Sunday, January 3, 2010

Safe ride, Elke

A lovely German woman came doorknocking to our house tonight. The curry was cooking, I had a glass of wine going and was nose in a book and didn't expect anyone to come to the door. Nor did our dog who as usual went ballistic.

When I opened the door I saw a woman who would have been close to seventy, and she said she was seeking sponsorship to ride from Sydney to the Gold Coast on the Queensland border as part of a Rotary fundraising project. This is no easy ride. It's close to 1000 km and uphill a lot of the way. I was impressed by her strength of will and her fitness - no way would I contemplate a ride, and I'm easily a generation or so younger. T'other half and I scrounged through our wallets; we'd been grocery shopping today and were low on cash, but gave her what we had.

Her name is Elke, and Birman boycat Charley demanded to come outside and meet her too. While he charmed her we spoke about bikes and saddles and tyres. She's riding a hybrid bike with a gel saddle so I hope she doesn't feel too much pain if she spends long hours pedalling each day. She's been training around Sydney, which is a hilly place anyway, and has noticed the difference between suburbs; from where she lives which is pleasantly middle-class and where yobs don't break beer bottles in the gutters on Saturday nights, to the area where we live, and yobs do. I recommended Schwalbe Marathons, which she knows of, but didn't know where to get in Sydney (I told her a bike shop who sells them).

So, brave Elke, good luck on your marathon ride. May you ride safely, without incident, and may cars notice you and avoid you. You're braver and fitter than I, and I hope you make the journey in good health and importantly, without a sore bum!


  1. 1000 km on a hybrid? Oh my. The woman must be made of steel and I am beyond impressed!

    I busted my knees badly on an 80km ride on a "comfort bike" in Austria and had to be off cycling for 2 weeks taking anti-inflamatories. Won't touch any bike labeled "comfort" or "hybrid" again.

    But I do love the idea of being a sinewy, athletic and elegant 80 year old woman when I grow up - proficient at yoga, cycling cross country and such. I guess I better get started on that healthy lifestyle then , as I don't think my current one will lead me there.

  2. Hi Filigree, I did suggest to her (bearing in mind your comments on your marathon hybrid ride in Austria and the resulting knee problems) that perhaps a different sort of bike might be a better choice for such a ride. I hope she doesn't damage herself on the journey.

    I too long to be as fit as she is at the same age. We've sorta kinda started a healthy lifestyle in our house, but any healthy lifestyle for us has to include wine at dinner or else it's not mentally healthy ;-)