How Tired is Tired?

Everyone says that they’re tired these days. I know of many who cannot fall sleep, sleep poorly or can only sleep with the use of chemical inducement. Whatever the reason, I feel fortunate that when my head hits the pillow these days, I’m out until the alarm goes off at 6:30am

veloporter Manning Cartell women on bicycles cycling with style cycling in heels cycling in a skirt cycling in a dress
Wearing Manning Cartell’s Sonic Wave skirt and top on this 24C Spring day. J.Crew earrings, Yakkay helmet, Witchery sunglasses, Easy Spirit heels, Po Campo bag, Cartier Santos, Focus Planet 3.0.

When I think about the times that I have been bone-achingly tired, a few come to mind. At the start of my career, I stayed up several nights in a row to finish a presentation for the Treasurer of the investment bank where I was an analyst (e.g. Junior slave). The night before the presentation, I stayed at the office until 5am to finish. I took a hire car home to have a shower and change my suit. I slept during the fifteen minute journey from midtown to Greenwich Village where I lived with a flatmate. The driver was very kind and woke me by calling my name. He waited for me while I showered and changed suits. We went back to the office. The presentation was a success. I was invited to the fancy investor lunch but I had too much to do before leaving for a three week holiday to Italy. I slept on the plane.

veloporter Manning Cartell women on bicycles cycling with style cycling in heels cycling in a skirt cycling in a dress
The top and skirt are surprisingly comfortable and easy to ride in. Matchy matchy with the Easy Spirit heels bought after the birth of my daughter in 2007.

Then, there was the week I went on a bender for three nights with a potential boyfriend. We went out every night after work, had dinner, drank and smoked cigars until late. I didn’t sleep much that week. That Friday, I was going on a work ski trip with my fellow analysts. A snooty colleague made fun of my bubble-wrapped skis. But I was so tired that it didn’t matter. I fell asleep in the coach bus for the six hour drive to the snow. My mate Brad and I hit all the black runs and partied hard afterwards. I slept again on the bus journey back to Manhattan.

veloporter Zara Focus Planet  women on bicycles cycling with style cycling in heels cycling in a skirt cycling in a dress
The integrated lighting in the mudguard of the Focus is so handy. Both front and back lights turn on automatically when pedaling. Zara dress, J.Crew infinity scarf, coat, earrings, necklace, Witchery sunglasses, Yakkay helmet, Easy Spirit heels, Po Campo bag.

And then there was the time after having a miscarriage. The worst of times.

But nothing compares to after having had children. Not the first one but the second one. All of The Things That Must Be Done combined with the middle of the night feed is a killer. I routinely fell asleep in the breast-feeding chair in the kids room despite my best efforts. Eventually, I would wake to the sounds of ABC Classic FM and put full-of-milk-Julius to bed. I would crawl into bed next to my husband Justin for a couple of hours of sleep before the next feed.  Fortunately, at five months, Julius started to sleep through the night.

veloporter Zara Focus  women on bicycles cycling with style cycling in heels cycling in a skirt cycling in a dress
It’s a quick ride into the city on Pitt Street. With the imminent closure of College Street Cycleway, I’ve been experimenting with different routes to the city.

Periodically, Justin travels for work and is away for the entire week. My responsibilities naturally double. Consequently, my goals for those weeks are simple. I try to get enough sleep and have a bit of time for myself.

I’m getting better at both as Justin has had a few long trips this year. Oddly, staying up late to read a book, trolling YouTube, or just lying in bed thinking seems like a treat. Consequently, my tiredness is often self-induced, as it was in my twenties in New York.

veloporter Leona Edmiston Vonda women on bicycles cycling with style cycling in heels cycling in a skirt cycling in a dress
My favourite dress from Leona Edmiston this season is “Vonda.”

When I rode to Omafiets Dutch Bicycles the other week, I was tired. Justin was in Perth for a conference. I had slept for five hours. Why? I had become engrossed in “Half a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie and fell asleep at 1am. And then my sleep had been interrupted because we are night-time potty training Julius. He woke up wet at 3am and called for me. We both went back to sleep but when the alarm went off, I was tired. 

I was riding to Omafiets to specifically try Focus’ new urban bicycle line.  I was familiar with the brand as Justin had purchased a Focus Mares cyclocross second-hand in the Autumn. (This was after he fell into a hole in Centennial Park during a training ride and broke his beloved Speedvagen.)

veloporter Leona Edmiston women on bicycles cycling with style cycling in heels cycling in a skirt cycling in a dress
Day 2 on the Focus Planet 3.0 was splendid!

