Your First Ride Back After a Bit of a Break

Time Off the Bike: What I've Learned Getting Back On - My Name is April

I’ve been sick, friends. A mixture of infectious germs and high levels of stress knocked me for a 6 and off the bike for a 3 (week period, that is). Needless to say, I was fucking gutted. The first two weeks were spent in bed coughing up a lung with no voice and the final week I was admitted two wind trainer sessions at a maximum of 40 minutes per session. Lucky me.

But all is not lost! This past week I finally stopped coughing for 99% of the night and was thus allowed something a bit more than a 40 minute wind trainer session. Yep, trusty river loop come at me.

Well, bend me over and fuck me sideways…because seriously, that’s what it felt like. You wouldn’t think 3 weeks is long enough off the bike to lose that much fitness and yet, here I am, about to tell you the things you’ll discover after being off the bike for just that…3 weeks.

Cycling Puberty - My Name is April

  1. You’ll be 100% positive your brakes are rubbing.
  2. Your groin will pretend it’s never encountered a saddle and therefore never before been subjected to such harsh, cruel conditions…and break out in saddle sores.
  3. Never ever had leg cramps on the bike a day in your life? Well you definitely have now!
  4. Coordination is suddenly beyond you – wobbling around corners and having to unclip at speeds below 20km/hr are your life now.
  5. There’s been a recent population spurt of idiots on the road (it’s definitely not you, it’s them).
  6. The windiest day in history will fall upon the exact day you choose for your majestic resurrection…and it will always be a headwind.
  7. Any hill – any hill – is actually Alpe d’Huez…how have you never noticed that 0.1% gradient before?!

Stay strong, friends; we will get through this together. Have I missed any particularly heinous lesson? Share the love and drop me a comment below…

Rule # 12 and the Subject of Monogamy

The Rules, Velominati - My Name is April

This year will mark my 2 year anniversary with my wonderful Lulu. Back then, I didn’t know top from bottom about bicycles and had simply bought her because she was on the cheap…the last XS frame on the floor will do that to a bicycle.

Having excitedly taken her home and popped her on charge (something about di2… I have no idea, I was just following the Sales Guy’s instructions), I promptly proceeded to google the shit outta bicycles. Cue The Rules. Well me oh my, I read through The Rules incredulous at the sheer douchebaggery of them but also somewhat abashedly – I had broken many of them up to this point on my red Cannondale, donning ankle socks and sipping lactose-free cappuccinos at the coffee shop. I had already started off on the wrong foot and now I understood why some of the people I knew that cycled always passed up the offers to go for a ride with me. I…I was a hubbard.

The Rules, Velominati - My Name is April

I have since learned that thankfully quite a large number of the rules are now legacy, however if all had become legacy then there would never be any need for this blog entry. I want to talk about Rule # 12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.

I have issues with this. I look at my beloved Lulu and couldn’t imagine ever sullying our bond by bringing another bicycle into the relationship. We have been through so much together. She was there for my first solo flat tyre, my first Mt Coot-tha back, my first bunchie, and more recently, my first ever club crit win. So many firsts, so much history…and she is a magnificent beast – an aggressive frame I’m told I’m lucky to get away with riding so comfortably.

The Rules, Velominati - My Name is April

Once, I came home extremely drunk and super emotional and cried on Lulu, telling her she was my best friend and my only friend…in front of the exasperated and slightly perplexed boyfriend. That’s the kind of relationship Lulu and I have…we ride or die together.

Putting aside the profound, emotional vomit I just shared with you, there are other issues with the N+1 rule…such as maintenance. I have a hard enough time keeping Lulu in tip top shape, let alone multiples. Caring for a bike is not unlike caring for a baby…ensuring the chain is sufficiently lubed, the frame is always sparkling clean and the tyres are pumped to optimal pressure are almost daily tasks in a world where the greatest thing we lack is time! Not to mention then also proceeding to get out and exercise each bicycle throughout the week, how do people manage?!

