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Retirement is busy for Liz

Retirement Living Wellbeing Connectedness Independence Lifestyle Positive Ageing Volunteer
  • Liz Allen lives at IRT The Ridge
  • This year she completed a bike ride across the Nullarbor
  • Liz is also a volunteer
  • She sees retirement as the time to do the things she’s always wanted to do.
29 November 2021
Liz Allen is a keen cyclist and this year completed a ride across the Nullarbor.
“Life doesn’t stop when you retire. There’s so much people can do.”
Liz Allen
IRT The Ridge resident

Liz Allen, 71, loves a challenge and sees retirement as the time to do all the things she’s always wanted to do.

“I’ve worked and raised two daughters,” says Liz. “Now’s the time to do the things I’ve always wanted to do and take my time doing it.”

The IRT The Ridge resident works part-time, volunteers, helps out with the grandkids and is pursuing her love of cycling.

Liz works at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium as one of the casual event day staff. “I’ve been working there for 15 years part-time,” she says. “Before COVID I took tours around the stadium and was part of the tour guide team.”

Volunteering is also a big part of Liz’s life and she volunteers at the Tour de Brisbane cycling event, for Bicycle Queensland and the all-female ride Girls Got Heart. Liz also volunteers her time with Brisbane Greeters – taking people on walking tours of the city.

Liz is goal-orientated and knows what she wants to achieve in retirement.

Liz has three grandchildren, living in Perth and Brisbane. “I do some babysitting for the littles ones as well,” she says. “Retirement is busy.”

When asked about how she lives her life, Liz says she’s always been a goal-orientated type of person. During her working life she ran her own bookkeeping BAS (tax) agency. She also played a lot of sport when she was younger and in 1972 she represented Australia in lacrosse as part of a touring team.

“I always had something to go for,” explains Liz. “Life doesn’t stop when you retire. There’s so much people can do.”

Liz is already working through her retirement goals, including walking the Camino de Santiago – a pilgrim walk across Spain – in 2006. “It was 700km and took a month to walk it,” she says.

This year she completed an incredible 2740km bicycle ride across the Nullarbor, which was inspired by a ride in France.

“In 2012 my daughter Jane was living in London and she suggested riding across France,” she says. “So I started training for this ride which went through the Loire Valley. It was just fantastic. The trip also took in Belgium and the Western Front and for me it started this insane bike riding. I’ve been on so many wonderful bike trips – around Victoria and around Wollongong. The Great Victorian Bike Ride is a nine-day event through Victoria. There’s 5000 participants and 1500 school kids – it’s a great community ride.”

Then Liz heard about a bike ride across the Nullarbor, from Perth to Adelaide, and was keen to sign up. “I’ve been fascinated with the Nullarbor for many years. My great-grandmother, well her brother was the telegraph station master at Eucla [Western Australia]. In the early 1900s the telegraph station used to transmit messages between the east and the west coast.”

The Nullarbor ride started on 14 May this year and finished on 6 June. Liz describes the ride as “incredible”. “I really enjoyed it and it was a wonderful journey. The scenery was spectacular and changing all the time.”

Liz says the ride averaged about 144km a day – with the biggest day being 220km and the shortest at 65km.

She started training for the event in June 2019 – focusing on her diet and nutrition, cycling and getting in the right headspace. “There’s a whole journey before the journey,” she says.

When The Good Life caught up with Liz before her big ride she was averaging 400km a week in training.

So after almost two years of preparation and then finishing the ride, what happens next?

Liz says after completing such a big thing – like riding across the Nullarbor – you can feel down afterwards. But Liz says she’s now focused on doing things around the village and getting stuck into her garden. “I’m a DIY person and I enjoying working with pallets, and working with another lady in the village we rejuvenate them and turn them into vertical stands and mobile tool storage for the garden.”

Liz is also focusing on the other things she wants to do – such as the Great Victorian Bike Ride, swimming with whale sharks in Broome and travelling the Kimberley.

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