Being a part of CWRB has helped many women gain self confidence on their bikes and make lifelong friends at the same time. One such example in our Brisbane chapter is Mary Scott – animal lover, Placebo fan, LGBTQ+ activist, relapsed MTBer and a touching example of how it’s never too late to start again…
I was born in Gloucester England in 1978 and grew up in the west country of England near Bristol until I was 12, when we moved to Brisbane, Australia. We moved because most of my Mother’s family were out in Australia, having come over during the “10 pound pom era”.
My first memory on a bike is really vivid. I was back in England, about 6, and I taught myself to ride a bike without training wheels due to the fact that my friend only had a bike without them… if I wanted to play with them I was going to have to be able to keep up! So after quite a few wobbles and falling off, I managed to balance and stay upright. When I got home that day I said to my Mum “take the training wheels off my bike I want to show you I can ride without them” So she did and off I went!
I first got into mountain biking in 1998, after buying a “mountain bike” from Big W. Who else has started on an Aldi or Big W bike?? Surely not just me??
Riding through there, mainly on fire roads (wide untechnical tracks that 4WD vehicles go on), I found my love of being outdoors, in the bush… and was pleased I was able to roll over most of the terrain! An aside for the Brisbane-based readers: Daisy Hill was very, very quiet back then. Even on a Sunday you would be hard pressed to find one other person on a bike. Nowadays you have to queue to get on some of the more popular tracks! On one of my rides, I bumped into a woman named Donna Dall (who recently competed in the UCI World Cup MTB Masters Champs!) and, largely due to the fact that she was probably as surprised to see another female on the trails as I was, she let me have a go on her bike.
Woah, I remember it so clearly - it was so fancy with its suspension and the works! In fact, the brakes worked so well I went straight over the handlebars… After that, I joined “The Rats” MTB Club and saved up to buy my first real mountain bike, a Mongoose dually. It made such a big difference to my confidence and I felt like I had skills I never thought I would, even getting to the Nationals in 2001 (I came last out of 5, but still, it was challenging in itself to finish the two laps that we were allotted).
After that, I raced as much as possible. 24-hour races, 12-hour races, 6-hour races and everything in between! Then, unfortunately, after finishing a race series called the Sunshine Series in 2005, I fell ill with Tonsillitis and Glandular fever which really knocked me flat on my back for at least a year. And so, my mountain biking love waned and was forgotten… until March 2015 - 10 years later! This is me at the top of a local climb - Mt Coot-tha. Once an unthinkable achievement, now a regular feature in my rides. To be continued…