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Amy's Ride

In memory of Amy Gillett and in support of the Amy Gillett Foundation

Amy's Ride Website

A day of perfect weather and a wonderful atmosphere in an interlude to the Jayco Bay Series races provided 3000 participants in the first Amy's Ride in support of the Amy Gillett Foundation.

With a choice of distances, plus road or MTB, riders of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels completed the rides. 


WomensCycling.net editor, CJ Farquharson, did the 45km ride and reflects on the experience below: 

Amy's Ride was a wonderful experience - it was the first time that I had ridden my bike in 2006 and indeed for several weeks prior....   There was a great atmosphere in the Botanical Gardens in Geelong as riders queued up, waiting to collect their Amy's Ride jersey and Amy Gillett Foundation bracelet. As everyone made their way to the start line, which filled with people and their bikes from 08:45am onwards, there were smiles and chatter - it was one of those days which will remain in my memory as heartwarming; there was no pushing or shoving, or guarding starting positions. People happily moved out of the way to allow others to get close to friends in the queues for the start. There was a subdued excitement about the kilometres to come and yet an awareness of the significance of the ride. 

There were two of us in the WomensCycling.net 'party', but even before we crossed the start line, we were amongst friends - people were relaxed and chatting - "where are you from?" "which ride are you doing?" (the 45km or the 120km) "isn't the weather great" - banter between strangers which got the ball rolling.... 

The ride was led out by Simon Gillett - Amy's husband, Dennis and Mary Safe - her parents and just behind were Amy's injured team-mates, Alexis Rhodes, Kate Nichols. Then there were current AIS riders including Oenone Wood, Sara Carrigan, Olivia Gollan, Kate Mactier and many more, who rode in the huge peleton with the general public. Warren MacDonald and his wife, Sian were there too, as was Phil Liggett. Just up the road, spectating on a corner was Skye-Lee Armstrong's mother - Skye Lee was somewhere in the 3000-strong group too......  

As we crossed the start line, the other injured team-mates who are not yet riding bikes, Lorian Graham, Katie Brown and Louise Yaxley, were perched on the barriers watching the stream of riders go past. It was here that Lorian Graham got her own back for all the times that I have pointed a camera lens in her direction- "I've got to get a picture of you on a bike!", she laughed and took the photo.

For the enthusiastic non-cyclists amongst us, the 45km ride was not easy - as anyone who has ridden out to Portarlington from Geelong can tell you. The road rolls up and down, although the first climb seems to be the worst. The route took us off the main road and through some nice residential areas before turning around and heading back for Geelong. With a headwind against us on the way out and the need for some more water for the bottles, we stopped in the town of Drysdale (with hundreds of others) for a coffee and a quick rest too. Here again, the wonderful atmosphere continued. The cafes did their best to keep the cups of coffee coming and riders shared tables with strangers - more impromptu chatter. 

All too soon, it was time to climb back on board the bikes and head to the finish. I was on my 'best bike' - an aluminium and carbon frame and forks, equipped with a Campagnolo Chorus groupset. I stopped racing just after I finished building it up and so it doesn't come out of the garage very often. I thought about what to ride and there seemed only one answer on this day - to honour Amy by riding it. My scruffy training bike would have been a more comfortable ride for my unfit body, but this day deserved the best.

We spent some time on the final few kilometres in the company of the Dennis and Mary Safe - it was an honour to ride with them. They had been training for a couple of months prior in order to be able to complete the ride and I can tell you, it showed - they kept up quite a pace on the hills!

The finish came soon enough - I was pleased to get there. My bottom reminded me that its better to ride little and often to keep it accustomed to the saddle, whilst my shoulders were a bit stiff too. I have been fitter in the past - a combination of work and an injured ankle mid-2005 conspired to keep me off my bike in 2005 - something which I intend to rectify in 2006. Time will tell. I promised myself, though, if I only ride my back once a year, it will be on this day. Personally the fact that I dragged myself around the ride, even in my current state was a way of honouring Amy and acknowledging the courage show by Alexis, Kate, Katie, Louise and Lorian on their road back to fitness.  

Amy's Ride is a chance to ride with friends, old and new, to participate in a reminder to all road users of the need for safety, to remember Amy and to demonstrate an empathy for all those affected by the tragedy in Germany in 2005. If you only get on your bike once a year - make it this ride......  


CJ - WomensCycling.net


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