As “Christine from Australia”, I was asked to write a few lines being an enthusiastic Marin cyclist. However, sadly for over a year, I have been ‘in absentia’ due to Australia’s total and ongoing lock down to international travel. I have been a relatively new comer to cycling, previously in a swimming club for many years until my shoulders got sore, then running for a while until my knees hurt, then buying my first road bike in 2013, which changed my life! I joined an indoor cycling class (and continued until covid struck), initially to learn how to ride (cleats were terrifying), then attempting to get fit, although I found this a continual work in progress (although a tail wind always made me (”fitter”). I really enjoyed the social side of cycling, and joined a couple of weekend riding groups in Adelaide, and remember a friend Mary who finally gave me the courage to tackle my first “hill”, and went on to cycling trips in France in 2015 and 2016, including several times up the unrelenting Mt. Ventoux.
A few years ago, I first travelled to Marin for work, my Supervisor being here. I immediately loved the environment, saw plenty of cyclists, and asked at the local bike shop if there were any group rides in the area. From then on, I started bringing my bike with me on trips, bubble wrapping it in a bike bag, marked with a big “fragile” sticker, but turning pale looking out the plane window, them throwing it onto the conveyer belt, always a few scrapes or broken derailleur…wonderfully, I was offered to leave my bike and bags in a members garage, to save hauling it back and forth across the Pacific.
I met Carol who took me on so many new rides, and since then we have been lucky to have her come over and stay with us in Adelaide to enjoy the Tour Down Under and the many rides along the coast and in the Hills. Somehow, I found the 7.30am Corte Madera group and met so many other super interesting and friendly Marin cyclists. Mid – 2018, I had a set back to my cycling, needing a spinal fusion, back some months later, but doing my rehab exercises every morning since. The surgeon told to do a 30 minute walk every day, but this evolved into an hour ride each morning, which turned into my life line when covid struck. In March 2020, apart from my cycling groups disbanding, with only the occasional 2 people riding together, mostly I ended up riding on my own every morning through 2020 and now 2021.
I discovered the art of layering, depending on the weather and temperature, ranging from 1 up to 9 layers in winter, wearing up to 5 kg of kit, which I figured was like weight training. I loved following other Marin cyclists on Strava, it giving a sense of community even in this difficult lockdown time. I always liked Rodney’s photos of the group rides on Strava, and started posting a few photos myself, discovering clouds and beautiful sunrises! I have greatly missed being able to travel over to Marin in the last year, but do wear my old and new Marin jersey tops in Adelaide. We had hoped that 2021 would bring the “new normal”, but vaccine roll out is slow, and it does not look optimistic even this year that I will be “let out” and/or able to return. It is such an uncertain time, but at least having my daily bike ride is my therapy, and gives a sense of connection to other cyclists whatever the weather or time of day. Hello to everyone, and hope to get back to Marin soon!