The Rules, Velominati - My Name is April

With the above taken into consideration – and then also the little matter of bicycles and their accessories literally costing your left kidney – one might almost question if perhaps these rules were not created by a true bicycle aficionado but rather by a cashed up muppet that uses their N+1 bicycles as merely trophies for the trophy cabinet: aka expensive dust collectors.

Lulu will be my one and only noble steed right up to her very last roll, and that is just the way I like it. That way, when she finally does retire, I can put her to pasture with an affectionate pat and say “You did us good, Lulu, you did us good”.

Am I alone on this??

The Rules, Velominati - My Name is April


Racing: Basic Tips For Your First Crit

Racing: Basic Tips for your First Crit - My Name is April

The thought of doing your first criterium can be an extremely daunting one – joining a bunch of other mere lycra-clad humans perched aboard fragile bicycles, exposed and vulnerable, to race around a track in a tight bunch does seem to defy a normal person’s sensibilities.

Sooner or later however, if you are an avid cyclist, the temptation and curiosity does get the better of you and you’ll find yourself lined up at the start line of your local track – probably. Crits are some serious fun and as long as you are sensible and play to your skill level, don’t have to be dangerous.

When I lined up at the start line for my first time, these are the very basic things I wish someone had told me. I hope they help your nerves or if you have not yet made up your mind, help you take the plunge!

Racing: Basic Tips for your First Crit - My Name is April
I’m in that group! Look mum, I’m racing!

Bunch ride proficiency is so beneficial

Building up your confidence and skill riding in group rides before you attempt a crit will be your best asset. Your first race will be very similar to a “fast” group ride – you will be riding at a fast pace in close quarters with other cyclists. The same rules that apply in a bunch ride apply on the crit track – you are responsible for your own front wheel, don’t take your hands off your handlebars, and hold your line.

You won’t be the only newbie

You will not be the only person on that start line for the first time. Whether it be somebody that took a prolonged break from racing and is getting back into it, or another you that has simply decided to give this whole “clubbie” thing a crack, you can be guaranteed that there will be a handful of you all just as new and nervous as each other.

Racing: Basic Tips for your First Crit - My Name is April
Your last lap as well as the prime lap will be signalled with a bell

Rules will be explained to you

Many clubs, at least the good ones, will have sessions for any newbies entering the world of crit racing. It may be a pre-race warm up ride where a few of the veterans pass on pearls of wisdom or they may have structured programs in which they walk you through basic skills and what to expect at your first club crit.

My cycling club, Brisbane Cycling Club, does both – our coaches regularly have multi-week programs around crit skills that I always find extremely useful. And before every crit, they have a warm up ride that they do where the racing old-hats are always more than happy to share a tip or two.

Your race will probably be mixed

In Brisbane at least, there are very few female-only club crit races. This will mean that chances are your first crit will be a mix of men and women. This can be daunting – I was intimidated by the larger men in my first race at first until I realised they are actually just big ol’ bears.

It’s your first race – nobody is out to win a million dollars so it won’t be an aggressive race. Or, if you would rather a female-only race, Lifecycle Cycling Club hold female-only club races on the first weekend of every month at the Jim Soorley Crit Track at Nundah.

Racing: Basic Tips for your First Crit - My Name is April
Final sprint at Hamilton Wheeler’s Lakeside Kermesse

You will not be breaking speed records

As a first time racer, you will be given a race grade of either D or E dependent upon which club’s gradings are being used. These are the two lowest grades and your average speed will generally be around the 35kph – 38kph. This might seem fast, until you’re in the group and find yourself in that sweet, sweet draft zone.

Crit entry is Cash Only

Eftpos has not yet reached the world of club crit racing and a crisp $10 note is required to enter the race. At Muzz, you’re fortunate enough to have a servo across the road that will let you withdraw cash at the register without buying anything. At Nundah, you aren’t so lucky – the crit track is a few blocks from the nearest store.

