Over 10,000 cyclist took over the streets of Sydney on Sunday, October 15. The riders came together to cycle over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past the Opera House and through the City, in Sydney’s largest display of cycling advocacy. From Inner Sydney out to the West, riders rediscovered the joys of cycling in the Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle, supported by the NSW Government. Bike riders from Sydney, NSW, and even overseas culminated in one location for one purpose.
Spring Cycle is the only day of the year, where all bike riders can stand up and be counted, to come together as a community, to ultimately change and improve bike riding accessibility in NSW.The 2017 Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle was one for the history books with the appearance of some of Australia’s A-list athletes.
8 time BMX and Mountain Bike World Champion, Caroline Buchanan, opened the 105km Challenge with Spring Financial Group’s Managing Director, Keith Cullen. Australian cycling hero and 12 times Tour de France rider, Robbie McEwen along with SBS cycling commentator, Mike Tomalaris, led out the 105km Challenge Ride to start the 2017 Spring Cycle.
Experiencing a ride on a penny fathering, Minister for North Shore, Felicity Wilson, happily opened the 50km Classic Ride. While inspirational speaker, writer and triathlete, Turia Pitt opened the 10km Sydney City Ride.
Everyone from the once-a-year rider to the daily commuter and even centurions came out in force to enjoy a scenic and safe ride. Thanks to the advocacy work of Bicycle NSW, the many voices of Spring Cycle participants were on show.
“It is days like the Spring Cycle that really showcase the important work we do to create a better environment for cycling. Joining us on one of our four rides – our Spring Cycle riders stood up and were counted, helping us secure a better future for bike riding”, remarked Craig Meagher, Bicycle NSW CEO.
Jane Robertson, Bicycle NSW Event Director, continued “One of our aims for Spring Cycle is to highlight the cycling infrastructure in Sydney that people just do not know about. We want to support as many people to get out on their bike and showcase cycling routes that everyone can enjoy all year round. It is wonderful to give riders the opportunity to cycle over the Harbour Bridge, through the corkscrew, Cahill Express and the Western Distributor. It is incredible to see so many happy faces from families to experienced riders as they all come together on this one day to celebrate cycling. It is an honour to be a part of it.”
Bicycle NSW new bike share partner, ofo, took on Sydney Harbour Bridge with 100 riders on their brand new bikes. “Following the successful launch of our pilot scheme in Adelaide earlier this month, ofo was extremely proud to be the exclusive bike share event sponsor of one of Australia’s favourite cycling events - Spring Cycle. As the international market leader in bike-sharing, we want to lead the market in launching in Australia ‘the right way’, and so it was great to be part of Spring Cycle, getting to know Sydney and showing Sydney not only what ofo can do, but how we have designed our bikes and service with Sydneysiders in mind. We’re committed to working with local stakeholders to provide the best possible bike-sharing service for each city, so keep your eyes peeled for a bright yellow ofo bike near you soon.” Says Scott Walker, Head of Strategy, ofo Australia.
We would also like to thank Waterview in Bicentennial Park who kicked off the entire weekend by hosting the inaugural Bicycle NSW Fundraising Dinner on Friday, October 13. We had over one hundred guests who were there to support and celebrate all the advocacy work Bicycle NSW does.
“We had some fantastic items up for auction including the Chris Froome’s signed yellow jersey from the Tour de France. It was a great evening to get all of our sponsors and supporting in the same room to showcase all the work Bicycle NSW does, and can do.” Commented Craig Meagher.
Without doubt, Turia Pitt is one of Australia’s most admired and widely recognised people. At 24, Turia was an ex-model, fitness junkie and successful mining engineer when she became trapped in a grass fire while competing in a 100km ultramarathon in the Kimberley region of Australia.
She was choppered out of the remote desert, barely alive, with full thickness burns to 65 per cent of her body. Turia lost seven fingers, endured six gruelling months in hospital, underwent over 200 operations and spent two years in recovery. But surviving against overwhelming odds is the least of her achievements, Turia has gone on to thrive in the ultimate story of triumph over adversity.
Renowned for her pure grit, indomitable spirit and passion for humanitarian work, she’s raised well over well over a million dollars for the not-for-profit organisation, Interplast.
A bestselling author, highly sought-after motivational speaker, mindset coach and twice Ironman Finisher, Turia has mentored over 6,000 people through her online programs and inspired millions through her books, achievements and global media presence.
She’s been shortlisted for Australian of the Year; was a finalist for the Telstra Business Women’s award and was the winner of the NSW Premier’s Women of the Year.
She’s engaging, refreshingly candid and her story, and “never give up” attitude, inspires others to drop their excuses; conquer their fears and be their best.
