Join me on cycle adventures through Australia and NZ

Life excites me. People facinate me. Cycling inspires me

My Mission is to get more people on bikes by sharing, promoting, and inspiring cycling around Australia and NZ. I didn’t think I was going to live past my 20th birthday, I was taught, and believed, I was going to be hunted, persecuted, and killed for being a Christian. I was born into a religious cult in New Zealand, when the cult fell apart, I was 17 years old and it felt like I had been given a gift of life, a second chance.

Taking the best of my life at the cult, I have continued to build on the foundation of community, connectedness, and helping create a better world where everyone can thrive.

Through my 20’s I lived and travelled overseas, starting in Australia then living in London, Scotland, Netherlands, I travelled through Europe, Morocco, India, I met so many amazing people. I was also a passionate skateboarder, and skated everywhere I went.

I did a variety of jobs, Managing an Internet Cafe in St Kilda, Melbourne, a Marketing company in London, Investment Banking in Edinburgh, Scotland, and a fruit and vegetable factory in Den Haag, Netherlands. The fruit and vegetable factory was fun because they gave a house to live in, a car to drive, which meant I had minimal expenses and was able to save lots of money to travel. It was too difficult, at the time, for a foreigner to open a bank account, so I stored all my money under the carpet in my wardrobe (12 Thousand Guilders!) $10,000 AUD.

I was living in Den Haag during 9/11, the following month I travelled to Morocco, that was an eye opener for me, the world was in chaos, and being in a Muslim country was considered unsafe. My birth name was Miriyum, so they welcomed me with open arms, and due to my religious upbringing, I was able to connect on a level that enabled me to have many heart felt conversations to learn more about their culture, and way of life. The most peaceful, loving, gentle people.

Back in NZ I lived in the mountains and worked as a Sales Manager selling smoked salmon. I moved to Adelaide at the age of 28 as I heard it was a creative city, not as busy as other cities. but had everything a city has to offer, I fell in love with it and stayed.

My career in the banking industry started here, I was the youngest team leader at the Westpac Mortgage Centre, and the only female team leader. My team was successful, I was successful, and I climbed the corporate ladder.

During this time I took up martial arts, I studied Wing Chun and Aikido for 5 years.

I also cycled to work every day, I lived in Norwood, and worked in Lockleys. I had a car, but preferred to cycle.

In my early 30’s I was asked to set up an overflow contact centre in Melbourne,to handle the increased Mortgage applications coming through Adelaide. I moved to Melbourne, set up the contact centre, and managed that until it was no longer needed later that year. I then moved into an Assistant Bank Manager role, then Bank Manager on Collins Street in Melbourne. At this time I got pregnant and decided to leave the corporate world and head back to NZ to have my son.

My son was only a few months old when the Christchurch earthquake hit, we were living in the middle of the city, everything crashed around us, we were lucky to survive, it is the most scariest moment of my life.

The years that followed the earthquake were hard, fear dominated all our lives, rebuilding, confusion, trying to make sense of life. The city is still recovering to this day.

I started a Diploma in Health and Human Behaviour via correspondence, teaching me more about the intricacies of being human.

One day it dawned on me, everyone else in the world is living their life, without fear, I want to do that, I want to live, I don’t want to hide away in the mountains, scared of the next earthquake.

I decided to move back to Australia and pick up where I left off, back in the banking world. Everyone told me it was impossible, too many years had gone past, I had a baby, I’d have to start again. I was determined to prove everyone wrong, and I did!

Team manager at BT Fiancial Group, leadng and managing the National Life Insurance contact centre.

Unfortunately I did myself out of a job, I realised the team would be better based in Sydney and I worked with Senior Management to transfer the team to Sydney. I managed them through redundancy and redeployment. I was asked to move to Sydney but I wanted to stay in Adelaide, a better life for my son to grow up.

Wanting to try something different, and hoping for a better work/life balance with my son, I became a Self Employed Mortgage Broker, it wasn’t everything I wanted it to be and I left feeling a bit jaded by the stress of the corporate world. It was much easier when I wasn’t a mum! but being a mum is much more important.

The change

This was when my life took another change and I co-founded Teaspoons of Change, activating and aligning business, education, and government with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDG’s) Teaspoons of Change are small but significant ideas, attitudes and actions that have a positive impact on people and the planet. This is where I really connected with my passions, delving into community work, specifically homelessness, while utilising my business and corporate experience.

I facilitated workshops at schools in Singapore and Malaysia, held workshops for schools, businesses and community groups around Adelaide.

Community work

In 2019 I created The Art of Being Human, an Art Exhibition to give artists and emerging artists experiencing homelessness an opportunity to display and sell their art, to be valued as artists and to have a voice through sharing their stories as part of Adelaide Fringe. In 2020 I received a grant from Adelaide Fringe for The Art of Being Human.

I worked with Hutt Street Centre on Community Engagement, creating videos and promoting the work they do.

I worked with Catherine House, supporting women experiencing homelessness, and hosted a Sleepover at The Manor to raise money with then Lady Mayoress Genevieve Theseira-Haese, I was interviewed and photo taken for an article in The Advertiser

I created Hutt St Hug St to counteract the negative publicity happening at the time against Hutt St Centre and Hutt St business’s, I created a video that went viral 28k views . I worked with and supported MOSH – Minimisation of Suicide Harm offers psychosocial support via its two safe spaces where anyone is welcome on a drop in basis.

I worked with and supported Baptist Care SA – actively supporting people experiencing homelessness and South Australia’s most disadvantaged by supporting at-risk and vulnerable people to have access to the basics. 

When Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Moogy and I met we shared the same vision of healing the past, to bring the culture back, and create a shared future together where all people feel connected to the land and to each other, and importantly a pride in Aboriginality.

I instigated a project called ‘The Friendship Centre’ and partnered with Uncle Moogy to bring this to fruition. I obtained a grant from Adelaide City Council and held Talking Circles near Whitmore Square. The Friendship Centre didn’t take off, but the Talking Circles were very successful.

I’m an Associate Member and South Australia Contact for CIFS Cult Information and Family Support and I’m a Police Volunteer – Neighbourhood Watch.

I was the Secretary and Park Ambassador for Adelaide Park Lands Association During this time I also delved into Politics, Local, State, and Federal, it fascinated me and gave me an insight into how society works, how complicated it is managing the multiple and varying needs and priorities of humans. Nobody gets into politics to be famous, they do it out of a genuine desire to make a difference.

I decided to run for Local Government, I had made a few friends and quaintances in the major political parties and had offers to mentor and guide me. I applied for my Australian Citizenship, however it didn’t come in time and I had to drop out of the race.

November 2019, it was a proud moment getting my Australian Citizenship, it did something interesting to me, for the first time, I felt like I belonged somewhere.

How cycling changed my life.

When covid hit, everything changed again, the world shut down and I was left wondering (like everyone) what now?

I have always cycled, I got my first bike for my 5th birthday (that’s me on the bench and mum holding my shiny new bike).

I had recently started cycling for fun, not just commuting, I had discovered the bike paths and was exploring more and more. One day while cycling back from Willunga on the bike path, I was contemplating my life, what to do next, and I asked myself:

‘what do you love doing, what inspires you?’ that was easy, I answered myself ‘I love cycling, I love making videos, and I love helping and inspiring people’ and my answer to myself ‘so make videos about cycling then’.

That was the moment ‘Cycle with Serafina’ was born.

I didn’t initially call myself Cycle with Serafina, I first called it ‘Cycle Adelaide South Australia’ I had a bike, an old GoPro, my dad had taught me how to edit videos in Premiere Pro (my dad was a news photographer and videographer in NZ before he retired).

So I just started filming the bike paths, explaining to people where they were, how to get to them, how to not get lost following them.

I used to do a few takes with the intro, but I knew the only way to get better, to get good, to feel confident in front of camera, was to do it. So I just did it, and I kept doing it, because I loved it, and people started loving it, and the more people loved it, and appreciated it, the more I did it… the people kept me going, I grew, because the people wanted me.

It was around this time I was also having conversations with my political connections to understand the laws around cycling and how to make cycling safer, how to get more bike paths, how to inspire more people to ride. It got complicated because of the varying levels of government, and bikes paths running through different council areas.

We live in a democracy, cyclists are a minority, I knew the only way to influence change was through numbers, get more people on bikes.

Another fork in the road, I was approached by a member of one of the major political parties offering to mentor me into state or federal politics, either as an independent, or join their party. I contemplated on this for a week, it was a big decision, my life could go in one of two directions, politics, or cycling, I turned down the politics and threw everything into cycling. I decided I’ll create change through media, I’ll build the numbers, I’ll make cycling a priority, not a minority. I never looked back.

I started getting fitter, cycling more, discovering more, creating more… my following grew.

Then I started thinking ‘I’m limited to Adelaide if I call myself ‘Cycle Adelaide…’ I need to change my name so that I have more flexibility about where and what to film, I might one day want to film in Victoria or maybe even NZ.

So I decided to change the name to ‘Cycle with Serafina’ and I remember making the decision to turn myself into a brand. I had just cycled up Mt Osmond, I was looking out over the city and I knew then, that I was going to be a brand to bridge the gap and be an ambassador for cycling in South Australia. There is nobody that represents everybody, I’m going to fill that space.

I love what I do, love inspiring people, I love helping make the world a better place, I love giving people a voice, I love hearing and sharing people’s stories. People are incredible, the more we share, the more we learn, the more we grow, the more we inspire each other to let go of whatever is holding us back, own our stories, step out of the shadows.

I got the worst strain of covid in January 2022, two nights I went to bed not knowing if I would wake up again, at my worst I couldn’t walk. It went on for six months, long covid, chronic fatigue and everything that came with it.  I couldn’t ride, I couldn’t even cross the street, I became a shadow of myself. My lungs were damaged, hyperinflated lungs, but I never gave up. Another chance at life, I changed my mindset, I did everything I could to keep going, it was hard, but I never gave up, and I came back stronger, physically and mentally than I was before I got covid.

Fear holds us back, and cycling is a metaphor for everything in life, keep going, even if you don’t think you can, keep going.

At the end of the day it’s between you, and yourself whether you make it that next 10km or up that hill, if you have to stop and rest, then stop and rest, but don’t quit, don’t ever give up.

It builds pathways in your brain, and it permeates into every other part of your life, it builds strength inside you, discipline, capability, resilience, focus, cycling becomes a meditation, the endorphins are addictive.

I say cycling is a good addiction to have. I was talking with my son’s great grandfather, he cycled across the Nullibor on a tandem bike, with his wife, when they were in their 70’s. I asked ‘did you practice? did you train first?’ he answered ‘…no, we just started, we did what we could on the first day, then we camped, the next day we did what we could, then camped… we got good doing it, that has become my motto for life “don’t wait until you’re good enough, get good doing it” and that’s what I tell people with their riding.

Cycling is good for people and the planet, it doesn’t have to be expensive, you don’t have to wear lycra, you can ride a MTB, an Ebike, a road bike, a recumbent, a tandem… the world is your oyster, and cycling will change your life.