Camilla (mum) & Macayle (daughter)
Camilla: Our family has been in Winchester since 2017. I work part-time as a theatre nurse in the hospital. Growing up in Brisbane I learnt to ride a bike but the blistering heat was a good deterrent to regular cycling! It was when our family spent three years in Dublin that we saw everyone else on bikes and joined the club.
Macayle: I was nine when we moved to Dublin and I got in the habit of cycling to school every day: OK, not every day – sometimes it snowed! Later we moved to Germany and I carried on cycling to my secondary school. It was great – cyclists have priority everywhere so, for instance, cars have to give way to you on roundabouts. When we moved to Winchester mum and dad warned me that it wouldn’t be the same. I looked for a good route from our house in Sparkford Road to Peter Symonds College but couldn’t find one that we all thought was safe, so I had to walk instead.
Camilla: We now live in Domum Road so I have a wonderfully, easy cycle into town for shopping or catching up with friends but the pull all the way up St James’ Lane to work is a bit much for me. I walk instead … and occasionally wonder about getting an electric bike. Although my route into town is great for cycling I don’t think enough is done to make it obvious – it needs more visual cues like a painted green track to encourage people to use it.
Macayle: I’m now in my first year at Sparsholt and very sad that I still can’t use my bike to get to my courses. I’m studying Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. The natural world is a big part of what the College is about, so it’s a great shame that there’s not a safe, cycle route to enable environmentally-friendly travel out there.
Camilla: I’m not a ‘get-fit’ cyclist. For me it’s about using a green form of travel. And it’s also a pleasure … what a great feeling when we’re out together as a family on bikes. It’s just a shame that there’s always a bit of the fear element here compared to the other places we’ve lived. And many of the road edges are in such poor condition.
Macayle: I’m sad more of my friends don’t cycle. Maybe if I had grown up here I wouldn’t either. I remember my grandad visited us in Dublin when he was nearly 80. He hadn’t ridden for about thirty years but got on Dad’s bike to meet me after school. If you learn when you’re young you obviously never forget!
Camilla: My cycling highlight is a five-day family tour along the Mosel valley. We hired bikes and panniers – picked up at the railway station when we arrived – and enjoyed the comfort of a hotel bed every evening. It was a great time, getting on the bike day after day and when it was over we really missed it. My cycling low point actually happened to my husband when we were on a trail in Brisbane. Magpies become very aggressive and cyclists frequently get dive-bombed. David was in the sights of one of these birds so he panicked, dismounted and fell on top of his bike, cracking two ribs. It was exceptionally painful, especially as he still had to cycle to our van and then drive home …
Macayle: Winchester is great but when I’m done studying I hope to live in a city where I can get around easily and safely on a bike, like I’ve been used to.
Camilla: I think I’ll save the electric bike until we’ve stopped work and got time to travel round Europe in our motor home, cycles loaded on the back for exploring!