Our October 2015 winner is Thea from Brisbane, Australia. You can get to know her a little bit better through the Q+A below. Thanks, Thea!
Each month we will be choosing our favorite Po Campo fan photo to display on the blog. We see all of your beautiful pictures on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, but if there are photos you’ve taken with your Po Campo bag that you haven’t posted online, feel free to send them our way! You can email your fan photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag your photos with #pocampo for a chance to win a FREE PO CAMPO BAG.
@taezer with her Reflector Pin
1. Tell us a bit about your hometown. Where do you insist on taking out of town guests?
I am from Brisbane, Australia. The capital of the “Sunshine State,” Queensland. Brisbane is a subtropical city set around a meandering river whose edges form one of the main bike routes. It’s always the long way, but it is the most beautiful.
When friends visit from overseas I take them to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary which provides a full day of Australiana. This includes working sheep dogs, giant snakes (that you can hold!), emus, hand feeding and petting kangaroos and wallabies (!!!) plus, the important one, a chance to cuddle a koala and have your photo taken while doing so. Another great thing to do for visitors to Brisbane is to ride the CityCat – these are high speed ferries that travel up and down the river. For $10 return you can spend around three hours enjoying the river with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. A big plus for Brisbane is that bicycles are allowed to travel for free on all public transport (except buses) so long as you follow a couple of simple rules.
2. Where is your favorite place to take your Po Campo?
I carry my reflective birds with me everywhere I go. Because I only travel by bike (I sold my car 5 years ago) and as I am a tad spontaneous, I never know if I am going to be out after dark. Also when storm season rolls through, it can go from bright to dark in a few minutes, even if it doesn’t rain. Being more visible without succumbing to the hi-vis mentality is really important to me. My bike has lots of reflective features and lights, but something as bright as the birds really stands out.
3. A favorite tip (or two) about how you incorporate mindfulness and healthy habits into your daily life?
I am lazy. Truly lazy. I ride because I am too lazy to walk, and want more convenience than public transport can offer. By riding everywhere, utility cycling, I gain incidental exercise – I never think of it as ‘proper’ exercise. Those couple of kilometres to the movie, the 5 minute ride to the store, it all adds up. I also commute by bike to and from work, slowly, but still gain between 1-2 hours of activity a day (depending which way I go home and if I jump on the train). I try to eat reasonably healthy, but I do believe that everything is okay in moderation.
4. A suggestion for women who are interested in biking but have safety concerns?
Ask around your friends to see if they know someone who rides like you want to ride, and post to social media using your city’s bike riding hashtag (there will be one). Also check out your local council’s webpage – not always helpful with the information but usually links to places that are.
Don’t think you have to be fast and in lycra to ride.
I started out riding again on the bike share bikes, and rode them for two years before starting a new job outside of the station network. I then bought my own bike, which was also a heavy yet stable city bike.
I posted on a local bike riding forum asking for advice on the safest and flattest route to my new job. I received multiple options, did some practise runs on the weekend, then chose the one that I felt best suited my skill and safety requirements.
Another person on the forum, who is now one of my closest friends, offered to teach me basic bicycle maintenance, so I can always get home or at least to a retrieval point along the river or train network.
My route to work is longer than most men would ride, simply because I want to feel safe so I avoid the roads, which makes it enjoyable.
You also don’t have to ride the entire way. Ride to the station, or the last few kilometres to the office. There is no hard and fast rule or right or wrong way. If someone tells you that you have to do it a certain way, they're lying.
5. Secrets for managing helmet hair?
Australia was forecast to have 14,000 people diagnosed with Melanoma in 2015 and that number continues to rise, yet in most parts of Australia it is illegal to ride in a hat. Given my pale complexion, I am lucky that I live in a state that allows a medical exemption to this law. So I don’t deal with helmet hair, I deal with hat hair. I have 4 different hats, some sit low, some high, but all are full brimmed and stay on while I ride. I travel slow so I don’t get hot and sweaty (unless it’s in the high 30’s centigrade and crazy humidity), so I style my hair before I leave, including a strong hold heat treatment serum. So when I get to work I just brush my hair out and 90% of the time it looks great. I also have a hair dryer at work just in case I get caught in the rain or have a really bad hair day. In fact, many people at work have no clue I ride to work until they see me on my bike. I also ride in normal clothes (dresses and suits).
6. Favorite biking memory?
In 2014 I spent 6 weeks riding around New Zealand, and there was one bike trail that was extraordinary – The Clutha Gold Trail, especially between Roxburgh and Beaumont. I would round a bend, see a new vista open up and say “this is the most amazing view I have ever seen.” Repeat this for hours on end. I took so many photos and when I posted the best ones, many of my friends accused me of “photoshopping,” but it was just that amazing and the camera could not even do it justice.
7. If you could have dinner with anyone (living or dead) who would it be, and why?
Probably my fraternal grandmother. She came to Australia in the late 19th century and we know next to nothing about her, it’s like she didn’t exist before she arrived. Her maiden name would suggest she came from a very specific part of England, but she did not. So I know there must be some sort of amazing backstory! What did she do? Who or what was she running from or to? Imagine starting a whole new life, and identity in a country on the other side of the world!
8. If you could be amazing at playing any one instrument, which would you pick?
The harp. Not the most bike friendly, that’s for sure, but it just evokes a real sense of whimsy in me and let's face it, harps are amazing.
9. If you could wake up fluent in any language, which would it be?
Danish! I am studying Danish currently and am terrible at it. It’s okay though, because I know I am bad, so bad that it is incredibly fun and my face aches after each class from smiling so much. I picked Danish to study as I have learnt French and Spanish previously and wanted to try something totally different. My best friend who speaks German, and I have recently decided are going to ride from Berlin to Copenhagen next year. Hopefully we’ll get by.
10. What song do you always sing when you sing karaoke?
I’m not really one for karaoke, but if I do, it’s usually Lighthouse by The Waifs (a band from Western Australia), as there is a dance break in the middle which I totally go to town on so people forget how poorly I sing.