Let me know if you feel I have missed anything out – and tell me about your first crit experience! Mine was ridiculously dramatic – I was so nervous I nearly vomited up the banana I had eaten.


Bike Maintenance: Helpful Tips to Keep Your Machine in Working Order

Weekly bike maintenance tips - My Name is April

I have this weird, compulsive habit – everytime I approach Lulu, I check her tyres. I just give the front and rear wheel a light squeeze to ensure there is enough air in them. It happens anywhere – at the coffee shop, in passing as I’m doing the laundry in the garage, right before I take her out for a spin…anywhere, anytime.

I don’t know when it started, or why it even became such a disciplined habit, but I like to think it is because of this due diligence I rarely experience flats on a ride (the most recent experience where I had the misfortune of 3 in one morning is an edge case).

It got me thinking, however, about what else I do on the regular to ensure Lulu is in tip top condition between her bike shop services. I then decided to compile a list to share with you in case you find any of it useful. For example, I discovered the other day how to tune mechanical gears and am actually super excited to write about that later down the track (I don’t care what you say, mechanical is still a thing! Curse you electronic snobs)…

Weekly bike maintenance tips - My Name is April

Check the actual tyres

I don’t just mean give them a squeeze. At least once a week, normally on a Friday before club crit the next day, I will go over the tyres to check out their wear and tear. I have a “dumb trainer” (god we’ve gone from smart phones to smart trainers, what is life?) and my rear tyre wears a lot faster than my front so I like to keep an eye on it to make sure there is still enough tread to keep me off the bitumen and the bike on it.

Wipe the frame down

Not a full on wash, but a quick wipe over of the frame not only keeps your noble steed looking sharp for that river loop but also will alert you to any wear and tear such as chips in the paint or cracks in the frame. I also take this time to cringe at the filth that has built itself up around the jockey wheels and cassette, and make a mental note to address that issue every other week (but literally at least once a fortnight give your beast a bath).

Weekly bike maintenance tips - My Name is April

Wipe the chain and relube

Save the boiling of the chain for a later date and just give it a bit of a wipe with a cloth, and re apply your lube.

Don’t ever let your bike get to the point where you can hear the chain creaking as you pedal. You are a monster if you ever get to this point.

Check the brakes

Lulu has those god awful cantilever brakes so this may not apply to everyone, but I always make sure the brakes are in good working order and far enough away from the rim of the wheel that they will not rub. There is a reason the cantilever brakes were restricted to only a few models of the Envie and Propel…

Weekly bike maintenance tips - My Name is April

WD-40 the “moving bits”

I tend to sweat a lot, especially on the trainer (doesn’t everybody) and this sweat tends to cover the bike and, in a recent experience actually rusted out my internal brake cables which led to a super sticky rear brake. So I now tend to WD-40 around the steerer tube, into the internal cable chamber and also my stem. Helps keep things nice and smooth. Keep in mind however to keep the WD-40 away from your brakes and your tyres…for obvious reasons (Tim did not just read over my shoulder and tell me to add it).

Your bicycle should be your pride and joy, if you want to believe that bloody n+1 mantra “the rules” will have you live by, and so on that note I also encourage you to do your own cleaning and not fob it off to someone else. I did this with my ponies when I was a kid and significantly regret it. By ensuring you maintain your own bike, it keeps you in tune with how well he/she is running and will alert you to anything that may be amiss and could save you an injury or expensive replacement later down the track.


A Hubbard’s Guide to Saddle Sores

Hubbard's Guide to Saddle Sores - My Name is April

If you follow my Instagram, then you’ll know that I’m not shy talking about all things inappropriate, sexual or just plain gross. This is one of those things, and something I feel really needs to be discussed. At length. Because when this happened to me, and I tried to google, nobody went into detail and there was so much I wish I had been told; I would have been saved so much pain and discomfort.

