Susan took the treadly in the park yesterday. It had been a long time since she’d been out on the road. 

Yesterday I rode to the park at lunchtime. When I got back to my desk – ‘sad face’. It was part of my preparation for Gear Up Girl SA in November and I call this part bicycle ‘familiarisation’.

It’s been a l-o-n-g time since I was on the road and it ended in tears. In more recent times my derrière has been all gung-ho on a spin bike. Occasionally.

A spin class is very different to availing oneself of an Adelaide Free Bike on a glorious spring day.

So, with some trepidation, I took off along Surflen Street and down Halifax Street heading for a childhood haunt. Victoria Park Racecourse.

Back in the day, they raced horses there and since then it’s been Formula 1 and then V8 Supercars at Clipsal 500.

My trip down Halifax Street was an opportunity to reacquaint myself with traffic. There are bike lanes on Halifax Street so I was reasonably confident there’d be no collision on the way to my destination. I am concerned I wasn’t nonchalant enough to wave at the lunch crowds enjoying the kerbside dining en route – so if you thought it was me, it was.


Bike lanes on Halifax street on the way to the park

Peddling on … there are baskets on the cruiser bikes and I had a packed lunch with me. So cruise I did.

I was lucky with the traffic lights and got to Victoria Park in no time and followed the shared path for a while. I saw a cyclist on a road bike doing circuits near Wakefield Road where once had been a bitumened bookmakers’ stand. In homage to my childhood, I joined her for a lap of honor.

They say you never forget how to ride a bike. As I reflected on this, I made my way to a landscaped area with a table by some BBQs. Standing the bike and removing my helmet I took in the open space around me and the view of the hills. Glorious.

Photo Credit: Weekend Notes

Victoria Park Photo Credit: Weekend Notes

Modern life makes us clock-watchers and our lunch breaks are often filled running errands. This was an opportunity to just sit for a while. Just sitting for a while can be hard when you think you should be doing something.

There is plenty of literature supporting the benefits of a break from your desk. There are even apps to get you off your chair regularly during the day. All in the name of productivity. I read an article which mentioned recent research to the effect that just walking the block outside your office can be stressful because you have to be alert to not bumping people. It found the place of most restorative value was green space. So head for a park.

To commune with nature at lunchtime is a beautiful thing.

So with the words of encouragement and suggestions to join Keith Conlon’s Bike Express Wednesday morning rides, I continue pedalling along.

You can join Susan for Gear Up Girl SA on Sunday 22 November, and choose to ride 15, 40 or 50 kilometres