1,000 women gearing up for International Women’s Day bike ride

Gear up Girl and Bicycle NSW are excited to announce Elizabeth Farrelly – Sydney-based columnist and author will be participating in the Gear Up Girl Ride on Sunday 9 March with her daughters as the official Gear up Girl Ambassador, supporting women’s bicycling.

“Cycling is far the best way to explore Sydney, get to meetings or schlep around the city. It’s cheap, fast, energising and green; no parking worries and no traffic jams. Plus Sydney has the perfect cycling climate, personal view.” Said Elizabeth Farrelly.

On Sunday, 9 March 2014, 1,000 women of all ages and abilities will ride their bicycles from Sydney Olympic Park to Cronulla Beach in the Gear Up Girl Ride, Bicycle NSW’s celebration of women and bike riding.

Part of the of the Women’s Sports Festival, and coinciding with International Women’s Day celebrations, the annual Gear Up Girl Ride promotes the health and social benefits of cycling. By providing a safe, friendly, relaxed environment Bicycle NSW hopes to inspire in women the confidence to take up, return to, or continue to enjoy cycling.

Gear up Girl is Bicycle NSW’s program just for women, and it aims to get women and girls of all ages and abilities, shapes and sizes on their bikes.

“We established the Gear Up Girl Program in response to evidence that a low, disproportionate number of women cycle,” said Donna Little, Bicycle NSW Events Coordinator. “Confidence on the bike is a factor that contributes to many women’s reluctance to ride, and Gear Up Girl provides an environment that is safe and supportive,” Ms Little said.

The Gear Up Girl Program is supported by a group of strong, accomplished women who believe that all women should enjoy the many benefits of cycling. Ambassadors for this year’s event are Margie Abbott – Australia’s First Lady, Christine Forster – City of Sydney Councillor & Rachael de Zylva – founder of women’s cycling website Bikegal.

Gear Up Girl Ride 2013 was supported by the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard; Margie Abbott, and The Hon. Julie Bishop, our current Foreign Minister.

The 2014 Gear Up Girl Ride will take riders on a 40km journey from Sydney Olympic Park along the scenic Cooks River Cycleway out to Cronulla – and on to Kurnell for those who are keen for the challenge of an extra 20 kilometres.

The Gear Up Girl Ride is open to all women, young women and girls, and to boys under the age of 16 years. Riders under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult rider. Over 200 volunteers lend a hand in staging the Gear Up Girl Ride and Bicycle NSW is proud to have a large contingent of men showing their support as volunteers for Gear Up Girl Ride 2014.

Registration for Gear Up Girl Ride 2014 is now open online at www.gearupgirl.com.au.

Gear Up Girl riders can also be Everyday Heroes, raising funds for our Gear up Girl charity partner, TAD Disability Services, whose Freedom Wheels program provides special bikes for children with disabilities. [Find out more about TAD at  www.tadnsw.org.au.]

We are also excited to have key support from event partners Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Sutherland Shire Council, Body Torque, Park Bikes, TAD Disability, Event Team Work, Bicycles Online and mtnbike.com.au

Bicycle NSW staged the inaugural Gear Up Girl Ride in 2008. ‘Bike South Australia’ has hosted a Gear Up Girl Ride since 2009; Gear Up Girl toured Canberra in 2009 and 2010; and we’re hoping to see the event taken up in other places over time.

In addition to the Gear Up Girl Ride, Bicycle NSW also conducts a number of Gear Up Girl Workshops over the course of the year. Over two to three hours (and a cup of coffee!), women learn bike riding and basic mechanical skills, share their experiences of cycling and discuss cycling issues, and take the opportunity to meet new friends with whom they can ride.

Each year, over 10,000 people participate in Bicycle NSW events that promote bike riding as a safe, healthy choice for transport and recreation. Our annual Gear Up Girl Ride attracts up to 1,000 women and girls in a celebration of women and cycling that coincides with International Women’s Day.