I want to talk about saddles sores. And broken vaginas. Because I have suffered from both, incessantly, for a good part of a year. Everyone always sort of says “oh, use chamois cream, it helps” but never actually goes into detail of what to expect, and how to deal with it.

So here. I’m putting an end to this misery female cyclists everywhere are suffering in silence, and actually sharing the tricks and secrets of the trade. Do not discount this issue, newbie cyclist, because mark my words, saddle sores will come for you; and they will hurt you.

First and foremost – what the actual fck is a saddle sore? It’s an irritation of the skin, to be put extremely simply, and can range from chafing and itching to a full blown under-the-skin cyst that if not treated properly will become seriously infected and require medical intervention. They normally occur around the groin and other areas of the body that come in contact with the saddle (ladies, I’m talking about your hooch).

Hubbard's Guide to Saddle Sores - My Name is April

So how do you get them?

  • Sweating and friction from rubbing against the saddle
  • Poor quality kit
  • Unsuitable saddle
  • Bad cycling position
  • Cycling, in general  

The above are the main reasons for saddle sores, and I want to go through preventative measures with you before we get on to how to actually treat the little fuckers.

The problem: Sweating and friction from rubbing against the saddle

The Solution: Chamois cream

This is where chamois cream is going to come in extremely helpful. Apply a generous amount of chamois cream to your lady garden and surrounding region. I use the Attaquer Shammy (ugh, guys, spell chamois correctly!) Cream, but a lot of people also swear by Bepanthen (nappy cream) or the Assos Chamois Cream.

Also, as a side note, if you prefer your land down under free of forestry, then you will also be more susceptible to the cyst types of saddle sores as these are actually a form of folliculitis. Just a note to be aware of. I learned this the hard way.

The problem: Poor Quality Kit

The Solution: Invest in decent chamois

Trust me, nobody knows better than I just how expensive cycling kit can be. I nearly choked when a full priced Rapha kit cost me nearly as much as my training wheels, and promptly abandoned the shopping basket. Feel free to get stingy on your jerseys – I happen to have quite a decent repertoire of dhb jerseys in my wardrobe, but having learned the hard way just how far a decent quality set of bibs will go, I will no longer scrimp.

If you wait until a quality brand such as Rapha goes on sale, their bibs are unbeatable in terms of quality and comfort and I have never experienced a saddle sore whilst in Rapha kit. (I wish Rapha paid me to say this, but alas, they did not. I just genuinely like their gear.)

The problem: Unsuitable saddle

The Solution: Are you an inny or an outtie?

This one blew my mind. Whenever people spoke about incorrect saddles, I always thought they meant in terms of cushion etc etc but as it turns out, for women, this gets a lot more intimate…

Ladies, to quote Kendrick Lamar, “Life ain’t shit but a fat vagina”.

To put it quite simply, if you’re rocking an outtie vagina then you will probably find the most comfort with a cut-out saddle.

Mindblowing, right? Try looking at saddles the same.

The problem: bad cycling position

The solution: go get a bike fit

I cannot stress enough how important and beneficial a proper bike fit is. As well as mitigating posture, hip and back problems they will also save you from sitting incorrectly on the bike. A too far forward or too far back position will not do good things for your lady regions.

A proper bike fit will cost you around the $300 mark, but if you build yourself a good rapport with your local bike shop, or head to Ride at Indooroopilly, you will find they’ll normally look after you with a good deal. Jason and Kristi are two incredible people, and their mechanic is none other than Ryan Bayley – yes, the Ryan Bayley.

Hubbard's Guide to Saddle Sores - My Name is April

As well as the above, simply sitting around in your bibs at the coffee shop after a bike ride can also significantly increase your chances of saddle sores and also other fungal/bacterial infections. Canesten may become a bathroom staple if you spend too long downing your piccolo and banana bread.

Now that we’ve gone through the preventative measures, what do you do when you’ve actually got them? Well, you definitely do not just jump into the shower after your ride and bare them to the spray gung-ho.

