Ride Bikes

Learning to ride a Penny Farthing

Our five year old has started to show interest in learning to ride the baby Penny Farthing.

He fits it now and started to ride it last week. You can see the footage here: https://youtu.be/XX3muGGmaXI

Then today he wanted to have another turn. This time he balanced really well and was almost cornering without any help.

He understands how to stop the bike using the pedals (remember that Penny Farthings don’t have brakes!).

Next time we might take him out on the open footpath so he has more room to ride. It gets a bit tricky on the small deck.

Here is the footage of him riding by himself.


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There’s a first time for everything. Go away tonsillitis!

There’s a first time for everything. Go away tonsillitis!

I managed to get really sick this week. Sitting at home with a sore throat and a high fever with 3 kids, is not fun.

The doctor diagnosed tonsillitis and a dose of antibiotics.

I felt much better almost instantly, however it wasn’t enough to ‘fix’ me in time for the Queensland XC State Champs at Samford.

As with any illness or injury, it sucks to be on the sidelines.

Time to recover, and focus on the next event. I haven’t decided what that will be yet… stay tuned!

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Cadel Evans photo bombing me

Cadel Evans photo bombing me

Cadel Evans and the BMC Team photo bomb me and Mr Z at Henley Beach in Adelaide.

Penny Farthing Criterium - QLD


New Kit!

New Kit !

Got a new race kit for the Sol-Breads Cyclinic Womens riding team.

It’s an honour to be asked to represent the team and wear the colourful kit. It’t got polka dots and some 80’s style stripes and colours. It will match my new helmet perfectly!

I can’t wait to wear it racing and shredding down the trails.

I won’t squeeze in it much longer as I am 12 weeks pregnant.


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First ride back - 6 weeks after baby

First ride back - 6 weeks after baby

I was really looking forward to my first ride back after having baby girl. My bike clothes fit again and I even found some riding tops that I forgot I owned.

The sun was shining and I planned a short ride from Ferny Grove to Albany Creek through Ironbark forest and Bunya. Nothing too strenuous.

It was lovely to feel the wind blowing through my hair and hearing the sound of my tyres rolling over the dirt. Ahhh I have missed riding. It didn’t take long to adjust to my new centre of gravity. Last time I rode I had a big pregnant belly. A few times I ‘forgot’ which way I needed to change my gears… a bit embarrassing, but no one was there to see. I didn’t have to get off the bike on any climbs, so that was a bonus. But my granny gear did get used quite a bit.

Lucky newborns sleep quite a bit, so I wasn’t too worried about leaving her with dad for a few hours while she slept. I just needed to be close for when she woke up hungry.

Can’t wait until my next ride! Bring it on!


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Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens

Mt Cootha

Not much to report at the moment. I’ve been doing more walking than riding. It’s starting to get hot here in Brisbane. The Botanic Gardens at Mt Cootha are nice because its quite shady and there is a coffee shop at the entrance. Felix and I have been there a bit lately.

Photo Above: Here is the lovely Brisbane City at the lookout in the Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens.

Photos Above: The Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens.


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Penny Stack

Photo Below: Part of the Stack. My mum and Felix on the end. 2nd on in Tony, 5th one in is me, 9th one in is Ian.

Every year, Queensland’s Penny Farthing riders meet at Sandgate to create a ‘Penny Farthing stack’. No, it’s not where you fall off the Penny and ‘stack it’. It’s where you all climb aboard your Penny and line up together, balance and interlink your arms. It’s quite tricky because you have to balance up there on your bike. Hoping that the people next to you don’t wobble and fall off.

The Guiness world record for a Penny farthings Stack was made in 2002 at Evandale, Tasmania with 69 Pennys. In 2003, this record was broken by “The British Ordinary Enthusiasts who created a self-supporting line of 131 penny farthing bicycles in Abbey Park, Leicester, UK.”

Today in QLD we managed 34. Which is not a bad effort considering the World record is 131!

Photo Below: Here you can see how our arms interlock. So you arn’t actually holding your own handlebars.

