ACT News

Canberrans' love of cycling is the wheel deal

Some hadn't ridden a bicycle in decades, while others hadn't at all. Some wanted to build their confidence and others want to get fit or take advantage of Canberra's bike network.

Showing Canberra's love affair with cycling is far from over, dozens of people attended a free "come and try" cycling event organised by Pedal Power ACT. 

Carol Walker of Kingston has a helmet fitted by Pedal Power project manager, Stuart Jones during Pedal Power ACT's "Come ...
Carol Walker of Kingston has a helmet fitted by Pedal Power project manager, Stuart Jones during Pedal Power ACT's "Come n Try Day" at Melrose High School. Photo: Melissa Adams

Proving age is no barrier to learning something new, the event was aimed at over-45s interested in getting into the saddle.

Pedal Power ACT is now offering a five-week tailored cycling tuition course for over-45s and Sunday's event gave novice cyclists the opportunity to be assessed for the level of training they need. 

Kerry Mobbs of Gungahlin gets some riding tips from Pedal Power Executive Officer John Armstrong.
Kerry Mobbs of Gungahlin gets some riding tips from Pedal Power Executive Officer John Armstrong. Photo: Melissa Adams

More than 30 people attended the event and almost all were women.

"I thought it was a good thing to do, I feel as if I need to do some exercise and I've never really ridden a bike in my life," Kerry Mobbs, 63, said. 

"I walk with my dog but I need a bit more exercise and I notice around where I live in Gungahlin, there's lots of bike paths so I thought it's something good for me to do." 

Carol Walker, 69, from Kingston, said she was inspired to try cycling after hearing a story about a woman who hadn't ridden in more than 50 years and was now competing in races.

"I haven't ridden a bike since I was in primary school and even then, I just rode around the farm," she said.

"My husband's riding his bicycle and he's encouraging me. We've got an old bike somebody gave me but I'm not game to get on it so I need some practice, I need some confidence, I need some skills, some encouragement - just what they're offering here."

One public servant, who did not want to be named, said paid parking had partially spurred her on to try cycling.

"It was the introduction of paid parking but also reading the article about a mature age lady who had learnt how to ride a bicycle and I thought 'well maybe I can do this, too'," the 57-year-old said. 

Pedal Power ACT communications manager John Brookes said there was often a fear of getting into a saddle, particularly among older Canberrans who may not have ridden in years or at all.

"Often the barrier is, if you've never got on to a bike, where do you start? We want people to come along, build up their confidence, the skills of cycling, before they even get onto a road," he said. 

"People are wanting to get out in the fresh air, not being stuck in traffic, so they want to look at the possibility of cycles as a recreational activity but also as a practical mode of transport in Canberra.

"Where you've got things like paid parking coming in, you've got increased traffic congestion, (cycling) is a fantastic alternative."