Take care and be super gentle when showering and washing them off, the water will most definitely sting them if you’ve ever had them to the extent that I have.

Post shower, slather some bepanthen or other aftercare saddle sore treatment on them. If they’re particularly bad, I will then typically rock commando for a few hours just to give them a chance to breathe.

Before every ride, apply a little bit extra chamois cream to the area of the saddle sore. To be honest, I don’t know if this factually helps but I find that it always alleviates the discomfort for me a little bit.

Good luck, young padawans. If you have any advice to share with me, please do, because in all honesty I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about – I’m just writing from experience.


An Open Letter to Popcherry Fashion

An Open Letter to Popcherry Fashion - My Name is April

Dear Popcherry

Let me introduce myself. I’m a twenty-four year old female that loves to shop. I should be easy pickings for you. But I can guarantee that I will never buy your imported, mass-produced rubbish.

You post a lot of things on social media. Typically things you think your target audience will find amusing – cute animals, memes about bad eyebrows, and ‘tag someone who…’ calls-to-action. You try to be funny, your followers give you some likes, and usually it is just a bit of harmless fun. That is, until you decide to post a meme that not only condones physical assault resulting in hospitalisation, but also specifically targets a group of people who participate in a sport which consistently sees car-related fatalities increase year on year.

Dear Popcherry Fashion - My Name is April
Special thanks to Kim Dunlop, female cyclist, for the screenshot.

Do you think this is funny? Because I can tell you who doesn’t find it funny: the families and friends of cyclists who have died or been seriously injured due to a driver deciding to ‘tour de hospital’ them. Putting aside the obvious reasons for why this post – as well as your support of it – is so repugnant, I’m going to explain to you why this is the biggest pile of bullshit you’ve ever distributed (the quality of your clothing aside).

Cycling is a world class sport – the fact you know what the Tour de France is proves this. And Australia has produced some incredible cyclists. The likes of Robbie McEwen, Cadel Evans and Michael Matthews, all category winners at the Tour de France and in a perversely ironic way, all part of the cyclists you jeer at as attempting to ‘remake the Tour de France’. And in a good dose of girl power, our female cycling teams are ranked third in the world – way to support your target market, Popcherry. Further to this, cycling generates a huge deal of revenue for the Australian economy. Take for example the Tour Down Under, currently underway in Adelaide, which raised $50m in revenue for the state of South Australia in 2015. To put that into perspective, the Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne generated less than $40m, and cost the state of Victoria over $280m to host.

To put it simply: Australia is very good at cycling, and cycling is very good for Australia.

I only saw the meme after you’d taken it down. I decided to voice my displease regardless. And do you know how you responded?

Dear Popcherry Fashion - My Name is April

Explain me this Popcherry: does the sentence ‘We understand that we have different perspectives regarding different issues’ mean that you do in fact support the idea of running down cyclists? Because taking down the meme or not, if that is your true position, I really feel it needs to be shared. Or was it that you simply didn’t care enough about the significance of your actions that you decided to copy and paste a generic reply and leave it at that? Callous enough to post the meme, callous enough to not give a shit.

I could continue about the health benefits of cycling, explain how road registration doesn’t actually pay for use of the roads, or question the corporate conscience of a company which publically advocates manslaughter, but I think I’ve made my point. I already knew you were morally reprehensible by your sweatshop clothing, but now I know you are socially abhorrent also. I hope one day you change your business practices, revisit your views on society, and adjust your morals to look beyond a helmet and lycra, and recognise that the object you’re threatening to hospitalise is actually just another human being.

I won’t hold my breath.

Not So Kind Regards

April Lea

Update 18 Jan: Popcherry have privately contacted me however will not provide a public apology to all cyclists. Please contact Popcherry and share this letter so they know how strong we are as a cycling community!

Self Confidence != Narcissism


As the age of Social Media progresses, it would appear Andy Warhol was more than a mere pioneer of Pop Culture…his 1960’s “15 minutes of fame” prediction suggests he also possessed god-like abilities to predict the future. With every man – and his dog (literally) – having upwards of 1000+ followers on one or more social media channels, everyone is having, or has already had, their 15 minutes of fame.