Photo Below: Tony on the end and me near Santa

Photo Below: The whole stack

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Options - Baby on the bike

Looking for kiddie bike trailers to put little man in. This way I can still get out on the bike during the week and spin the legs over. I wont be able to do anything extreme, but it should be good leg strength training pulling an 11kg trailer and an 8kg baby behind me.

I have a helmet for him already, but its too big. So we need to wait until his head grows before he can go in the trailer.

Photo Below: Bike Trailer


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Training has changed completely to what I was doing before. I don’t get to commute to work anymore (40kms a day) and I dont have time to get out on the bike during the week.

So, Ive joined a ‘Baby Boot Camp’ group. There are 20 mums and babies in the group and we meet twice a week with personal trainer. There are no weights involved (except holding your baby!). This gives me the chance to get some running and sprints in. We do pushups, squats, step ups, bench holds etc.

The sessions are held in the parklands at New Farm and Roma St. Its different to any other PT sessions I have done. But at least if Felix is crying I dont feel guilty as other babies cry too. Its good to get out doing aerobic activity again.

Monday, 4 October 2010


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Got out for an xc ride at bunya. Just another small loop for now of 13 kms. That's about all my body can handle at the moment.

The decents were fun and flowy. I wasn't too slow and could still keep it together. Climbs were tougher. I have lost a fair bit of leg strength, which will probably take a while to regain. Some days I manage to get some stretching in and a few weights. I hope to get into more of a routine soon, but first have to get Baby Felix into a routine of sleeping a bit longer!

Otherwise I end up carrying him all day long and can't do much. The 4x state series has not been announced yet. Not sure if there will be one. The first nationals is in November, so that's a few months away. Saturday, 4 September 2010



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Back on it?

So its been 5 weeks since having a baby. Starting to feel much better and can walk normally again. Its nice to be able to bend over and put my shoes on again, and also to be able to eat a full steak and chips. I am keen to get back on the bike, but want to wait for the obligatory 6 week check before jumping into things. I don’t want to do any further damage.

My weight went straight back to what it was pre-pregnancy but I had some extra skin for a few weeks. But its all good now. Just need to re-gain some muscle as I have limited core strength and my ab muscles are all stretched. I have been to the chiro to make get my back and pelvis are in alignment again. So I have been thinking, how will I make this work?

1 - Will I have enough time to train for races?
2 - Now that I am a ‘responsible’ parent will I be keen on hammering downhills still?
3 - Can I afford to race now I’m not working?
4 - Is it feasible to juggle a baby with race preparation, travel and racing?

Questions questions. Well all of this may be impossible, but I am always an optimist and will look into how I will make this work. I am still learning how to feed, settle and get baby Felix to sleep. Which although sounds simple, is not the easiest task. I did manage to do some stretching and yoga the other day which was fantastic. Progress = tick. I have a home gym set up, so I can do weights when I have the chance. Where did that time go....?

I also have a big block of land, begging for some dirt jumps to be built. Perhaps I need a home 4X gate too? As for my keenness for racing DH now I am a mum, we shall see. I haven’t got back on the bike yet.

The Team Banshee guys are always looking to get good accommodation for races, and save costs for the team. Thats a bonus. I’m ready to take on the challenge of racing with nappies, bikes, breast pumps and tyre pumps!! Saturday, 21 August 2010


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Bushwhacker Fitness

My friend and DH racing nemesis, Lea has started her own Personal Training business. Bushwhacker fitness aims at training both women and men, with a separate session purely focussed on the ladies. This ladies boot camp is designed to be low impact for those who need it.  Lea makes the training fun by using different bushwalking tracks and council parks on Mt Coot-tha and adds in resistance exercises to target the whole body, especially the buttocks, core, and arms. Check out the Bushwhacker Fitness website for more details: http://www.bushwhackerfitness.com.au Contact Lea on her mobile 0421 801 524 or on email: [email protected] Monday, 15 March 2010


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Australian National Champs

Adelaide put on a good event for the Australian National Champs. The rain came down early, but cleared up for the DH racing in the afternoon.

