We were so thrilled when Teresa got in touch with us to talk about the possibility of becoming a She Rides mountain bike leader in Tasmania. Renowned as an outdoor adventurer’s paradise for its rugged, untouched landscape, getting a MTB coach to run She Rides in Tassie has always been high on our priority list. Read on to hear a bit more about Teresa’s journey in to mountain bike riding, and what you can expect from mountain biking in Tasmania.
Words by Teresa Wilson.
Tasmania is definitely in the midst of a mountain biking boom (who hasn’t heard of Derby?!). I might be a bit biased, but I think what makes Tasmania most wonderful for mountain biking is the rugged, remote, scenic landscape that is so accessible from the city-life of places like Launceston, Hobart and Devonport.
I haven’t always been a mountain biker, and it wasn’t until 2009, after a 20-year hiatus, when our family moved into a new house about 8km from work that my husband and I thought this was a good distance for cycling home – so we did (occasionally). Then one day a friend mentioned that they had started going to a local fun race with the mountain bike club – that got me thinking. I had been looking for something that our whole family could do together to have fun and keep fit. My husband and I had been running regularly, but while I had gotten some fitness and enjoyment out of running but it was never really me. So off we went to the mountain biking! Five years later we all still ride for fun and fitness, spending weekends at Derby and my oldest son and I still enjoy the occasional race to keep our adrenaline going!
Then one day my husband and I came up with a really crazy idea, how about we ride from Leh to Manali in the Indian Himalayas? We had visited Nepal a few times and thought it was a great way to go back to the Himalayas but experience it in a completely different way. The trip was about 650km on mainly gravel roads reaching a maximum elevation of about 5300m. We did the trip over 8 days riding through some very arid countryside with dramatic mountains inhabited by mainly nomadic mountain people moving through the area in the summer months. Would you believe we didn’t get a puncture the whole way – but we did get mild altitude sickness and Delhi belly! This trip was extremely challenging physically and emotionally but at the finish, we had a wonderful sense of achievement, made even greater by the success of or pre-ride fundraising effort for our chosen charities Make a Wish Australia and The Himalayan Foundation.
I may not be the fastest person on the track but I find I can tackle loads of tricky courses and really enjoy the challenge. I am also proud of how bike riding has opened up friendships for me, and of the teaching and encouragement I have given others. I just love the challenge of and the feeling I get when I get over something that I couldn’t before.
I have always been an outdoors person having bush-walked a large proportion of Tasmania over the years, so I love going to some of the more remote trails around Tasmania and getting that wilderness feeling, it’s like a bushwalk but faster! Launceston itself has two areas with designated mountain bike tracks, Trevallyn Reserve and Kate Reed Reserve. These areas are quite hilly and rocky so can be quite challenging. We also have plenty of off-road tracks, a lot of which are levy banks along the side of our rivers. These tracks are now linked quite nicely and provide great opportunities for commuting and fitness training. Launceston is also a convenient weekend trek (1.5hr) from the Blue Derby trails.
When I’m out on my bike nothing else matters. There’s no housework, no work issues, no kids (usually) just loads of air, me and my bike.