Advocacy takes many forms in the bicycle world. One of Australia’s most influential cycling advocates, Gillian Duncan, sadly passed away from cancer recently.
Gillian led the cause of legitimising mountain bike trail access in Brisbane, and was the founder of Gap Creek Trails Alliance.
In partnership with Mark Roberts she published the seminal book ‘Where to MTB in South-East Queensland’, which predated online resources, and was a breakthrough in listing all the legitimate trail experiences available.
Gillian was softly-spoken and smiled often, but her gentle exterior only slightly veiled her incredible tenacity and persistence. Below are some further tributes to Gillian, from people who worked closely with her over the years.
Chris Maierhofer (trail builder, mountain biker):
Gillian was a true trail blazer. An instigator, agitator, and advocate; she was tenacious, patient, and strategic.
She shaped the path of mountain biking not only Gap Creek but regionally and nationally. From shaping the direction and construction of trails on ground to being instrumental in bringing IMBA to Australia and helping to author the first ever Australian Mountain bike national trail guidelines and being president of Mountain Bike Australia.
Mark Roberts (mapmaker, book publisher):
During the last 12 years, Gillian and I created 5 books in 11 editions and sold 42,000 copies – 20 tonnes of books! I am proud to have collaborated with Gillian and very proud of what we made together.
Rob George (Roadie Rob, mtb coach and trail builder):
We lost the original driving force of mountain biking and women’s mountain biking in Brisbane when Gillian Duncan passed away.
Without her I can’t imagine mountain biking in Brisbane and also my own businesses wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are today.
She approached me in the early 2000s to tell me that mountain biking was going to be part of the Real Adventure Women’s program and asked if I would run it.
She was always pushing for new mountain bike trails, and boy did she have to fight hard for that, she copped heaps of flack, but she absolutely never backed off.
Mountain biking has lost one of our great leaders this week but she will always be remembered.
Please when you’re riding your favourite trail, remember Gillian because there is a good chance she had a big part in the reason why it’s there.
Vale Gillian Duncan will be deeply missed but never forgotten.
Why do I have a list? Someone once asked me how many kilometres I was aiming to ride the next year. It’s something I’d never thought about. I ride my bike for fun and fitness, and while I find numbers fascinating to look back over the course of a year, like how far or how much elevation I’ve ridden, I don’t set out to achieve a goal distance, elevation or fastest time. I feel it takes the enjoyment out of riding.
However, there were a few things I had always wanted to do but I never seemed to get around to doing. That’s when I started having a goals list. I found if I put something on a list it forced me to plan and make time to accomplish it. It started out with riding each section of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) and grew from there. Running 6 km non-stop to running each section of the BVRT, riding 100 miles to riding 200 km and so forth.
It’s not just about a list of things to do. It’s also about challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone and grow; to achieve things I never thought I could, because I didn’t think I had the ability, fitness, stamina or because I was too scared to try. Like riding up Mt Coot-tha – I met some great people through Brisbane Chicks Who Ride Bikes, and with their help, me and a few others rode our first loop of Mt Coot-tha. I went from being scared of giving it a go, to riding back segment repeats and looping around it for 100km. It now feels like my second home.
I have always been scared of heights, especially when I’m not standing on solid ground. I’m generally okay climbing up something but coming down is a whole other story. I am not agile and my legs turn to jelly!
I’ve ridden over the Story Bridge many times, plus on the boardwalks and bikeways around it. It’s certainly an icon of the Brisbane skyline, especially at night. I knew you could climb the bridge, but I had never seen anyone climbing it. This year it made my goals list. Was I scared? Absolutely, but I was going to give it a crack!
It’s always fun to impose my goals on others when I can, so I recruited my husband and teenage boys who are also scared of heights. The promise of lunch afterwards helped. I booked a day climb and was able to take advantage of the kids climb free with an adult offer. Love a good bonus! Before climb day I happened to ride over the bridge one afternoon and, for the first time, saw climbers! They were at a standstill on some steep steps, and I started having second thoughts – I don’t want to stop while climbing, I need to keep moving! Too late because it was booked and paid so I couldn’t wimp out now!
Climb day arrived and we stepped into our harnesses and bridge climb outfits – grey and blue to match the bridge and sky so drivers aren’t distracted. “Who’s scared of heights?” the climb leader asked. My hand was quickest to rise. She was an awesome climb leader, giving clear instructions and allaying most of my fears. In particular, it was good to know how far underground the bridge was supported. I can confirm it’s a very solid structure; no wobbling or vibrating.
