often are you currently riding?

I ride to work about three times a week. On the days where I am working from home I normally still get a short ride in to go to the shops or run errands.

What’s your favourite thing about riding at the moment?

The roads are really clear! Which means I can be more carefree (less on edge), particularly riding around the inner city suburbs. Honestly I love this because I can check out all the houses and shops, it's like sightseeing. I am trying to mix up my routes to and from work to check out new trails or parklands which I'm really enjoying.

What challenges have you faced with riding a bike lately?

The bike paths I frequent are packed with families and dogs walking and riding. I'm finding myself nearly squishing toddlers and dachshunds. However, in saying that, I do enjoying watching everyone enjoy our parks more than usual.

How do you predict your riding habits will change post lockdown?

When social gatherings or sport start up again, my frequency of riding to and from work shouldn't change, but I may end up riding to and from the train station instead of doing the full commute. Or instead of exploring on my way home I'll pop passed a friends place instead.  

 

Patrick, the family man

Patrick and his family of five have been in lockdown together for seven long weeks now, and going on family bike rides around their neighbourhood has become their go-to preserver of fitness and sanity.

We have three kids who are all very active. With sport clubs and school doors shut for the time being, we needed a new outlet for energy... desperately.

How have your riding habits changed since the lockdown?

Seeing how both my wife and I are working from home with three kids home schooling, by about 4pm we are all very keen to get out of the house and get some fresh air and exercise. We are very active people and keep fit so bike riding is something we all do as a family. The kids also ride their bikes up and down the street during their lunch times etc, just like the 80s.

How often are you currently riding?

As a family we're riding three to four times a week. Sometimes my wife and I jog and the kids ride alongside.

What’s your favourite thing about riding at the moment?

Bike riding has been a great outlet and also a really nice opportunity to spend time together outdoors. I've really enjoyed seeing the kids improve as we tackle some of the big hills in our area.

What challenges have you faced with riding a bike lately?

We've had a few minor injuries – loss of skin and pride only, but other than that it's been a breeze!

How do you predict your riding habits will change post lockdown?

Typically we only really ride together when we go down to the beach on holiday, but now that we've explored our neighbourhood a bit by bike, I suspect we will continue to ride more as a family throughout the year, but the return of sport and after-school practice will probably take priority.

 

Alex, the hardcore cyclist

Alex rides with his cycling crew—the Knights of Suburbia—at least 4 times a week, and leads one ride a week down Beach Road. Physically distancing has put an end to his group rides, and subsequently a large portion of his social life, but he's finding new ways to enjoy his time on the bike.

"I really miss the social side of riding with my riding mates, but I'm finding new ways to have fun on the bike whilst maintaining my fitness and sanity"

How have your riding habits changed since the lockdown?

Well obviously our group rides have been cancelled during lockdown, which normally makes up the majority of my training and socialising for the week. I am still riding just as much though and probably similar distances per week.

How often are you currently riding?

Riding daily. Just starting a little later than usual and not stopping for as many coffees along the way.

What’s your favourite thing about riding at the moment?

The first couple of weeks after lockdown there was much less traffic on the road and it was a road cyclists dream to have the streets basically to myself. Now it feels like it's returning to normal levels. I am actually enjoying the opportunity to explore some new routes on my own, as the big group rides generally do the same route every week.

What challenges have you faced with riding a bike lately?

The motivation to get out of bed! Being part of a team or club is a really powerful motivator to get up and get going, which I'm lacking at the moment. There is also a bit of a sense of security when riding with others whether it's for safety reasons or for spares etc. I've had to put in place a few additional measures for security, such as bringing multiple spare tubes and sharing my location with my wife.

How do you predict your riding habits will change post lockdown?

I expect to return to more early morning rides and with groups again. Maybe we will agree to try out some of the new routes we've all been exploring! However I'll probably be a bit more cautious about large bunches and riding with people I don't know. 

 

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