Rachael Nicholls - our bike riding Sporty Sista
We’re excited to introduce the March #SportySista Rachael Nicholls – A Gear Up Girl Ambassador and professional bike rider in training! This is one young girl to watch! Let’s hear how Rachael got started…
“I have ridden a bike all of my life, starting in the baby seat on my Dad's bike. When I was 9 I discovered an event called the Great Cycle Challenge where I raised money for Children's Cancer Research whilst challenging myself on how many km's I could ride in a month. That was when the cycling bug hit. In the five years I have raised over $5000 and ridden over 2850 km.
My challenges have continued through Gear Up Girl, including last year when I was the ‘last rider’ for the event and rode the most kms I had ever done in a single ride…60km! My next challenge was at Spring Cycle where I rode 105km! Last year I took on the 40km Gear Up Girl route to encourage new riders in my cycling club.
Now, at the age of 13 I’m learning how to race both on the road and velodrome. From time to time I also teach other riders bike maintenance and riding skills.
I hope one day I become a professional bike rider and beyond that, help and mentor other new riders.
I love the challenge of cycling and the adventures it takes me on. I can be with my Dad on an overnight riding adventure through the Blue Mountains, or beating him up the hills of the M7 Cycle way. I love the challenge of learning how to race and to actually race. I love the feeling of freedom that cycling gives me and is the best thing for clearing my head. I’ve made new friends and I love how we can share in a little healthy competition and then have a good laugh afterwards.
If you prefer riding with friends, encourage them to come along with you. Find a park, choose an easy ride and start there.”
Rachael’s Top Tips for Cycling:
Find some friends or family to ride with. Or if you prefer, ride by yourself! - The great thing about riding a bike is that you don't have to wait for an organised activity or game. You can just get on your bike, ride with friends or even by yourself when you need to get away from school work or that annoying little sister.
Get a good quality bike - Any safe bike is a good bike, but you will enjoy it more if you have one that is properly fitted to you! Don't go buying a bike because it is cheap. By spending a few extra dollars you will not only end up with a bike that will last longer, but is also more enjoyable and easier to ride. A lighter bike also makes it easier to load into cars and carry upstairs, as well as riding up that steep hill too.
Find a good bike shop - There are some great bike shops around, find one that is very supportive and helpful, just like mine. Most bike shops will help you find a bike for your wants, needs and dreams. A good bike shop will also fit your bike to you once you have purchased it and even encourage you in your bike riding endeavours.
Try new things - Bike riding isn't all about lycra or riding on the road. Try mountain biking on a fire trail or even go for an overnight bike ride when you are confident enough. Try the local BMX track or check out the local velodrome or try riding with the local cycling club. You will find that you will be very welcome and they are very encouraging. If that seems a bit out of reach for you, then find a safe track and ride with your friends.
Explore new places - There are heaps of off road cycleways or shared paths around Sydney. Check out Mountain Bike Trails in NSW or RailTrails Australia with some great places to explore. I did the Fernleigh Track a couple of years ago with my family and had an awesome day!
Join a local BUG (Bicycle User Group) or Cycling Club - You'll be amazed at the encouragement you get and the amount of riding buddies you can find. They have many organised rides for all different riding abilities.
Make small achievable, fun challenges - My favourite is beating Dad up the hill to win a slurpee. I even beat him in a local race once and earnt 2 slurpee's.
Stop at the coffee shop with your friends - If they have mango smoothies that's even better and if it's a long ride it makes a good break in the middle of the ride.
Instead of catching the bus to the shops, ride to the shops - Find an off road and back street route and ride your bike (Google maps is a good way to start planning your trips, just use the cycling option).
Learn basic maintenance - It's easier than you think and will save you a long walk home. My nine year old sister can change a tyre. Have a look on YouTube as there are plenty of videos there.
View activities to find your calling.
Page last updated: 06 Apr 2018