We started our climb up those steep steps I had seen the climbers on a few weeks before. Everyone is clipped into the railing at that point, hence the standstill while the final climbers are clipped in. If you’re scared of heights, go towards the back of the group, but not last. The steepness of the steps lessens further up, but as we ascended, I wasn’t looking forward to climbing down face-forward.
The climb leader kept checking in with me, so I shot back a thumbs up to confirm all was okay. The view from the top is amazing and well worth the fear of the climb. We were educated on all things to do with the bridge. I won’t give too much away because I thoroughly recommend you do the climb, but it was very interesting to know that of the over 1.25 million rivets, inserted by hand, only 1 has had to be replaced since it was built around 85 years ago. If that doesn’t give you confidence the bridge is not going to collapse while you’re climbing it, nothing will.
I enjoyed it so much I will head back one day for the twilight climb. I might leave the kids home though. There’s only so much “Mum, are your shoelaces tied up?” jokes I can take in their attempt to make me look down through the gaps in the steel at the traffic passing underneath.
As always, don’t stand still – keep challenging yourself and step outside of your comfort zone. Find others to support, encourage and join you on your journey. There’s still a lot more on my list this year, what about yours?
For more information about riding Mt Coot-tha, along with other great places to ride throughout Queensland head to on our Where to Ride page.
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to cover yourself with a value packed BQ membership.
We are excited to announce we’ve partnered with RACQ to provide roadside assistance solutions to people using e-scooters, e-bikes, bicycles, mobility scooters, wheelchairs, and other eligible devices. Bicycle Queensland members can now access an exclusive discount on the RACQ Everyday Lite product.
Rebecca Randazzo, Bicycle Queensland CEO, says, “We are excited to partner with RACQ. This new offering will enable more people to safely access micro-mobility options.”
RACQ Everyday Lite is roadside assistance for those who use bikes, scooters, and other eligible devices. Benefits include:
Cover your e-scooters, e-bikes, bicycles, mobility scooters, wheelchairs, and other eligible devices
Get up to 4 call outs per year
RACQ will arrange alternative transport per call-out
RACQ will tow your eligible device 10km in any direction if taxi, rideshare, or maxi taxi options aren’t applicable
Bicycle Queensland members can access the discount on the new Everyday Lite product by logging into the member portal and following the prompts.
Work will soon be commencing on a shared pathway in Minnippi Parklands, between Porters Paddock Park carpark and Bulimba Creek pedestrian bridge.
Construction start date will be Monday 13 March and work is expected to be completed by early May (weather permitting).
The pathway on the eastern side of the Lake loop will be closed during construction. The detour will advise pedestrians and cyclists to travel via the western side of the lake as shown in the map below.
Our Membership Coordinator, Amanda, decided to add learning how to swim to her goals list! Her recap is below.
Learning how to swim as an adult is probably the second hardest thing behind parenting (in my opinion). There’s so much to concentrate on – the right action, how fast or slow should I kick my legs and move my arms, staying afloat, and most importantly, taking in air and not water.
My first memory of swimming is of a four year old me, wearing floaties in my neighbour’s pool. I would hang out at the shallow end, although I do remember feeling like a big girl when I made it to the deep end. My formal swimming training growing up consisted of five hours once a year in primary school. I learnt to tread water and tried all the different strokes. Everything was ticked as satisfactory so maybe the instructors had some confidence I could keep afloat.
Fast forward a few decades to 2017, and I entered the Brisbane Triathlon Pink – the ultra distance because it had the longest bike ride – 16km! Apart from raising money for a good cause, you swim in a pool, can use a noodle, and walk as much of the run as you want! I couldn’t swim freestyle, but I had my version of breaststroke. I was last out of the pool and got a big cheer from the next wave of entrants. Maybe they were encouraging me; maybe they were excited they could finally start their race!
For my 2022 goals list, I added three swimming lessons. After contacting a few places without luck, I was about to give up when I was given the details of a coach. I started weekly lessons one night after work and in addition committed to two sessions of ‘homework’ each week.
My poor coach. Had he known what he was in for, he probably wouldn’t have taken me on. I turned up in a long-sleeved rashie and gym shorts, couldn’t swim 25m freestyle with flippers and probably consumed more than 8 glasses of chlorinated water each swim. While I consider myself to be fit, swimming fitness is another level – I was so out of breath!
