Dusting off my Road Bike for Bike Month

Jillian Woolmer
City of Cockburn

Recently I decided I needed to have a lighter bike that I could transport more easily on my car so I could drive part way and ride part way, since I live quite a distance from my workplace.

I registered for Bike Month WA https://www.lovetoride.net/wa and wanted to ride more often and encourage others at work to do the same.

I bought a bike around 10 years ago and rode it for a while but it has been sitting in my shed gathering dust. It is a great bike, light weight and was easy to ride when I bought it. I have had knee, back, neck and arm issues over the past few years and found that it was too hard to ride now. I had the bike adjusted but still preferred riding other heavier bikes that allow a more European style upright posture.

I dusted off the bike a few weeks ago and thought that I would try it again after many years of not riding my road bike. I had to take the bike to my local bike shop and get the tubes replaced as one had perished over time. I decided it was better to replace both as rather than get a flat tyre when I am out riding. I don't have the strength in my hands to fix a flat tyre myself and ride with many people who would be able to help me, but it is still an inconvenience if you get a flat tyre. (I always bring a spare tube with me and a smartrider so I can get on a train if all else fails.)

I took my road bike out this weekend and went for a ride. I was glad that I had my smartrider with me as I needed to use it as my wrists and neck were complaining by the time I reached the next train station. I still had a 14 km ride, checked out my bike and was able to get back to the start for coffee but I was glad I had the option. I took my bike to my local bike shop when I got home. They are going to put in a handlebar riser so I have a more relaxed posture when I ride, with less pressure on my wrists. If this does not work, they will change the handle bars so they are the old fashioned European upright style as racing style or flatbars put more pressure on my wrists.

The road bike did go a lot faster, but it was not as comfortable. I will be back on my heavier slow bike for a while, until the road bike is upgraded. I don't race, so I have changed my road bike slowly over the years to make it a more comfortable transport bike, with a kickstand, mirror, pedals that I can get on and off easily and a carrier/pannier bag. This makes it easier for me to ride to work or any destination I wish.

In the meantime, I will be riding my bike with a basket. It may be heavier and slower but I can actually go further as it is a more comfortable ride. While my work bike is electric and better for going up hills and against headwinds, it is not something I can put on the back of my car and I always make sure the battery is topped up so I don't run out of power part way on my journey!

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James (Your Move)

Hi Jillian! Thanks for this personal insight to some of the issues people might face when making choices about bike setups to choose from. It's good to note that even if things aren't perfect there are always options - drive part way, stop and get the train or change your set up. Did you set up a team for bike month at the City of Cockburn? Let me know and I can give you 40 points for that! For now though, I have given you a bonus 10 points for your detailed outline of the issues you faced in setting up your bike for the work commute. Have a great weekend!

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Hi James - Yes we set up a team at the City of Cockburn and have been recruiting new riders as well as encouraging others to ride a bit more often.

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James (Your Move)

Thanks Jillian - I've added the 40 points.

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