Aotearoa Bike Challenge – Queenstown Wahine tell us Why biking is awesome

Jan Anderson

As part of the Aotearoa Bike Challenge, Queenstown women have been telling us why they’re on their bikes. The final instalment comes from regular cyclist and former high school Principal, Jan Anderson. 

Why do I like to bike? I love floating down the Gibbston Trail on my mountain bike with the shiny blue Kawarau River on my left and the random rabbits sprinting in front of me. It is as good as skimming down Greengates on my skis. Mountain biking enables me to access the backcountry, river trails and lakes. Cycling has given me the opportunity to bike from Lake Ohau to Oamaru and to explore remote areas near Tekapo, Hawea and Wānaka. I also find that the simple rides around the Wakatipu basin are very relaxing and lots of fun.

I do like biking with a group of people. Each Monday a group of local women, the Cruisers, meet to ride trails from Arrowtown or Frankton. This is always followed by a coffee. This group of women also enjoy doing away rides like the Lake Dunstan Trail and Clyde to Doctor’s Point.

When I have travelled, cycling has given me superb opportunities to avoid tourist hotspots and find local people and villages. I have cycled the Canal du Midi and the Burgundy Canal in France. Cycling enabled my husband and I to explore the dunes and lighthouses on Cape Cod.

I do have to admit that for three or four days a week in summer, I like to ride a road bike. I love to bunch ride with a small group, rotating the lead so that everyone in the group is comfortable with the pace.

I like to ride for pleasure but I cannot ignore the fitness that regular biking achieves. No matter what age you are, biking three or four times a week improves breathing, cardio function and muscle strength. It is also great for freeing up hip joints and keeping the body supple. And needless to say, the calories you burn in a two hour bike ride, help to manage your weight. You get the best fitness advantage if you stay on a push bike or sweat bike. But the Ebike enables many people to stay out on the trails as they age or have health issues. There are a good number of women in the Wakatipu, who are in their 60’s and 70’s, who are riding really well on mountain bikes and road bikes without e-assist.

Get out there and get riding!