But the rise of social media was not alone. With it, came the rise of the selfie, and with that, came an apparent infestation of narcissists – if you believe the squillions of articles on the internet that suddenly started crying out about it. To cut a long story short…take one too many a selfie and suddenly you are a narcissist.

Narcissism - My Name is April

Narcissism was born from Greek Mythology, based upon Narcissus whom is said to have never loved anything but his own reflection in a pool of water…in which he later drowned after falling in whilst admiring himself a little too closely. As such, the very definition of narcissism is to love oneself to their own detriment. Interesting, right?

Narcissism - My Name is April

Let’s take a step back, and think about our own world for a moment. Ponder this: have we, or have we not, had a mass epidemic on our hands of insecurity, body dysmorphia and confidence issues? Have we not, for decades now, been declaring societally that women are suffering severely from lack of confidence? Wasn’t there even a point there, where women were posting selfies out of pure insecurity, with bait captions simply to gain societal validation? Oh wait, that still happens? My bad.

Isn’t it interesting then, how suddenly, we are surrounded by narcissists…I mean, they’re everywhere! Filling our Instagrams, our Facebooks, god forbid our goddamn LinkedIns! It would appear we have completely missed the step, and the concept, of simply having self confidence, and gone straight to drowning ourselves. It’s truly extraordinary…

Except, maybe instead of suddenly experiencing a plague of narcissism, we have simply experienced, yet again, a media-fuelled mass hysteria. Oh, media, you cheeky thing you, influencing more drama and controversy yet again!

Narcissism - My Name is April

You see, to simply love yourself, or even value yourself, is not narcissism. To think highly of oneself, and publicly voice this, is also not narcissism. Heck, walking around proclaiming your shit doesn’t stink isn’t even narcissism. Narcissism is, in its most basic definition, the act of loving yourself to the point that there couldn’t possibly be anything else in this world better than you. And mate, I’ve seen one too many memes worshipping pizza to know nobody in society believes this.

Narcissism - My Name is April
Why are we so quick to hate upon and judge those that do decide to value themselves, albeit publicly? Why is this the issue, public proclamation of self love? Isn’t this an act to inspire? We roll our eyes at the bait captions posted to gain validation, but why do we also choose to roll our eyes at the blatant posts of self appreciation and confidence? Is it jealousy, or is it simply society’s innate nature to be furious about something, anything?

Narcissism - My Name is April

We don’t have a narcissism problem, we have a melodramatic media problem. To gain clicks, to spark a frenzy, they write inflammatory articles about narcissism which appear in their feed right next to the article they just wrote about teen suicide rates and how society is to blame for unrealistic beauty standards. It’s a toxic vat that we can’t seem to climb out of, swirling around and around in a pool of clickbait, sensationalised headlines and fake news.

I know this little article will be lost amongst it all, but oh how I wish we could stop cutting strong, confident women and men off at the knees. Let them remain tall, and proud, and act as an inspiration to us all.

It would truly be great, also, if we could stop being so flippant with the vocabulary we use. I’m all for expanding it – but don’t disregard the extremity and context of a word. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard of anyone in recent times drowning out of pure love for their own reflection.

Adult Acne: It Fucking Sucks


Adulthood has a bad habit of making shit that is normally so trivial as a kid that much fucking worse when you’ve officially finished growing and have an “O” next to “Type” on your Driver’s Licence.

Chicken pox…fever, bit of an itch and a whole week off school as a kid. As an adult? Sort your affairs and eat that whole tub o’ Ben & Jerrys cos you fucked.

Enter, acne. Society associates it with puberty – that’s when your hormones are most rampant, right? Horny, pimply and awkwardly hairy (I wasn’t the only one that went through that phase of a single, thick, black armpit hair for a whole year am I?). Yet, somehow, for some of us those hormones never sort their shit out and instead of being horny, pimply and awkwardly hairy we just become horny, pimply and the country’s newest State Forest acquisition.

