Gear Up Girl goes red for women with the Heart Foundation in 2015

Gear Up Girl goes red for women with the Heart Foundation in 2015

Bicycle NSW is proud to announce that Gear Up Girl, our women’s only series of workshops and annual NSW event, will go red for women in 2015 with the Heart Foundation.

Gear Up Girl was founded in 2008 as a response to the fact that more men are riding their bicycle for recreation and transport, and we needed to encourage more women onto their bicycles,” said Sophie Bartho, Communications Director, Bicycle NSW.

“Across all states, weekly cycling participation rates for men are almost double female participation and the divide gets greater with age, with 50+ males out cycling females 3:1.”

“Only 7% of Australian women use a bicycle for transport which is why there is an urgent need to get our girls geared up and riding regularly,” Ms Bartho said.

According to Bicycle NSW, women are seen as the change agents in communities so by encouraging women to ride and eliminating the barriers they can bring others to this important and healthy lifestyle.

“With three in five adults and one in four children overweight and obese across Australia, women are an important part of improving our lifestyle choices,” Ms Bartho said.

Chief Executive of the Heart Foundation NSW, Kerry Doyle believes this partnership will promote a positive image of the benefits of bike riding to the wider community and also highlights the benefits to health and the environment that come from active transport.

“Few women are aware that heart disease is the number one killer for Australian women and through Gear Up Girl we have an ideal opportunity to encourage Australian women and girls to get on their bikes and get active,” said Ms Doyle.

“Physical activity has been proven as a great weapon in the fight against heart disease and the Heart Foundation recommendations at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

“We know that for some people finding the time can be difficult, but there are many opportunities to be active in every day life. Bike riding is a low impact physical activity that can be part of both daily recreation and transport.”

“Evidence shows that people who ride daily live significantly longer than those who don’t, which is good news for bike riders and for our community. In fact some studies suggest that the simple act of riding to work can lower the risk of early death by 40 per cent,” Ms Doyle said.

Research shows there are six barriers to women riding, both perceived and real barriers to participation:

  • More males ride! So the perception cycling is a male domain reigns on our parade!
  • Safety perceptions including personal safety
  • Women want to ride with like minded women
  • Traffic including speed and volume of cars
  • Apparel – what to wear, do I have to wear lycra, does my bum look big in this!
  • Mobility of children

Throughout 2015 there will be a number of practical information workshops held to break down these barriers by providing women with a safe environment to learn essential bike riding skills, share information, meet like minded local women, and find the confidence to get on their bikes.

The annual Gear Up Girl ride will be held on Sunday 8 March 2015 in Sydney.  Women and girls everywhere are encouraged to register, or if they can’t make it on the day they can host their own local ride.

We want females everywhere to build up the confidence to get on their bike, discover the joy and freedom of cycling and to learn to “love your ride”!

Gear Up Girl Event details

When: International Women’s Day, Sunday 8 March
Where: from Sydney Olympic Park to Cronulla
What: The annual event offers a unique women’s only ride with a choice of a 20km Beach Ride, 40km Classic Ride or 60km Coast Ride, with the routes including spectacular Kurnell, the Cooks River Cycleway and the Cronulla coastline.