Marie Aitken

I am 65 and semi retired.   I started cycling about 8 years ago when I got my first road bike – a flat bar bike. This was the first bike that I had had with gears, cleats and hand breaks. This was all a new experience for me.  At first I was very cautious and only road on bike paths but gradually my confidence increased.  I am now onto my 3rd bike, which is fantastic – a Trek – light and with great gears for riding up hills.

I try to ride 3 or 4 times a week, covering over 200kms a week.  For safety reasons, I try not to ride on wet roads and also endeavor to avoid windy conditions.

I find cycling great for a number of reasons – it is very social and I have made many new friends. I find it also good for my fitness, health and wellbeing.  Whenever I ride I always try to do my best and achieve goals like improving my average speed.  I like the pace of riding also – not too fast like a car and much faster than walking.

Tips for women new to cycling – If you can find someone also keen to cycle this is great.   Also start with small ambitions and gradually, as you improve, you will be able to achieve more. In the early days I thought if I cycled even 25 or 30kms I was doing fabulously well.  Mix your cycling with pleasure – perhaps a coffee or something else at the end of the ride. I do not believe these challenges particularly relate to women.

I am not really sure why more women do not ride, it gives you such a great sense of well-being and freedom, I love it.

Fellow cyclists introduced me to the 7 Peaks Ride. Up until completing this event I had done little if any riding in the Alpine region. I had always regarded it as something that only really good cyclists did.   The first peak was Mt Buffalo, which was a gentle way to start.  The last one was Mt Baw Baw, which I found the most difficult.  Luckily I had a friend who had already completed this ride and she gave me detailed instructions on how to ride this and where to take breaks.

I have completed the 7 peaks in the last 2 years with my husband who also loves cycling. I think the second year was easier than the first because I had some knowledge of what to expect. I proudly wear the cycling tops and have a great sense of satisfaction for having completed the challenge. I know there are many riders out there that are better cyclists than me who haven’t conquered the Peaks.

At the top of each peak, apart from finding the stamping station, my next main desire is to have a coffee and relax before the descent.  We live in Albury and there are great cycling opportunities all around. We love going to Bright to have lunch at Cafe Velo after descending.

Photo attached is myself, Charles my husband and son – Hugh at Mt Buffalo.