Marrickville Mayor Mark Gardiner is encouraging women and girls to mark 2015 International Women’s Day by joining Sydney’s largest female-only recreational bike ride. The Heart Foundation GEAR UP GIRL Ride on Sunday 8 March is open to women and girls of all ages, experiences abilities. The event provides a safe, scenic and social chance for women to rediscover the freedom and joy of riding a bicycle, and is designed to give women and children the confidence to cycle regularly for recreation and transport.
Participants can take part in a 20km, 40km or 60km ride, and children ride free. Marrickville Mayor Mark Gardiner praised the initiative. “As an enthusiastic bike rider, I would love to see more people take up this form of transport that is so good for our environment and our health. I congratulate Bicycle NSW and the Heart Foundation on this terrific initiative. I hope many of our inner west women and children register for Sydney’s largest women’s only recreational bicycle ride to celebrate International Women’s Day,”said Gardiner.
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. Across all states, weekly recreational cycling participation rates for men are almost double female participation and the divide gets greater with age, with males aged 50+ out cycling females 3:1.
Chief Executive of the Heart Foundation NSW Kerry Doyle said she hoped the event would encourage more women to be physically active. “Few women are aware that heart disease is the number one killer for Australian women. Through Gear Up Girl, we have an ideal opportunity to encourage our girls to get on their bikes and get active. Physical exercise has proven as a great weapon in the fight against heart disease.
“We know that for some people finding the time to exercise can be difficult, but there are many opportunities to be active in everyday life. Bike riding is a low impact physical activity that can be part of both daily recreation and transport,” said Doyle.
Gear Up Girl was founded by Bicycle NSW in 2008 and is held annually. The Heart Foundation is partnering with the event in 2015 as part of its ‘Go Red for Women’ initiative, which aims to educate women and raise funds for the fight against women and heart disease.