Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 16-09-2014 Contents Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 10
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ON THE BIKE
Jan pedals her way to healthy happiness
Jan McKenzie, 71, has just learnt to ride a bike and practises at her home in Shackleton Crescent, Mawson.
Photo: Matt Bedford
Pedal Power is giving Canberrans the
chance to get back on the bike with a
development program aimed at
women and people over 55.
The program is aptly named New
Horizons and has run twice a year for
Jan McKenzie, 71, graduated from
the course and said it was the best
thing she had ever done, even though
initially, at a height of five foot one
(1.55m), she couldn't even get on the
bike she had borrowed from a friend.
"I did a search on the internet for
bike for older person', and off I set to
find myself a bike,'' she said.
The search was successful and,
despite numerous falls throughout the
course -- and more recent trouble
navigating corners -- Jan has refused to
"I came off the bike quite often, I
had bruises everywhere but I
persevered and I got there . . . I think
I really enjoy the challenge of staying
on the bike," she said.
"It gave me lots of confidence and
the people at Pedal Power were so
patient with me . . . I went along and
got through it, and I finished the
Prior to starting the course, Jan had
not ridden in more than 60 years.
She recalls a distant memory of
receiving her first bicycle at age nine
from her father, and of him holding on
to the back of the seat as she tried to
"Idon'tthinkIwasverygood. . .
I really didn't ride at all," she said.
During the coming summer months,
Jan wants to try to ride every day.
"I still ride with groups and some
friends that I've met [from the course]
at least twice a week . . . it's been
really terrific for me."
Jan enjoys riding around Lake
Tuggeranong and wants to start using
her bike to cycle to the library.
"I'm really happy with my riding
and my skills are getting better the
more I do. The aim in summer is to
ride every day I can, just for half an
hour or an hour, for the exercise and
some fresh air. I just love it."
Pedal Power's New Horizons
program is accepting applications
for the next course starting
September 18. See
pedalpower.org.au to sign up.
We all need to
One of the lesser-known aspects of
Parliament House during sitting
weeks is the early morning sports
games that are played on the courts
and ovals surrounding the building.
These games -- widely participated
in by politicians, staff and public
servants from the house -- are one of
the few times during a sitting week
where there is no politics involved. It
is all about the game.
It was on the basketball court that
I got to know Ed Husic -- the member
for Chifley and a member of the
Labor Party. Our politics may differ,
but we have much in common. We
have similar Eastern European
immigrant backgrounds, young
families and, of course, similar jobs.
We are both ambassadors for R U
OK? Day, a national initiative that
encourages us all to reach out to
people in our lives and check in with
them to make sure they are OK.
Politics can be a ruthless and high-
pressure environment. But Ed and I
both recognise that, while we can
have passionate debates on TV, it is
important to check in with each other
and make sure we are OK.
Mental illness can strike anyone at
Last week I joined the final leg of
the R U OK?'s bus tour of the
country. Their crew have been
travelling across the country,
encouraging people to check in with
I encourage you all today to stop
and think about those people in your
life who might be struggling and
might need you to just askRUOK?
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