The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Sam cycles past all her old fears

- To register for the cycle challenge visit WITH DAMIEN STANNARD

SAM Squiers once thought as you did.

Cycling for fitness can be intimidati­ng. And don’t get her started on Lycra.

“I totally understand,” the health and fitness nut said as she leaned nonchalant­ly on her gleaming road bike.

“Many women aren’t confident about riding on their own and I was initially nervous about getting the Lycra on.”

Her message, however, is that pedal power can be a liberating experience and one best shared in a social ride with your mates out on the open road.

“I’ve always had bikes but it was only a few years ago I got into the Lycra side of it,” said Squiers. “I love the freedom of it. “I leave the racing side of it to my husband but I enjoy the rides we go on together and love the social side of it when I ride with friends.

“It’s safe and can be quite exhilarati­ng.

“When I took it up for exercise it was like taking the training wheels off for the first time.”

Squiers is now a regular on the streets of Brisbane and is encouragin­g women to follow her lead and register for the Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenge on October 18.

For the first time, Queensland’s biggest bike ride has created a women’s only category for the annual event.

Rather than splitting into bunches based on average speed, women can nominate to ride in a pack with other female cyclists for the 100km journey.

Noting figures from Bicycle Network that reveal less than 25 per cent of Australia’s riding population are women, organisers wanted to encourage a more friendly and safe environmen­t.

“There will be an area marked accordingl­y on the day so they can line up and start together,” Bicycle Queensland chief executive Ben Wilson said.

“We hope the group will continue to ride together to provide support and camaraderi­e to others who may need it along the way.

“This year we’re aiming to get more women involved than ever before to convince them of the long-term health benefits of cycling more often.”

The charity ride supports the Heart Foundation, starting at Brisbane’s South Bank and gifting participan­ts with a blissful, traffic-free 17km stint along the South East Busway.

After exiting the Busway the course then follows a com- bination of service and suburban roads all the way to the Broadwater Parklands at Southport.

For those not comfortabl­e about tackling the ton, there is also a 60km option.

 ??  ?? Picture: Mark Calleja
Picture: Mark Calleja

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