If you are a Bicycle NSW Member you can call Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers’ Free Cyclist Legal Information Line on 1800 059 278 or email firstname.lastname@example.org anytime and talk to one of their experts to assist you with any legal problem.
How did you get into cycling?
I was 39 years old at the time, panicking that I was soon turning 40 in 12 months... I was carrying an extra 20 kilos of weight after becoming a mother. After trying shakes and failed attempts of dieting, I finally realised the only way to loose my weight for my 40th birthday is to MOVE! I started with 5km walks, that eventuated into jogging then running. However the impact on my joints and high heart rate didn't agree with me. That's when I was advised by my friends to buy my first bike! It had been over 16 years since my last bike ride, so I quickly joined the 'She Rides' bike riding course to learn all the beginner skills.
What do you love about it?
I have made so many new local friendships in the past 3 years since taking up bike riding! I have joined a local bike club (North Western Sydney Cycling Club), riding with like minded bike addicted friends, that all look out for each other, and whom also enjoy the adventure, scenery and endorphin's guaranteed from every ride! I love the speed, the fresh air, the chance to appreciate the country scenery, the escape from the daily stress and the smile it always puts on my face! Its seriously impossible to be grumpy on a bike. The heart elevation and those yummy happy endorphin's are so addictive !
What did you enjoy about Spring Cycle in the past?
I last rode the Spring Cycle in 2015 and was so thrilled take over the closed off road over the Sydney Harbour Bridge! I couldn't believe it is over 1 kilometre distance. As I was only new to riding back in 2015, the distance was a new challenge for me. To have my young family cheer for me at the end of this scenic course, and receiving the keep sake medal upon completion, made me truly proud of how far I had come (from couch lazy,, to a motivated cyclists)
What is your favourite ride?
Lately I just love any kind of catch up rides with my friends. At the pace that we can chat, laugh, take photos and have a half way coffee!
What bike are you riding at the moment?
I ride a Specialized Amira Expert SLR 2016 - womens specific
What are some of your highlights in terms of cycling? I enjoyed the competitiveness of racing for a few months last year in 2016, winning a few E grade races. However when I was moved up to D grade, I just couldn't compete with the final sprint power of the men.
Although I dread the exhaustion of hills, I tackled some of Adelaide's toughest elevations, including the 'Corkscrew'!
I am also very proud to achieve my personal goal to ride the distance of 10,000km in 2016 🙂
Ten year old Mitchel has cerebral palsy. He can’t stand or walk independently but on Sunday October 20, 2013 he rode the Sydney Harbour Bridge on his own customised Freedom Wheels bike.
Riley also has cerebral palsy. His legs and arms are severely affected by this condition and he normally moves around using a wheelchair. But on Sunday October 18, 2015 he rode his customised Freedom Wheels bike over the bridge.
Seven year old Matthew has spina bifida. His lack of balance and limited core strength means he struggles to ride a standard bike. But on Sunday October 16, 2016 he rode his Freedom Wheels bike over the iconic bridge with his family and Matt Keane MP, Member for Hornsby.
In 2017, Freedom Wheels will be providing other children with disabilities the chance to ride across one of Sydney’s most famous landmarks. Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle is proud to once again say that we have partnered with Freedom Wheels! They believe that every child – even with a disability – deserves the chance to ride a bike. At Spring Cycle we believe that every child deserves the chance to ride across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“Freedom Wheels does an inspirational job giving children with disabilities independence. To see children that are unable to walk be given this independence on a bike is why they are our charity partner this year”, commented Craig Meagher, Bicycle NSW CEO. “Children have always ridden free in the Spring Cycle but with the help of Freedom Wheels, all children can ride in this iconic event.”
“We’re thrilled to be the charity partner for the Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle so people who love their bikes can fundraise to share that joy with kids with disabilities. Cycling gives so much more than just exercise and we appreciate riders making their ride count to support more kids to ride for the very first time,” Danny Kapustin, CEO, Freedom Wheels.
Freedom Wheels are the only charity in NSW that design and build custom bikes for children with disabilities. They give children the independence they or their families never thought was possible.
Building custom bikes for children with disabilities enables them to play on two wheels just like their friends. Many of these children cannot walk but they can ride. These special bikes are designed to suit the individual child’s age, height, weight and physical and cognitive abilities. Each bike is individually designed and built for the child.
With the help of Spring Cycle riders, Freedom Wheels has been able to offer free assessments and subsidise costs of the bike. This is the help those families need who often are facing overwhelming financial hurdles. Each child deserves the equal opportunity and affordability of a bike.
This year, Spring Cycle riders will once again be given the opportunity to generously help Freedom Wheels and get every child pedalling.