Moving stories

Don’t be scared about riding a bicycle when you’re 80 – it’s great fun!

Hello, I’m Annie, and I’ve got an e-bike, and I love it. I’m an 80 year old grandmother and, I’ve been living in Canberra since 1988. A working girl to begin with until we retired just after 2000. My husband turned 66. We have family here in Canberra and Melbourne and Adelaide, so we’re quite spread around.

I bought an E-bike because I’m just getting older and I was finding that cycling into the wind and up the slopes, particularly around here in the top of O’Connor. It was just that little bit more difficult for me to get there. So I was leaving my bike at home and taking the car out. And then I thought, this is ridiculous. When I came to Canberra initially, the first thing I did because of all the bike paths was to buy a bike. And then I started to use it to go to work. So I’d cycled from Kingston to Dickson and down to Woden for my jobs. And I’ve been cycling ever since. And I find it saves on cars, wear and tear petrol. I also find that I don’t have to worry about parking. I take the car out when I have to take anyone else out with me, but otherwise she sits there in the garage.

Just about everything I can: I go shopping and if I have to go shopping three times a week, I’m not like the French who go once every day, then I go three times a week. I mean, my time is my own now. So if I can manage that, I go to visit my family on my bike, and three times a week I go to my gym on my bike.

So it’s basically an urban bike and it’s for the use around the city. I used to think that it was the rain, but I must admit some of the winters it’s the tips of my fingers keeping warm. But other than that I don’t find it hard, I find it invigorating. Wrap up several pairs of gloves to keep warm in the winter is most important but you do build up a heat in your body. And so that’s why it’s always the tips that you feel most. Yeah, it’s just a matter of wrapping up scarf around your neck.

I enjoy cycling because I like to feel the wind. I like the idea of keeping fit the easy way. I just like being outside and I find cars you’re just enclosed in a little metal box and that’s not what I like. I think about the effects on the environment all the time. I don’t know that I always relate it to the bicycle, because I think that there’s much more serious problems in the world with regard to climate change. But my bicycle will only be an infinitesimal effect on. But I think if you wanted to say that it’s every little bit helps, then yes. If my cycling around uses less fossil fuel, then yes, I’m helping the environment.

Don’t be scared about riding a bicycle when you’re 80 – it’s great fun!

[And if you’re less than 80?]

Oh, of course I might. To assume that they would be cycling anyway. You know, any age. Don’t be scared about getting on a bike. You know how to cycle. And of course we were all taught as children, though I did have a big gap when we lived in Melbourne bringing up young children and the roads were not safe. But once I got to Canberra, it was just a matter of getting back on the bike again. Don’t be scared and enjoy it.

Definitely there is more freedom in the sense that I can go further. I’ve taken the tram up to Gungahlin and come back on the bike path and that was a really lovely, lovely trip. Yes. There’s definitely more freedom on the on the e-bike, particularly if you are finding an ordinary bike a little hard going. The e-bike actually is much heavier than an ordinary e-bike, so you do have the solid feeling that you’re on the ground. But then you know that when things are going to be a hard going, you’ve got that little bit of assistance behind you. And one of the other important things about an e-bike is you can have that assistance, but unlike these electronic scooters, you’re still working your legs because the battery ceases to function when your legs stop moving. So you’re still getting exercise. And to me, that’s important.

I live in an apartment and I have a storage shed. And because living in an apartment, we do get broken into. There’s no doubt about it. We’re in that sort of area. So it always goes away into the shed and is locked up on the basis of what’s not seen. I don’t think it takes that long to charge the battery, but I’ve never really measured it because when it gets low, I just unhook the whole thing, take it into the house and it just charges overnight. But I think it’s a lot less than overnight. Well, I have to walk past my car when I go to my bike. So jumping on the bike when it’s pouring with rain outside and I’m walking past my car. Yes, that sometimes takes a bit of courage, I think you might say.

I just I just like cycling. I don’t think there’s anything else I can say about that. It’s much nicer than being in the car. Yeah. I jump on my bike first and get in the car second.

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