Women from all walks of life take to bicycle riding

Political, business and community leaders will ‘gear up’ this International Women’s Day as part of efforts to transform Australian women’s low levels of participation in bicycling.

Bicycle NSW is proud to have the support of women from all walks of life riding the Heart Foundation GEAR UP GIRL Ride on Sunday 8 March. With a commitment to increasing the number of women cycling, Bicycle NSW has created Sydney’s largest women’s only recreational bike ride to encourage more women to take to their bikes and enjoy the joy and freedom of riding.

“Sunday morning rides are a long standing tradition in our household and something I look forward to every week. It’s not just great exercise but a fantastic way to see your neighbourhood, your city and the world. Fingers and cleats crossed I will keep cycling down the road for many more years,” says The Hon. Gabrielle Upton, Minister for Family and Community Services(pictured).

As the popularity in cycling continues to grow, and sales of bicycles outstrip sales of cars, it is no surprise that the Deputy President of the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) Wendy Machin is actively supporting this event.

“Cycling is a great way to maintain an active lifestyle. Many NRMA Members ride bikes to get around as well as for fun, and Gear Up Girl is a fantastic opportunity for women to get on a bike and raise money for a good cause. I can’t wait to get peddling!” said Ms Machin.

Chief Executive of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Pauline Vamos sees bicycle riding as an important physical activity for all ages and life stages.

“Bike riding is low impact and provides a social outlet and we should all be riding into our ‘80s. It does however take practice and we need to build confidence, and what better opportunity to meet prospective bike buddies than at this event,” said Ms Vamos.

The event highlights the health and social benefits of bicycle riding and reminds women of the positive environmental impacts.

“As a woman committed to cycling to and from work, I’m thrilled to be a Gear Up Girl Ambassador. I love cycling because it’s great for my heart, it’s an easy way to be environmentally friendly, and I can always find a free parking spot!” says Jacqueline Arias, Founder & CEO, República Organic, Australia’s first fair trade organic coffee brand.

Heart Foundation NSW Chief Executive Kerry Doyle said the heart health charity was partnering with Bicycle NSW to host Gear Up Girl to highlight that bicycling can be a fun and enjoyable way for women to exercise with friends and family.

“Heart disease is the number one killer of Australian women, and being physically active for 30 minutes a day is one of the key ways women can reduce their heart disease risk,” Ms Doyle said.

“On March 8 we hope to show that when safe cycle routes are available, women do bicycle ride and can really enjoy their journey.”

With an expected 1,000+ women and children riding together, there will be no shortage of inspiring stories and delightful coincidences as women from all over greater Sydney, and from all walks of life, ride together. “I love how in a crowd of hundreds of diverse women, you always find a commonality that goes beyond the bike. The ringing of bike bells is interrupted by laughter and squeals of delight as the community of women connect on numerous levels and share their stories”, says Sophie Bartho, Bicycle NSW Communications & Advocacy Director.