Jo Easson is the Weekly Rider! She's on the Cycling South Australia Women's Commission, hoping to help progress opportunities for female cyclists... Studying her final year of a Law degree... while working as a bicycle mechanic at Kmart...
Cover Image Mich Adventures
The Weekly Rider - Jo Easson from Adelaide, SA
To be honest I don't have one. I have never been particularly attached to specific brands but more the concept of a bike and what that bike allows you to do. What's missing from my collection is a mountain bike and I would love to have one that both lets me hit the trails and enables me to go bike touring. The Mawson Trail is on the list! A bike like that is so much more than a bike. It's your 4WD, your suitcase, your pantry, your electricity, your closest alliance and probably, at times of mechanical malfunction, your greatest enemy. The Flanders Berg all kitted out with bike bags would be super!
What is your favourite local ride
Christopher 'JBlood' Jongewaard runs one of my favourite rides. It's called Boom45. 45 refers to the fact it was initially a 45 minute loop of the Adelaide parklands on cross bikes but its currently transitioning to something closer to Boom60 or Boom75. It features loose corners, fast gravel sections, stairs, sprinklers (not fun on a cold winter morning) and of course, coffee. You get to hang onto Chris' wheel briefly before he inevitably disappears into the darkness as you try to negotiate a corner that seemingly didn't affect him. It's great skills training, good fun and makes use of the often under-utilised yet glorious Adelaide parklands.
Another ride/rides I have to mention are the recently established WMN Train Adelaide rides. Nat Redmond, cyclocross legend, recently started the WTA facebook group to unite women cyclists and help them get into racing or improve their training. I love meeting a bunch of like-minded, inspiring women on a Saturday morning for a steady base ride through the hills. The time flies by- it feels like we talk more than we pedal and yet we still get to call it training!
What is your current cycling goal
I have loved cyclocross since the day someone described it to me. What was this curious mixed-up sport?! I had to try it. Since my first PACC TwiLite CX race in early 2015 I have gone from total noob (seriously I spent what felt like 7 minutes trying to clip in after remounting at a standstill) to somewhat competent! After competing in all National Cyclocross Series rounds in 2017, I have a good taste for it and am determined to improve on last year's results. In 2018 I have a somewhat ambitious goal of getting in the top five for Flanders Health.Com.Au Racing at a national round/nat champs.
When I am on the bike I....
Am having a good time, but also most likely a bad time. I have always sought suffering on the bike. I used to think there was no point in riding if i wasn't on my limit! Thankfully, today, I understand the importance of base and have rectified this issue of always trying to pedal hard. I am also probably surrounded by wonderful sights. Whether its the Adelaide hills, suburban trails or MTB parks, Adelaide is truly a beautiful place to explore by bike. Making the most of it on and off-road is highly recommended.
How did your love of bikes come about?
Growing up in Scotland I travelled with my parents to see the Tour de France as a young child. I didn't really know what was going on but I knew I felt a bubble of excitement as the multi-coloured blur zoomed past in the sweltering heat. If I saw Lance I was happy and I wore my Livestrong bracelet with pride. But I barely touched a bicycle between the ages of 10 and 18. Then one day it sort of just happened. I was starting uni and I bought a bike so I could ride there (the bus drove me MAD). Not long after that I joined the Adelaide University Cycling Club and it kind of escalated from there. One minute I was getting dropped on 50km social beach rides, next I was smashing interval training sessions with the club and entering races (thanks Nat Redmond!). It was a whirlwind and I was totally unprepared and inexperienced but I enjoyed every second of the learning process. It's a nice feeling looking back on how far i've come. It reminds me I can continue to improve so long as I am willing to work hard.
Share a cycling memory
Wow, my mind explodes at this prospect. You always remember the challenging times so this springs to mind:
In 2015 Angus Dickson and I loaded up the car and made the long voyage to Tasmania. We had extremely loose plans, a distinct lack of appreciation for the Tasmanian landscape, a tent and 2 road bikes, so clearly it was going to go well. On one occasion we set out from our camp spot near Launceston with the aim to do a long gravel ride. We found some magnificent roads featuring eery logging farms, dead animals and disappointingly few towns to replenish our nutrition stocks. After 80 slow kilometres of corrugated gravel roads, Angus (in true Angus style) suggested we ride up the infamous and now much-documented Mount Barrow. At the bottom I was full of hope. The gradient was friendly and the sun still warm. The middle section was even better, it had downhills! But before long, at around the 11km mark, I was cursing those downhills as I realised the final 3km would be no walk (ride?) in the park. The gradient pitched up, the gravel got looser, the switchbacks tighter and the edge of the road suddenly disappeared sharply into oblivion. The scenes around me were stunning but I was only focussing on maintaining traction. Staying seated was essential. I grovelled to the top which seems like it would never come. I burst intro tears on arrival. Im still not sure if they were tears of gratefulness or anger at what Angus made me do! We descended as daylight began to fade- absolutely frozen to the core but happy. The feeling of accomplishment as we rode towards Launceston in the golden light will stay with me forever.
I love to ride because....
It gives me freedom. I can go where I want, when I want. I can dodge traffic and I can park it anywhere! I can train my body hard and overcome mental challenges. I can work on improving every day. I can hang out with awesome people and get inspired by even the smallest realities in others lives. It keeps me honest, motivated and happy. The bonuses are the people I meet, the fitness that comes with it and the enjoyment I can get out of the city I live in. Bicycles are empowering and I feel unstoppable when i'm riding my bike.
If you are sponsored and would like them listed please tell us here.: Flanders Health.com.au Racing welcomed me on board before Cyclocross National Champs in August last year and i'm stoked to be representing them once more in 2018. Thank you to the people who make the team happen and all the sponsors for supporting me and for helping to grow the sport of cyclocross down under.
Rapha Australia have enabled my mother and I to organise and run women's rides for 2 years now. They've also provided me with road racing opportunities. Thank you for supporting women's cycling Rapha.