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Fitability Tandems reach great heights!

It is now becoming a tradition for Fitability tandems to participate in the annual Hartley Lifecare Ability Cycle Challenge.

This year a team of twelve made up of four tandems and four single bikes, with six riders with disabilities, joined the fundraising ride from Canberra up to Charlotte Pass.  This has been the biggest ride of their lives for some of our new riders.  Six months of training led up to the event at the end of November.

Hartley 2015

Over $600,000 was raised for Hartley Lifecare by over 250 cyclists and other volunteers in the run up to this event.  Hartley Lifecare is a Canberra-based organisation that has provided accommodation support and respite care for children, adults and their families in the ACT and region with physical and complex disabilities for 50 years.

A very big year for Fitability


In recognition of Fitability’s work across the cycling community, in May FIT-Ability became a programme of Pedal Power ACT, renamed Fitability.  At the handover celebration FIT sent Fitability on its way with a generous donation.

Riders participated in Pedal Power ACT events such as Amy’s Big Canberra Bike Ride and the Fitz’s Challenge as well as weekend social rides.

The Fitability Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets Team with four pairs of tandem riders and four single riders participated in the Hartley Challenge to help raise funds and awareness for Hartley Lifecare. Six of the twelve riders had disabilities. Three tandems joined the Beers and Gears cycling festival in Wagga Wagga.  Fitability volunteers promoted the programme at the ACT Connect and Participate Expo.

Fitability ran a very successful fundraising raffle to which many Canberra region cyclists contributed.  Donations are greatly appreciated as they help maintain our fleet of bikes in safe running order.

Tandem bikes have been placed with families so they are able to ride with their vision impaired relative for recreation or competition.  Training and advice has been given to others interested in riding tandem with family members.  Several new pilots are now riding with the programme.

On the competitive front, Fitability racers have participated in:

  • Road, criterion and track racing with the local Vets and Vikings clubs
  • Masters and National Para track racing championships
  • Para Track World Championships in Holland.

Two of our track racers are hopeful of selection for the Paralympics.

Katie Kelly and her pilot won the world triathlon in Japan after using one of our bikes for training. Long term tandem pilot Kerry Knowler was awarded Cycling Australia’s Female Track Masters Cyclist of the Year. Amputee cyclist Jing Huang received the FIT personal achievement of the year award after completing the Fitz 210 kilometre, solo 24 hour mountain bike and Hartley Challenge rides.


Canberra tandems in Wagga Wagga

In October three Fitability tandems travelled down the highway to Wagga Wagga for the annual Gears and Beers cycling festival.

Wagga 2015

This was a great event for tandems because the “mountains” in Wagga are not as steep as Canberra.

Two bikes completed the 105km route that wandered along the flood plains north of the Murrumbidgee River, amongst vibrant green grasses and lemon yellow canola fields, then rolled up and down the she oakcovered hills on the way north to Coolamon. The Coolamon Rotary team provided water and encouragement in the centre of this picturesque village. Then the long stretch to Marrar passing many sheep turned orange by the soil and dust. Another rest stop in Marrar courtesy of their local Rotary team, and the return to Wagga gradually descending to the flood plain again and the final sprint down Fitzmaurice Street to the Victory Memorial Gardens.

One bike sensibly completed the more relaxing 50km ride because by the middle of the day the temperature had climbed to a warm 32 degrees, a little bit warmer than Canberra.

At the gardens the party was in full swing with music and craft beers, ciders and coffee on offer for riders and non-riders. The Fitability folks then retired for Pizza at a local restaurant.

We are looking forward to sending a bigger contingent in 2016 and supporting Wagga and regions fundraising by Rotary.

Fitability joins Pedal Power

On 1 May 2015 FIT-ability is pleased to announce that it has become part of Pedal Power ACT and is now called Fitability.

For many years FIT-ability has been nurtured under the wing of FIT (Females in Training) providing the opportunities for riders with vision impairment or other disabilities to experience the benefits and freedom that comes with cycling.

Fitability will continue to provide tandem riding opportunities for both pilots and stokers. Since 2001 Fitability has offered access for riders with a disability ranging from those beginning or re-entering cycling to the very highest levels of competition in paralympic sport.

Mt Stromlo 2015

Fitability volunteers maintain a fleet of tandem bicycles which are widely used for riding in and around Canberra.

Vision impaired cyclists have been able to expand their horizons, participating in Pedal Power group rides, as well as events such as Bay in a Day in Melbourne and the Hartley Lifecare charity ride to Mt Koscuisko. Some riders with disabilities are now regular cycle racers.

As part of Pedal Power Fitability is looking forward to continuing and expanding its activities. Fitability certainly believes in the idea of more Canberrans, cycling more often for a better community.


We love our Canberra Champions!

Congratulations to Brandie O’Connor and Paul Kennedy, and their pilots Breanna Hargrave and Tom Clarke!

Brandie and Breanna won two Bronze medals and Paul and Tom won another Bronze at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in tandem sprinting.

Brandie and Paul have both ridden with Fitability but clearly have advanced beyond the relaxing weekend rides to a favourite coffee shop that many Fitability tandem riders enjoy.

If you are interested in tandem riding you don’t need to be a paralympic champion.  Come along for fun!  And if the fancy takes you we can also introduce you to opportunities for racing or longer distance riding.

Paul and Tom 2014 paralympics

Brandie and Bree 2014 Paralympics