Amanda Turnbull

Six months ago, Amanda Turnbull had only ever ridden to work once or twice and not really enjoyed the experience.

Now she rides the five-kilometre journey most days and loves it.

“I wanted to get a bit fitter and this was the sort of incidental exercise I could fit in,” she said.

“My three children were riding to school and I thought, if the kids can do it, I can too; I just have to get organised.

“The youngest is more independent now that he’s in grade one, which gives me a bit of freedom. So I have capacity to ride now, and I’m in a more committed headspace.”

Having a decent bike helped, she said.

“When I’d tried riding in the past it had felt really hard. But I borrowed a friend’s bike and it was so different – my bike was old and heavy. I thought if I’m going to ride to work I need something that fits properly and feels easy.”

Using money she’d received for her 40th birthday, Amanda bought a second hand road bike. And, although she didn’t spend big dollars, it is a few steps up from her old bike.

“It just feels a lot easier,” she said.

“It makes riding enjoyable, rather than an effort.”

Even so, it took a bit of thinking that she could ride to work.

“I wasn’t confident riding on the road, so I went riding with my husband and friends who were more experienced. Then I started by taking quieter roads so I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic,” she said.

“After three months, I’m getting fitter. It takes me 15 to 20 minutes to ride the five kilometre to work. The last part is uphill, so that was hard initially, but I committed to doing it most days, and it’s getting easier.

“It feels so good having some exercise and coming into work feeling warm and alert. I really enjoy that time on the bike, being connected to what’s around me. I love having the space to think between work and home before starting the evening routine. Now I miss it if I don’t ride to work.”

Ride to work day is on Wednesday, October 17. The event is part of Bike Palooza Bendigo, a month-long festival celebrating everyday cycling. www.bikepalooza.com

– Nicola Dunnicliff-Wells