Coach quickly identified I needed a nose clip and I changed the terminology from swimming to ‘not drowning’ lessons. He was very patient and tried to teach me gradually. I couldn’t get the hang of turning my head to get air, so I learnt how to corkscrew down the pool – two freestyle, two backstroke. The light bulb moment was when he said “imagine you’re taking a nap on your arm”. I was terrible at kickboard drills, in particular one arm drills because I had to figure out which side to breathe on, and anything that involved counting. I learnt many things, like elegant fingers, trying to breathe on both sides and imagining I was swimming through a field of flowers! We gave somersaults a go, but they were not for me.
Eventually I went from having to stop three times in a 25m lane with flippers to no stopping – still gasping for air at the end. It took quite a while to achieve this, but the next big milestone was 25m without flippers. I never thought I would see the day I could make it 50m without flippers, but the morning I did, I was super proud. Apparently you’re supposed to ‘feel the water’. I’m still trying to figure out what this means, because I certainly have felt the water – going down my throat and up my nose.
I tried open water swimming in October in the mates and family wave of the Noosa 1000 Ocean Swim. It was super choppy but there I was with my flippers and nose piece giving it a go. I was so out breath swimming to the first buoy that I didn’t have the confidence to freestyle, which I was disappointed about, but swimming with an encouraging person got me through. I have another open water swim on my list this year – let me know if you have any suggestions about which one! I have also thought about a long distance triathlon next year where first timers can use flippers, but I’m not committing – yet.
There have been so many times I wanted to stop learning how to swim. Slow progress and constant overthinking about why am I doing it, I don’t have to do it, it’s too hard, I’ll never get the hang of it. However, I’ve realised that I don’t have to be good at it, and it’s okay if progress is slow and to keep using swimming aids. Maybe my purpose has now changed from learning how to swim to swimming as best I can with the ability and tools I have. At the end of the day, swimming is a good cross-training activity for bike riders, providing low impact, whole-body exercise while maintaining endurance for riding.
During February I’m taking part in the Starlight Super Swim, raising money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation to put a smile on the faces of sick kids. My target is to swim 7km and raise $500. You can track my progress or donate here!
As always, keep challenging yourself and never give up – unless you hit your head on the pool wall doing backstroke. Then it’s time to get out for the day and try again later.
If swimming is not your thing, you might like to try other cross-training activities that will benefit your bike riding such as running, hiking, strength training, yoga or pilates. Depending on the activity, these will help build your core, overall strength and fitness and bone density!
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to cover yourself with a value packed BQ membership.
If you ride a bike in Brisbane, chances are you’ve ridden one of the several versions of the River Loop. Our Membership Coordinator, Amanda, decided to add running the river loop to her goals list for 2022. Her recap is below!
When I was building up my running fitness for the Sunshine Coast 70.3 in September, I decided I wanted to put it to use for at least one more long run after the event. On my regular Brisbane river loop ride, I kept seeing the same group of people running in the opposite direction in the Chelmer area. So, thanks to that group of runners wearing intraining singlets, running the shortest and least hilly version of the river loop went on my goals list for 2022.
I rode a recce of the version I had in mind, and it measured around 27km. The longest distance I had run previously was 23.5km along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. Running all sections of the BVRT was on last year’s list! My river loop version was only a half marathon with a park run tacked on. What could go wrong?
I planned to run the loop 2 weeks after the 70.3. Recovery wasn’t great after the event but I managed a couple of 5km runs in the lead up to the loop.
Starting at ‘Florence’ the Kombi at Southbank, I headed across the Goodwill bridge for an anti-clockwise loop. I never felt comfortable during the run. It was about 5km to the Regatta ferry terminal but it felt like 20km. I kept plodding but was dreading those hills at the Indooroopilly golf course!
I kept up the gels, Gatorade and water. By the time I got to Tennyson with about 8km to go, I started having knee issues, so I stopped and stretched. Determined not to walk, I took the shortcut to the Corso past the pink house and the AFL fields. I met up with my husband and he ran the last 6km with me. Every 500m of those last 6km I had to stop and stretch my knee. Definitely still not walking until the Kombi! I was 200m short of 27km, so naturally had to keep going to round it up.
I’m now working on my 2023 goals. Do you have anything on your list? Keep stepping outside of your comfort zone and challenging yourself!
Bicycle Queensland members Nellie and Richard Logan embarked on a bike ride of more than 4000km over 28 days, to help raise funds for children facing poverty. Read the recount of their amazing journey below:
On 17th September 2022, Richard and I headed out with a team of 22 cyclists and 15 support crew from Cottesloe Beach, Perth to begin a 28-day ride across Australia. Our final destination was Bar Beach in Newcastle NSW, 4200km away and our goal was to raise $1 million for Compassion’s Critical Needs Fund and see 150 children sponsored.
