On Sunday 12 March hundreds of women and girls will be rolling their way down to Cronulla Beach along some of Sydney’s most scenic, separated cycle paths for the annual Heart Foundation Gear Up Girl.
Bicycle NSW Event and Sponsorship Director, Jane Robertson said Sydney’s iconic women’s bike ride has three rides, a 20km, 40km and 60km, to cater for all women and girls. “You don’t need a fancy bike and Lycra to ride Gear Up Girl – it is not a race!
“This year the event will be aiming to set the record for the world’s largest community women’s bike ride. It is a fantastic day out for all women and girls to have fun and celebrate being women,” Ms Robertson said.
One of the largest groups participating in this year’s event will be the Sydney Cycling Sisters. The group is dedicated to providing an environment for women get together for regular rides around Sydney in a safe and supportive environment. Ms Cindy Rahal, group founder said the group is made up of a good mix of people.
“Last week we had an older lady come along with us which got me thinking about setting up a group for seniors. We have a lot of mums who regularly attend because they like going out early and getting their exercise before their kids are awake. We also get a smaller group of uni students and a few kids who come along with their mums. For example, my daughter participates.
“We don’t let public perception be a barrier for us to enjoy leisure activities. There is a demand amongst women in our community which has seen us expand into Melbourne and one of our members has started Swim Sisters for Muslim women who enjoy swimming in their burkinis,” Ms Rahal said.
Ms Rahal started the group in April 2015, after a career change took her back to university to study her Masters in Occupational Therapy. “I grew up in a house full of brothers and cousins. I always loved to ride growing up.” Ms Rahal said.
During her studies, Ms Rahal was examining different leisure activities and the barriers in place that prevent people from participating in certain activities.
Ms Rahal said the group were looking forward to riding their second Heart Foundation Gear Up Girl this year. “Last year, we found that riding with just other women was much more relaxed. At the end, it was so serene compared to all that testosterone, because it’s not all about being the fastest or climbing the steepest hill,” she explained.
Heart Foundation NSW Chief Executive, Ms Kerry Doyle said the Heart Foundation was pleased to support Gear Up Girl again this year to encourage women and girls to get on their bikes in a safe, social and non-competitive environment.
“Helmet hair, getting sweaty and a fear of getting your dress caught in a bicycle chain are all reasonable concerns – but the health benefits to being physically active far outweigh the negatives.
“We want to see more women choosing bike riding as a fun and easy way to get more physical activity into their day,” Ms Doyle said.
To register your team for the Heart Foundation Gear Up Girl ride, go to www.gearupgirl.com.au
If you want to connect with the Sydney Cycling Sisters, you can find them on Facebook.