Or, such as in my case, you’re blissfully pimple free throughout puberty and think you’re going to skate through life happy as Larry without so much as a care towards the dastardly blemishes those other people get. Until it happens.


Adult Acne: It Fucking Sucks - My Name is April
This is just an entirely unflattering photo but thar she blows.

My acne isn’t as bad as some. But it’s enough to make me incessantly insecure about my skin. I have quite pale skin, so the acne and extreme redness that covers the lower part of my face is incredibly prominent; to my critical eye.

Tinted moisturiser during sport, and make up whilst at work is my attempt to cover the acne. A $500/mth skincare regime is my attempt to cure it (as well as a balanced diet). I get a monthly facial, and use a total of 5 different, stupidly expensive medicated skincare products a day. As soon as I wake up I cleanse, apply salicylic acid cream, moisturise, and apply tinted moisturiser (also medicated). At night, I double cleanse, apply salicylic acid cream, retinol and moisturiser.

Having to cart my 37539673 skin care products between mine and my boyfriend’s house for a sleepover is tiresome. Having to make sure, after a night out, I don’t just wipe my make-up off and call it a night, is tiresome. Having to make sure that I religiously, first thing in the morning, cleanse, apply salicylic acid and then moisturise is tiresome.

I drink the water, I eat the foods, I nourish the skin and my acne has improved, but now hit a plateau and I don’t think it’s going to get any better. Not without some serious chemicals to zap that shit to the ether. Roaccutane is a thing, yes I’m aware. The only reason I haven’t tried it is because I am incredibly certain I will be that unlucky bitch that gets every single listed side effect. Sorry, but I don’t feel like being suicidal today. Or burning myself to a crisp.

Adult Acne: It Fucking Sucks - My Name is April

Tim is fantastic. My friends are fantastic. Society, generally, is fantastic. It isn’t even that noticeable / love the skin you’re in! / Acne is natural – it’s beautiful! Look, guys, thanks for the pep talk but I know you’re lying – and who in their right mind can possibly think swollen pores with trapped oil within are beautiful? Not to mention the redness that radiates with the force of a thousand suns from our homegrown face volcanoes?

This is not a liberating post, in case you hadn’t already figured it out. This is a shout out to every single poor son-of-a-bitch out there that has adult acne. And to the ladies and gents out there who have it a whole lot worse than me – I’m incredibly sorry you have to deal with it. It fucking sucks.

The Nudgee Ride: Nature’s Wind Trainer

Brisbane Nudgee Ride - My Name is April

No cycling community is complete without a medley of coffee rolls, made to service the weary cyclist after a long, hard week of riding. For a ride to make the coffee roll cut, a route must be approximately an hour and a little bit (just enough to justify the proceeding coffee and cake), and ultimately end with a piccolo and slice of buttered banana bread – preferably toasted.

Brisbane has not one, but two, such rides that fit the bill. The fabled River Loop – a steadfast favourite far and wide, and second being the scenic, car-free Nudgee. Yes, it can be easy to see why some may believe Nudgee to be a coffee roll – utilising the family-fun Kedron Brook Bikeway, plenty of long stretches for the perfect photo op and the finish leading you straight back to an assortment of cyclist-friendly coffee shops at your disposal.

Brisbane Nudgee Ride - My Name is April

But this isn’t a blog entry about the cheerful coffee rolls of Brisbane. This is a story of deceit, betrayal and unexpectedly cooked legs.

Because here’s the deal. Nudgee is life’s sneaky little answer to every cyclist’s complaints of the trusty, but boring as f*ck, indoor wind trainer. A virtually flat out-and-back route, this ride guarantees that you need to keep those legs spinning. The only chance you get for the possibility of a coast is when you’re trying to angle the camera for that perfect ‘gram shot. And even then, that split second pause in pedalling will derail your speed and cadence averages faster than a Rapha sale obliterates your life savings.

