Shaz Shahnia is the Weekly Rider! She's the marketing manager for Thule in Australia and currently working on an exciting project to put together an under 21 development cycling squad for girls who are less privileged so they can ride bikes and follow their dreams.
Header Image - Ben Cirulis
Name - Shahrzad aka Shaz Shahnia
From - Sydney
Tough one but I have to go with the new Liv Langma road bike with a pair of sweet Zipp wheels. A custom paint would be nice too. I believe in what the brand stands for and how it's been reinventing women's cycling and supporting the community through its programs.
The name, Langma is for one of the highest mountains in Asia and the idea of light weight and going fast up the climbs sold me to it haha! Yes of course the fitness matters too.
I feel like it stands for reaching higher and beyond the limits which is my motive behind cycling.
What is your favourite local ride?
I think I have to go with the beaches ride around Sydney's easter suburbs, it's about a 30-40k loop return. It's pretty accessible and close and still offers as much as riding outside the city. There's always a hidden treasure or a road you haven't discovered before, and the hills can be never ending. But the views are rewarding, whether it's the sunrise, sunset or middle of the day just soaking up the rays you can never get tired of looking out into the ocean it's so relaxing.
What is your current cycling goal?
I didn't have the privilege of riding bikes growing up and have always been competitive so my goal is to race the Australian Nationals one day and be an influencer in women's cycling community to encourage more women every day. Ultimate goal would be to be a face for all the girls back in my home country (Iran) to never stop dreaming.
When I am on the bike I....feel free, impossible does not exist. I want to keep pushing beyond the limits and go to places where my legs never saw possible and feel muscles I never knew existed. It's just me, my bike and the endless roads.
How did your love of bikes come about?
My mum taught me how to ride a bike when I was younger, it was something she cherished in her younger years. Growing up was different, living in a country like Iran you don't have that much freedom to ride bikes.
So I picked up riding again when I moved over to Australia when I was 18. I started making documentaries on Fixed Gear bikes in Sydney and met a lot of interesting and encouraging people so I started with basic group rides on my commuter and gradually built a serious passion for it. I started my road bike journey with Rapha women's rides and volunteering at Liv Cycling group rides. Till 2 years ago when I was selected to be part of the Liv Ambassador program and kicked off my racing journey about a year ago and recently been elected as a member of women's commission at Cycling New South Wales.
Share a cycling memory...
It has to be the first time I rode 100k! Prior to the day my longest ride ever had been a 30-40k city loop on my fixed gear.
So we decided to ride our fixies from Sydney to Wollongong through the Royal Nations Park. It ended up being a cold rainy day, I was such a beginner didn't know what to wear and carry. Didn't even have food with me other than a banana and was wearing brand new white socks in the wet!
That was one thing but descending and climbing on a fixed gear bike was another. I really struggled but wasn't going to give up, mentally I was in a different place and kept wondering why I'm doing this. We finished the ride and got to the destination 6 hours later! such a long day but the feeling of finishing was quite extraordinary.
That was the moment when I realised riding makes you do things and push limits you haven't thought of. Of course a better physical fitness would've helped on the day but it showed me that if I put my mind into doing something my body would just follow.
I love to ride because.... it makes me happy and let me be just me doing what I love doing and being free.
It helps me to stay fit and healthy and discover new places every time I get out on my bike.
The community is the biggest reason for me, the people I have met along the way the life long friendships you make. It feels like a family away from home.
Shaz is supported by Liv Cycling Australia and Thule Australia