We were an odd assortment of riders from all over the country, some had done this ride previously and others had never ridden in a group. A few cyclists used to race in their younger days, one even at an elite level. One man had ridden across a few continents. Then some had never done a multi-day ride before training for this event. Our backgrounds varied from businesspeople to teachers to physios to working in IT, we were a mix of ages and sizes.
The accommodation was also a bit of a mix. We would find ourselves in caravan park cabins, or roadhouse motels (sometimes squished in because there weren’t enough rooms to accommodate us). Many times we would be bunking down together in church halls or sports centres. Occasionally we got billeted out to locals. We stayed in a few delightful old buildings, such as the Catholic Convent in Coolgardie, a beautiful 120-year-old plus property in Muswellbrook, and the town hall at Burra that is now a museum.
There were many tests along the way, headwinds of 30kph, crosswinds up to 50kph, sickness, rain and rain mixed with coal dust (we were filthy dirty that day). Even icy winds coming straight off the Southern Ocean. There were long days in the saddle, sometimes arriving just as the sun set. We dodged kangaroos, emus, and snakes on the roads, we came across the occasional cranky truckie who would decide to pull in a little too soon after overtaking. There were plenty of highlights, seeing the beautiful landscapes, like the green rolling hills near Burra, meeting the townsfolk who would openly welcome us and feed us.
Each morning Richard would give us the numbers for the day, distances to each stop and the elevation report. We’d also get a weather report and a reading of a child story. These child stories would tell us of the hardships faced by children living in poverty and how Compassion has made a difference in their lives. These child stories were powerful reminders to us of why we were riding.
Riding along the highways and through the towns sparked plenty of interest. Truckies would honk in encouragement, some would even ask how to donate. Caravanners would come and visit us in the evenings, telling us they had passed us along the way and would then give us a donation to the cause. Sometimes people would even pull up on the side of the road to pass on a donation. Richard had a local come and chat with him one lunchtime. The guy told him not to leave town just yet, the fellow took off and came back 10 minutes later with some cash in his hand. In Port Pirie, the local bakery donated pallets of bread and donuts to the team after one of the team members popped in for a pie and told them what we were up to. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of people and their kind hearts.
We met plenty of characters along the way. 10-year-old Ethan from Minnipa was quite enamoured with what we were doing, he rocked up on his bike the morning we were leaving Minnipa. One of the team gave him their jersey, Ethan put on his new jersey, jumped on his bike, and led us out of Minnipa, despite the rain. We later heard from his Mum that Ethan had been saving for a phone but he would now like to donate his savings to the children of Compassion.
Then there was 84-year-old Doris. We met Doris in Parkes at a church meeting, and she also came down to see us off. Doris was on her red push bike, and once again led the team out!
One of the most heartfelt was meeting Linda from Kenya. She told us that her brother had been sponsored through Compassion and proceeded to tell us how it had made a difference to her brother and their family. We also found out that this woman was born in the same town as one of our support crew. Wow, to hear first-hand the work of Compassion.
Our last days were our biggest in elevation and some of our longest in kilometres. We had to cross the range to reach the coast, and what a welcome we received as we road into Bar Beach! The footpath was full of friends and family and all the Compassion Staff from all over the country, there to greet us and cheer us in. It was a very emotional moment. We had done it, we had made the journey across Australia. We fostered awareness of the great work Compassion does in developing nations, and we had raised much-needed funds for children living in poverty. We aim to reach $1 million, the current tally is almost $950,000.
Thank you Bicycle Queensland and members for your support.
Nellie and Richard are keen to reach their target by the end of 2022. To help break the cycle of poverty you can sponsor a child or donate to Compassion’s Critical Needs Fund.
If you’d like to become a member and help support more people riding more often, join us here.
The Bicycle Queensland (BQ) board and members gathered online on September 22 for the Annual General meeting. The Annual report can be accessed here.
BQ welcomes Richard Buning to the board. Richard has a love for all things cycling. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise both as a bike rider and academic expert in active lifestyle. In his role as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland Business school, his research interests reside at the intersection of physical activity, travel, and events. Outside of work, Richard can be found pursuing his passions of mountain biking, running, rock climbing, and hiking.
The board thanks departing directors, Rob van Manen, Audine Bartlett, and Craig Davis for their years of service to BQ. The board wishes to acknowledge the leadership, care, and commitment of Rob van Manen who has served as a management committee member, President, and Chair of BQ over the past four and half years.