Girls on Wheels: How a group of Logan mums combine fitness, friendship and going the extra mile
The thought of taking up bike riding can be daunting, but women and their families who take to 2 wheels enjoy many benefits: great scenery, improved fitness, and quality time.
It’s something Farah Peer can attest to. She’s part of the unofficially-titled Girls on Wheels, a group of friends based in and around Underwood who started riding bikes – tentatively – in 2020 and now undertake challenges, enjoy days out, and love to explore new cycling destinations.
More than that, they’ve built incredible connections and friendships that go beyond the bike.
Farah, who moved to Australia with her family 7 years ago, says that as her children hit their teens, she was looking for ways to get active.
‘When we moved to Australia and settled in, my kids were older and I was approaching 40 – I felt freer and that I had more time to myself than when they were little, so was keen to be more active,’ she says.
‘One of my friends asked if I had a bike and we started riding around for fun.
‘We started going for gradually longer rides, and the first time we did 7 kilometres, we just thought we were awesome! We were so pleased with ourselves.
‘Other friends were keen to join as well, and one of them said we should set a goal to ride to Brisbane city. That seemed so daunting, but we decided to give it a go.
‘We started our WhatsApp Group called Girls on Wheels and invited everyone we knew to join us. Maybe 90 per cent said you are insane, good luck with that – but others would turn up and we would ride around, gradually going further.
‘We would go early in the morning after our first prayer, and before our kids got up. We grew to 15 to 20 of us, and the day came and we went to the city – it was so fun.
‘It sparked something. Since then, we go regularly and cycle back, but we have also gone to Redcliffe, the Gold Coast, Shorncliffe, Wynnum – we have had days out and explored.
‘We are noticeable when we ride – we are mostly women of colour and many of us wear the hijab, so people will come and chat to us. It has been just awesome and so positive.’
Farah says that while it is mainly the women who ride bikes, they have involved their kids and husbands for special occasions.
It’s more than a fitness group – it’s a social group where a ride might last 2 hours, but the coffee that follows could last 3.
‘To have these women as a support group is important too – the way women talk to other women is different even to the way you talk to your husband. We have fun and we share confidences,’ Farah says.
‘Through this I have formed friendships with so many people I maybe wouldn’t have otherwise even met.
‘My kids joke with me and say this is a cult and I am the cult leader!’
Farah says she and the group love to explore and are excited to try out new bike paths throughout Logan – and encourages other women to do so.
‘I think cyclists in spandex are very intimidating – it can seem like they are a whole other species when you might not feel confident. But really, cyclists are just me and you – it’s what you want it to be and you can do it for a range of reasons – to explore to enjoy the scenery, for fitness.
‘I love that I am active and doing things now that I wasn’t even doing in my 20s.’
Check out this online map of Logan bike riding routes if you are keen to take to your bike.