La Ridley retreat; interviewing six absolute stars

La Ridley retreat

Over the weekend of September 15-17, a group of six women joined me for a weekend retreat in Warburton, Victoria. You can read all about it here:

Belle & Kat. Photo by Paul Spurling.



Over the weekend, I asked each of the riders to answer three questions. Every person is unique. They each have their own story and their own reasons to ride. They have their own strengths and weaknesses. If you read below though, there are so many common themes to the responses.

“We have so much more in common, than we have differences”.

Sunny & Jemma.

Three questions

1. How did you get into riding?

Kat: As a kid, I never sat still and even when injured and unable to train for gymnastics, I needed to move. The bike allowed me to keep moving and it was something my family did.

Belle: As an adult, I begun to commute to work with my brother. A little over a year later I bought my first road bike to complete a 210 km gran condo and haven’t looked back

Sunny: It’s a bit of a blur, but I purchased my first ever roadie right after graduating high school. This was less than two years ago. I had the intention of exploring the world through a new perspective whilst simultaneously improving my non-existent fitness. I had zero clues as to what I was doing and started riding around the neighbourhood at first, and slowly started venturing further out of my comfort zone by joining a few local group rides.

Jemma: I was inspired by the amount of people I saw getting outdoors and realised that there must be a reason cycling is becoming increasingly popular. My curiosity got the better of me and I purchased an entry-level road bike with the intention of commuting to uni. Within a month, I was learning how to navigate the Adelaide Hills.

Rhonda: I started by commuting to uni, then friends in Australia introduced me to cycle touring. I’ve been riding the road less travelled ever since.

Philippa: My Dad and my sister both rode, so I gave it a crack back when I was 19. I was very sporadic, then I got a little more serious when I was 22 and took up mountain bike cross country (xc) racing.


2. Why do you love to ride?

Kat: There’re so many reasons. I guess my top reasons are for the exploration and the self-empowered aspects. There’s nothing better than taking a random right hand turn and pushing yourself up a hill to a view you never knew existed, knowing that you got yourself there makes it even better.

Belle: The bike is the ultimate freedom machine. It takes you to some great places and I’ve made great friends along the way.

Sunny: At first it was the high you get after your ride, the improvements you see in your self and your ability to ride further and further with less effort. Then it was the taste of adventure, the immersive challenges and the incredible people you meet and encounter. Now I’m at a point where I practically live to ride and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every single aspect of riding excites me whether its the incredible scenery, the thrills of hills, the pain, or the best thing of all, STRAVA!!

Jemma: Riding enables me to be outdoors surrounded by nature. I can head out on solo adventures or with company. I challenge myself mentally and physically to grow stronger on the bike. The friendships I have formed courtesy of my bike are irreplaceable.

Rhonda: It’s the best way to see the world. I’ve visited some incredible places, ridden some incredible tracks and seen many places that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see.

Philippa: I love the adrenaline rush and the physical challenge. It’s also a great way to discover new areas.


3. What were some of your highlights from the La Ridley Retreat weekend?

Kat: Sharing the adventure with some new friends, some old friends. The time off the bike was also great. Lots of laughs with like-minded people.

Belle: Riding through stunning scenery on new and challenging roads with a great group of women. It made for an awesome weekend!

Sunny: Where do I even start?! This retreat was probably one of the greatest adventures of my life so there was probably a highlight every hour of the day. But if I were to list a few it would have to be the STUNNING nature and alpine trees, the snow fights, the challenging yet most exhilarating Gran Fondo ever, the comical company, the Great La Ridley pizza relay, and the warm fire at the house.

Jemma: Exploring a part of Australia that I had not previously visited. Meeting people that are likeminded but have unique stories to tell, regarding life both on and off the bike. The laid-back nature of the retreat meant that this holiday was simultaneously relaxing yet provided the opportunity to grow as a rider by completing the most amount of elevation on a single ride.

Rhonda: Meeting a group of incredibly talented cyclists that have given me added motivation to improve my cycling fitness.

Philippa:  Meeting like-minded girls who loved to just get out there and have fun be it in the rain, sun or snow!


What were some of the common themes? I picked friendship, stunning scenery and a sense of adventure and challenge. This is what we came together for the La Ridley Retreat and this is what we achieved.

I recently wrote “Be someone who makes everybody feel like a somebody. So many people are caught up in their cliques. Expand your horizons and include someone new, you might just make their day and guess what, they might just make yours too”.

On your next ride, I challenge you to invite someone who you usually wouldn’t ride with or who isn’t usually part of that bunch. Not only are you then being more inclusive, you never know, they might turn into one of the best friends you’ve ever had, or just be another fun person to hang around with on the bike.

We have so much in common, simply by sharing a love for the bike.

I am extremely proud and I cannot wait to continue to inspire more women to join together and share in this amazing sport.

What can happen when you invite a few new people for a might just make a heap of new friends!


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