Nicola Jane, 42

How long have you been riding for and what got you into riding?

First season! I've always loved riding as a passenger, but wanted the freedom and control of being in the saddle. It is the closest thing I have felt to being able to fly.

What kind of impact had riding had for you? Has riding helped you to overcome a hardship in your life, if yes how?

Learning to ride was one of the hardest things I've ever done, it did not come easy or naturally to me. I had to dig deep and commit to the process, I had to suck at it to get better at it. It's taught me to let go of the idea of being perfect, it's taught me to trust and ask for help, and it's taught me that it's ok to not know how to do something. I avoided trying things that I couldn't be perfect at, overcoming my fears, my hesitations and my anxieties by learning to ride has made me feel humbled, proud, and free in more ways than I can describe here. I'm empowered and capable. I was a long time runner who has now suffered too many injuries to be able to run anymore. The loss of running and my identity as a runner caused deep grief for me. Finding my way to riding has helped me heal that part of myself, it's given me the same sense of freedom that I had running all the trails, and it's given me a new piece of my identity.

Do you prefer to ride solo or groups and why?

I prefer solo rides or riding with my partner, Adam. When I ride solo, I enjoy the silence and the concentration of navigating the roads. I've always tended to solo activities and this is similar to me. I feel that once I'm more confident in my riding skills, I will want to ride with smaller groups, the feeling of acceptance and belonging to a group is appealing to me.

What kind of bike do you have and why? What kind of riding do you do or have you done? (Dirt, off road/enduro, road trips etc.)

My first bike is Fred, he's a Suzuki TU250x. I wanted to start small and manageable to get the handling and slow speed maneuvers under control. But I love the classic/retro styling and will want to continue with that look and feel. I've only been riding on the road, lots of day trips, but I feel a long road trip is in my future!

What's been your favorite or most memorable riding experience

There have been so many! Being able to ride the Sunshine Coast with Adam and realizing that I can take all those corners, I had to stop fighting against them and lean in. Also, the week after I passed my road test, I rode to Harrison by myself. It was a major accomplishment for me, I set out not knowing what I would face, but feeling confident that I would be able to navigate it!

Future riding goals/ plans?

I've been riding for four months and four thousand kilometres, I want to keep on going! Ultimately, I'd love to accomplish a multi-day road trip and see places I've never seen from the saddle!

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