The Focus Planet 3.0+ in Medium was a comfortable fit. Despite the haze of tiredness, I was excited about the hydraulic disk brakes, integrated lighting in the mudguards-front and back, ergonomic grips and the cool black frame. I went for a little spin in the courtyard of the shop. It felt like the right size. I returned. Chris installed a rack for me and I was off. Weirdly, the initial comfort that I felt disappeared as soon as I started riding on the George Street Cycleway.  My arms and shoulders felt really stiff and I second-guessed whether I should have taken the Small. I had left my Gazelle City Zen at the shop for a service. I rode into the City distinctly uncomfortable.

veloporter Leona Edmiston Vonda women on bicycles cycling with style cycling in heels cycling in a skirt cycling in a dress

Fast forward to the next day. After a great night of sleep, I was much more comfortable and everything was possible. The profile of the Focus results in a slightly more upright body position than the Gazelle, I realised. But it was still easy to stand and climb. In fact, it was super fun. I felt faster as well with a slightly higher seat post. The pedals have a rubber grip as well which meant that I felt secure in my heels. I’ve also adjusted to balancing the bicycle on things without a kickstand. The weird discomfort in the arms and shoulders were gone. It was smooth sailing for the week and best of all? Black looks elegant with everything!

Happy Cycling!


For a test ride of the new Focus Planet 3.0 get in touch with Omafiets Dutch Bicycles.


  1. Yes, that level of tiredness that comes with little children is like almost nothing else. But the upside is that it makes you pretty impervious to jet lag (or at least more tolerant of it). I just bought a Focus electric bike. Love it! Looking forward to your seminar at the Powerhouse on the 16th October.


  2. Hi Sarah,

    I’ve stumbled across your blog doing some research into bikes that are practical to scoot around with my 3 children (1, 3 and 6 years old) and was wondering whether you’d mind helping me with some questions I have. You’re blog is very fun! Having just come home from Europe I feel inspired to ditch the car and ride most of the time where I can. I live in Geelong, Victoria, so it’s not as busy as Sydney or Melbourne and there’s some really nice rides to do around here but would involve slightly longer distances than the Nihola dealer suggested that bike is ideal for. Other than that I’d like to do the school run by bike to avoid the hideous parking situation at my son’s school but that’s about 5kms from home.

    So here goes bombarding you with all of the things swirling around in my head.

    What sort of speed do you realistically do on your Nihola? I seem to keep reading that a two wheel cargo bike is much faster and better to go for longer rides on. I’m really tossing up between the Bakfiets Long or Workcycle kr8 (which appear to be very similar other than weight) and the Nihola. I initially had my heart set on the Nihola but am now wondering whether it’s the best choice for me, especially after taking both for a test ride over the weekend. And what sort of distance can you comfortably cover on the Nihola? Is is feasible to do a longer ride – say 20/25kms, take a few hours home and then return? Do you find that the electric assist means that you can cover much more distance, or is it purely for hills for you? Do you find that the bike gets a bit out of control if you go too fast down a hill?

    Also, do you find yourself often wider than the bike lane and is this a problem? Have you taken your Nihola on the train… or is it just to big to do this?

    I’d really appreciate your wisdom/experience and any other advice you have.

    Kind regards,



    1. Hi Jasmine, such a great message! Thank you. I rode around Geelong along the coast and back. You have some great opportunities to cycle for every day. I’m intrigued that the Nihola dealer has put some limitations on it. The electric assist has extended our range to about 75km. We have two batteries which has made that possible. My husband and I were a little crazy in the early days. We went to Bundanoon from just outside Campbelltown on a Friday. We made it as far as Mittagong by about 9pm. We had to return on Monday to Sydney. That was 120km in the pouring rain. On the way there, it was 40C and we had a puncture on a hill climb area known as Razorback. The Nihola is very stable, especially when loaded with 2 kids. We have gone 60km/hr down hills on the motorway near Kiama. Eye-watering! The Nihola that we have is probably the narrower of the cargos. So, we haven’t had much of a problem with the bike lanes. And when we have been a little wide, I have gone thru backwards and turned the wheels to slip thru. The city trains are fine for the Nihola. Unfortunately, the intercity trains are too narrow to fit. That’s why we took the train to MacArthur, the next stop past Campbelltown and rode from there. I’m sure you must have more questions. Would you like to do a Google Hangout session to chat some more?


  3. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for the prompt response.

    Oh that’s very interesting about the mammoth ride. I just used google maps and discovered that really is a long Friday afternoon ride – yikes! You both must be super fit.

    Yes, I was told that 10- 15kms is the about the most one would do comfortably on the Nihola but I don’t know why?! Maybe she meant for average person of average fitness without e-assist (I’m not very fit at the moment, but have been in the past). I guess my concern is investing such a large amount of money and then feeling restricted with how far I can ride/where I can ride etc. I’m pretty set on wanting e-assist for the sheer fact that it can be hilly around here and I want to be able to wear my ‘normal’ clothes to ferry the children about without getting any sweatier than necessary.

    It would be great to chat when you have some time… I’m pretty flexible – I must admit I’ve never used Google Hangout, but no time like the present to work it out. You just let me know what works best for you.

    Kindest regards,



    1. Hi Jasmine, e-assist will definitely extend your range. I’ll schedule a Google Hangout for the week after the 16th Oct. I have an event “How to Bicycle with Style” that I am prepping for. S


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