The elite womens class was taken out by Clare B (photo below), with Leigh D not far behind (photo below).

Third place went to Claire W (below), who took the Australian National Champs jersey as she was the top placed Australian. Claire is racing in a new stylish green kit this year.
Saturday, 16 January 2010

The under 19 womens title went to Em H (photo below).


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Race Jerseys

Race Jerseys

Got my new race jerseys for Australia Team Banshee. I think they look pretty sick. One is black and white and one is white and black. I headed off to the local jump park to test them out.

I have been a bit preoccupied lately with my cat, husband and mother in law all being sick. So I have spent a bit of time traveling from Brisbane to Adelaide and sitting in vets and hospitals. So not much time on the bikes.

Friday, 27 November 2009


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Time for racing a Penny Farthing!

We flew in to Launceston late Thursday night. As usual, our bikes didn’t arrive with us (thanks Qantas..). Lucky we have learnt not to rely on them. Penny Farthing racing started on Sat morning, so we arrived in Evandale (a small town 10 kms from Launceston, TAS) at about 8am. Ian and my Mum had the Penny Farthings ready to race. The day consisted of heaps of different races.

Check out the website for more information. Tony and I had to ‘mix and match’ races as we only had the one bike between us.  
Penny Farthing slow race

I raced in the Slow Race. 25 meters as slow as you can go. I won the first heat, but crumbled under the pressure of my semi final. Going slow on a Penny farthing is very hard! Tony then raced in the slalom and then the novice race. He went well in both.  


Next up was the Penny biathlon – Run 1 lap, ride 2 laps, run 1 lap. I lined up with about 15 Men for the race. I was the only girl… Anyway, I sprinted off as quick as I could (and held first place until part way round the track!) and tried to keep my pace around the first lap. I thought with a bunch of blokes I could maybe crack them with a fast sprint off the line.   Ian was my ‘handler’ and held the bike ready for the transition. My legs felt dead as I got on the bike. 2 guys were ahead of me now, and I wasn’t gaining anything on the bike. Then getting off the bike was a challenge. I didn’t want to come in too fast (remember no brakes on the Penny!) or too slow. But I managed a fairly good transition and did a cool pedal dismount. The last lap running, It was so hot, I was struggling to maintain my speed. The crowd was awesome and I had massive cheers as I came through to the finish line. I finished in 3rd place! STOKED.

Photo: Me pretty puffed during the run….  


Next up was the sprint a “Straight line dash of 200 meters”. Tony was up next and was up against Ryan Sullivan (who ended up coming 2nd in the National Champs Race). Tony went flat out and came through in 2nd Place!
Photo: Tony riding before the crash…

But the problem was he let his feet come off the pedals after the finish line and couldn’t stop. With the barrier coming up quickly he bailed off the back of the bike and crashed to his knees and onto the bike. Taco-ing the front wheel!!.

Photo: Broken Penny Farthing


Photo: The start of the Ladies National Penny Farthing Championships Race

So now we had no bike, and the next race was the Ladies National Penny Farthing Championship Race. So I kinda had no bike to ride. Ian offered his bike, however, this one was much larger than the one I had practiced on. I had a quick ride up and down the road and this bike was BIG!! But it was great that Ian was happy for me to ride it. The Ladies race had 8 racers and the reigning National champion present (Bell Chamberlain).  

I had a slow start as the bike was heavy and huge. But got going as fast as I could. I was in 3rd place and I pushed as hard as I could on the straights but was a bit tentative on the corners. I could see the 2 girls in front (maybe 20 metres) but couldn’t gain anything on them. Bell was first and Sally in second. I came through in 3rd Place and very happy to get a medal at my first Penny Nationals. Joanna came in first place in the Junior race and Ian in 3rd in the last race of the day. So a nice loot of bling to take home.  

Photo: Me and my medal. Whoohoo.

Photo: Joanna lapping up the media attention

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