Jayne D’Arcy was a recreational cyclist who rode to work for her daily commute before developing a love for long-distance cycling. She recently completed an ‘Everesting’, the equivalent of riding uphill to the equivalent elevation of Mt Everest’s summit.
How did you get started in cycling?
In 2016 I was a commuter cyclist and had cycled a few Great Victorian Bike Rides with my son. I heard about a women-only 100km ride in Victoria’s hilly Dandenong Ranges — the RACV Ascent. I decided to sign up and bought my first carbon road bike for it. I’d never actually ridden a road bike before, and when I bought it, I asked the sales guy: “What if I don’t actually like riding a road bike?” and he replied: “You’ll love it!”. He was right.
What is the attraction of cycling?
It’s absolutely about freedom. And friends. I’ve met amazing people through cycling, and when I rock up to an event there’s always a familiar and friendly face. And also, if it’s a race, a bit of healthy competition! I love the anticipation of an event, showing up and getting it done. Sometimes I do quite well and enjoy my time on the podium very much.
You recently completed an Everesting? Can you tell us what that entails?
An Everesting is the attempt to ride (or run) the height of Everest (8,848m) in one attempt, with no sleep. You choose the hill, the attempt date, and do it, then submit evidence of your ride on the app Strava, to the Everesting crew for approval and your spot on the Hall of Fame.
The beauty of an Everesting is that, unlike, say the Tour de France, anyone can do it if they have the right equipment and the time to train and the time to actually complete the attempt itself. My friend Tracy and I did a base camp (4,424m – half an Everest) in October 2020, and realised we were not fit enough to undertake a full Everest. We ramped up our training a bit, and made our (successful!) attempt in February 2021.
Can you share a favourite moment from your bike?
Probably at the end of the Everesting, when Tracy and I had just watched our second sunset (we only thought we’d be cycling through one!), and we hit the equivalent of the height of Everest and could stop – after 29 hours of riding. We pulled over and hugged and I bawled. It was a very emotional moment. It was such an effort, perhaps the pinnacle of my cycling, and I’d done it with these amazing women, but for myself.
What about a least favourite moment?
The most challenging aspect of cycling for me is when I pop yet another tyre and know I have to replace it. Also, it can be an expensive passion. And there are risk for cyclists on the road: I’m a driver too, and of course, sharing the road is a little more dangerous for a cyclist. All I can say to drivers is: “give us more room please!”.
How does the cycling community embrace women coming into the sport?
Women are a big and growing part of the cycling community. I’m a part of two (Melbourne-based) Facebook communities: GirlRide Melbourne and SheRace, which is where I get most of my event and ride information. We women provide great support for each other!
Bicycle Network is aiming for 50:50. I believe that the more women who ride, the better it will be for all of us.
What’s your advice for women thinking about taking up cycling?
Do it! Check out the above Facebook groups. I joined my local bike shop’s weekend ‘shop ride’ and loved that, and there are plenty of women only rides around.