day of week

Riding my bike on the FREEWAY!

24 March 2013

This morning I woke up at 4am to participate in the RAC Freeway Bike Hike for Asthma :)

It was a huge cycling event where the South-bound freeway was closed off and 10,000 cyclists rode distances of 10km, 30kms and 70kms.

I rode the 70kms distance, starting at Mandurah and riding all the way into the city. It was my first time doing this event and I was super keen to do this ride – particularly because I’ve always wanted to ride on the FREEWAY!

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

As I said, I woke up at 4am… then I had a hot shower (because I’m precious ok?). I gathered my things and made my way to a Southern train station to catch the 5:45am train to Mandurah.

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

Unfortunately there were a few hold ups. The trains were running a bit late because of the sheer number of cyclists.

We stood on the crowded platform for 1 hour. It was soooo cold (14°C I think). Everyone else seemed so big, buff and stoic in their skin tight, short-sleeve lycra tops and little cycle shorts. But my teeth were chattering and my hands were shaking. I had to walk around to stop my body from shaking.

Eventually the train arrived. Everyone seemed to know HOW to fit hundreds of cyclists into a 4 car train carriage. I just went with the flow.

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

Everyone lifted their bikes to a vertical position, and wheeled them in slowly, while shuffling along clumsily, as if they were negotiating a baby pet giraffe.

We all sat there, crammed together, shoulder-to-fricking-shoulder, holding our vertical bikes between our legs. We were so close and tightly packed, that I wondered what would happen if the bikes fell like dominoes.

My handlebars were bumping into my head. My bike saddle was pushing into my chest. And my water bottle was dripping onto my shoe. It was a really strange moment.

However I thought that the bikes made a beautiful pattern, like a woven wheel herringbone.

We arrived at our destination.

Word got around that the start time was going to be a little later than planned, because of the train delays. So I zipped off for a quick toilet stop. Unfortunately, about 50 people had the same idea.

I joined the queue to the women’s toilets… and I noticed – for the first time EVER – that the queue for the MEN’S TOILETS was longer than the queue for the women’s toilets.

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

The ride went off smoothly. And I had an AMAZING RIDE. It was just bloody brilliant :)

Flat, flat, FLAT, super smooth roads for 70kms straight!! The weather ended up to be perfect (29°C), and there was a light breeze coming up behind us, pushing us along. It was one of the nicest rides I’ve had, to date.

I didn’t ride in a group this time. I wanted to cruise along at my own speed, as I hadn’t really trained up for doing 70kms in one go, and I wasn’t sure how fast or hard I wanted to push myself. Besides, I enjoy riding by myself. And I did join some strangers and chatted to a few people during the ride, so it was a lovely balance.

At one point I rode 15-20kms cruising at 28-32kms/hour… which is the longest I’ve ridden at that speed. So I was pretty happy.

I cycled 60kms straight without stopping once (have never done that before). I stopped for 2 minutes to get a water bottle refilled and to adjust my bike computer. And finished the last 10kms with ease.

RAC Freeway Bike Hike 2013

As I approached the finish line, I felt so pleased!

I rested up, ate some food, enjoyed the sunshine, then instead of riding home, I caught the train again haha.

I wanted to do it all over again next week :)  Unfortunately, the government only makes the freeway available ONCE a year.

So, I’ll definitely be doing it next year, maybe with a group.

The event raised an estimated $150,000 for the Asthma Foundation WA – very cool!