As we celebrate International Women’s Day there’s also space for reflection.
Weekly participation for bike riding in NSW fell from 17.5% in 2015 to 12.5% in 2017, the lowest of any state, and just 26% of these riders were female. Only 7% of women use a bike for regular transport.
We know that the barrier to participation for most is feeling concerned, and when safe separated infrastructure is built it transforms participation. Rates doubled and more women rode when City of Sydney invested in bike infrastructure.
Riding a bike is one way of being more physically active and reducing heart disease risk. The Heart Foundation recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Being active for at least 30 minutes every day can:
- reduce heart disease risk, the leading killer of Australian women, by 35%
- reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol
- help maintain a healthy weight
- prevent and manage diabetes
- prevent or improve symptoms of depression
- boost brain health and the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s
“Gear Up Girl was started by Bicycle NSW as a way to encourage more women to hop on their bikes. We wanted them to see the many health and social benefits of riding,” commented Carlijn Kerdijk, Bicycle NSW Event Director, “We are proud that it is now the largest female bike ride in Australia, but we know more needs to be done.”
Bicycle NSW will 'keep pedalling' to make NSW better for bike riding and to help more women feel safe and to ride bikes.
Gear Up Girl is on Sunday, March 10 and online registrations close tomorrow (March 9).