Our 2016 Bike Riders Survey demonstrated the gender divide is alive and well on two wheels. With a significant lack of coverage of Women’s Cycling in the media, it’s no surprise to see that less than 1 in 3 bike riders are female.
Bicycle NSW knows that 60% of the population would like to ride more but face numerous barriers to actually getting out on two wheels. Research shows that for women, these barriers can include:
- not having anyone to ride with
- not feeling safe on the road
- not feeling fit or experienced enough to ride distances
- not wanting to join a club or wear lycra
So over the last 9 years Bicycle NSW has been building our Gear Up Girl, ladies bike riding event, with the aim and purpose of encouraging and supporting more women to choose bike riding. Since its inception, Gear Up Girl has grown in size to now include 3 distances making riding achievable for all levels of bike riding skill and experience. Gear Up Girl has even spread to South Australia with BikeSA, our sister organisation, running their event for 7 years. This year Bicycle NSW is proud to expand the Gear Up Girl event even further and welcomes a new satellite event on the Central Coast.
Our women’s bike riding initiative is all about giving women the opportunity to experience the fun of riding and the strong sense of community and support they can receive from each other while, reaping the benefits of a bike.
How does Gear Up Girl break down the barriers to cycling for women?
Ride with friends!
Gear Up Girl is a fun and social ride, not a race. We’re encouraging every riding lady to bring a friend and introduce them to the joys of riding. Gear Up Girls can set up their own team and get the girls from work, the gym, mothers group, your neighbourhood, or any of your friends together to ride, chat, experience the beautiful bayside ride and festival finish!
Everyone who participates gets a limited edition Gear Up Girl medal to mark their achievement and we are hoping to set the world record - not bad for a Sunday ride! And remember - Kids Ride Free!
No Traffic on the 20km Route
Our Ride routes are up to 95% off road, utilising the great bicycle paths, shared paths and bike routes through the Inner West, St George and Sutherland areas. Our 20km Beach Ride has no riding in traffic! Feel safe riding with friends and like minded ladies - be loud and proud riding together.
Experienced riders can stretch their legs and support a friend! We encourage all those experienced riding ladies to bring a girlfriend and ride with them for the 40km or 60km rides - help show them how easy it can be and maybe they’ll come riding with you more often!
Plus, we have a range of Workshops where women can learn basic bike maintenance and we have opportunities to brush up on basic riding skills to develop confidence before the big day!
Get Ride Ready - the easy way
We’ve developed a 6 week training guide for each distance, for anyone wanting to take part in Gear Up Girl. Even if you only train a little bit beforehand, all 3 rides are predominantly flat and achievable for those trying out riding distances for the first time in a while.
We provide rest breaks along the way and knowing there’s no race pressure means you’ll enjoy the ride much more!
Ride your way
Bicycle NSW has a network of Bicycle User Groups (BUG) who lead social and recreational riding groups on rides for all levels of experience across the State every week. We invite all bike riders to visit their local BUG and find some friendly locals to ride with. This year, Central Coast BUG are delivering their own Gear up Girl event for those who can't make it to the Sydney event.
Gear Up Girl is a social ride with no pressure to perform. We have seen every fashion statement from wings and tutus to dresses, casual wear, active wear and cycling kits - like the Australian made Gear Up Girl Jersey! Perhaps you and your team of girlfriends would like to set your own dress code for your Gear Up Girl ride?!
Look after your heart health and ride in Gear up Girl March 12
Gear Up Girl Participants are also encouraged to raise vital funds for The Heart Foundation!
Did you know...
- Heart disease is the single biggest killer of Australian women. Three times as many women die of heart disease than they do of breast cancer.
- Bike riding is not only good for your heart health. It can be a transport option as well as being a fun recreational activity enjoyed on your own or with family and friends.
- Studies show that people who ride daily live significantly longer than those who don’t. In fact, some research shows that the simple act of riding to work can lower the risk of early death by 40%.
- Increasing physical inactivity has impacted on the average weight of Australian women which has increased from 67kg in 1995 to 74.1kg in 2012. Cycling is one way of improving our daily exercise.
- 90% of Australian women have one risk factor for heart disease and 50% have two or three. Being more physically active is one way to reduce your risk.
- Among young adult women obesity rates have increased from 4% to 17% since 1989.
- Only 57% of young adult women are sufficiently active for good health achieving more than 150 minutes of activity in the last week.