The indoor wind trainer is, for some, a worst nightmare. Sitting for ~60minutes on a stationary bicycle sweating it out with no hills to coast down or pretty scenery to look at, there is no escaping the effort you need to put in to get to the finish of your workout. It’s also an incredibly effective way of getting fit (or so I’m told, I’m no expert so don’t hold me to it).

I’ve gotta admit…sweating it out on a bicycle growing excessive amounts of candida is not my idea of a good time.

Cue Nudgee. I can hear you scoff from here, but let me tell you – actually do this ride properly and you’ll be surprised at just how cooked your legs will be. I’m not even joking you – I dare you to challenge me on this. Nudgee has all the tricks in the book, even complete with an ever-enduring headwind on your way back to coffee, courtesy of the open plains by the Brisbane Airport.

You head out thinking it’s going to be a lovely, scenic jaunt along the Kedron Brook Bikeway, maybe sprint the final distance along that glorious, flat stretch of Nudgee Road, only to awake the next morning with leg DOMS painful enough to warrant the double wall hold as you gingerly lower yourself down for your morning dump.

Brisbane Nudgee Ride - My Name is April

I’m probably going to be assassinated now for blowing Nudgee’s secret but, after suffering above aforementioned DOMs one too many a time, I felt it my duty to warn others of Nudgee and it’s inflictions upon unsuspecting prey.

Am I wrong?

Cycling: Life’s Second Puberty

My Name is April - female cyclist

If there’s one thing I am 100% sure of in my life, it’s that I’ve experienced 2 puberties in my modest existence. Learning to ride the crimson wave (moment of silence, please, for my fallen underwear, bedsheets and numerous other surfaces I’ve potentially assaulted), and becoming a cyclist.

There is no escaping those awkward stages of ill-fitting kit, scraped knees from failing to unclip in time, and let’s not forget our final inaugurations…our first flat tyre. Oh yes, I remember my days like it was yesterday, because for the sake of this article, I’m going to pretend like I have finally emerged from my cycling pubescence and can 4 times out of 10, manage to clip back in when pushing off on a hill.

I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours…

Cycling Puberty - My Name is April

Let’s just take a moment to actually absorb the above, and also take a moment to let the fact sink in that I actually stopped at the coffee (ahem, sorry, BREW) shop like this. 

The guy at the bike store tried desperately to get me to buy some kit for myself. But all I walked out with was some shoes, entry level pedals (that I literally only just replaced on Lulu for my birthday this year) and a Giro Raze children’s helmet (apparently you can put a $40 price tag on safety).

What did I need kit for, I scoffed to myself, the old boyfriend has plenty I can use! And that, my ladies and gentleman, brings me to Exhbit A in the above photo. Stupid grin? Check. Thumbs up? check. Oversized, baggy, tucked in jersey? Check, check and check. Finally, my favourite, men’s knicks? Check.

My face as I relive these moments…

Cycling Puberty - My Name is AprilGoing through cycling puberty is a rite of passage…it’s not something that should be skipped, whether by accident or pure luck. Those first fabled river loops have served me up more humble pie than the Samford Bakery has handed out cream finger buns. Everybody starts somewhere, and don’t you let any cycling snob tell you different. They might swan about in their jawbreakers, POC helmets, the wank factor announcing their presence as they casually, haughtily freewheel past you; but don’t be fooled – they too have a closet full of skinned knees, replica team kits and hairy legs.

I’d put up a THEN vs NOW comparison photo, but somehow, I just don’t think you’d see much of a difference. I still regularly forget to shave my legs (blonde hair, can’t see it) and my helmet is just as determined to be crooked on my head as my co-ordination is to push off and unsuccessfully clip in first go every time. But hey, at least now I can change a flat tyre in less than 30 minutes.

Please tell me I’m not alone in my late blooming cycling puberty?