Have you ever let out a squeak of excitement in a public place… then had everyone around you stare at you with raised eyebrows, or politely look away?
Well, I did that recently, in Burger King somewhere just off the highway in New Zealand. I had stopped there to use the wifi and inhale some greasy burgers after a huge 4 day hiking adventure with my brother in Tongariro National Park. I checked my emails for the first time that week and disappeared chicken nuggets at lightning speed.
That’s when I squeaked with excitement and startled my brother and the other tired travelers who were waiting for their meals. I would have done a happy dance, but my legs were dead from the hike… and I still had a burger to destroy!
What is Gear Up Girl?
Gear Up Girl is an initiative developed by Bicycle NSW, with support from the Heart Foundation, which aims to:
- provide opportunities for women to experience the pleasure of riding bikes;
- create a community of women to support each other as they endeavour to live lifestyles of health and fitness; and
- grow women’s cycling in New South Wales.
Bicycle NSW surveys show that only 26% of riders in NSW are female.
The Heart Foundation is concerned that 60% of Australian women and girls and 80% of children aged 5-17 are not getting enough exercise. This lack of exercise is a massive risk factor for heart disease and other health issues.
You can see why both groups were keen to see more women and girls riding bikes.
Since being founded in 2008, Gear Up Girl has evolved into a huge community bike ride that takes place each year, around International Women’s Day.
In 2018, we’re expecting around 1,500 riders to join the Gear Up Girl party on Sunday 11 March 2018.
Participants can choose to tackle a 20km, 40km, 60km or 80km course. The 80km course will start at Sydney Olympic Park and finish at Cronulla Beach. All the courses have been set up to showcase the best bike paths and cycling routes around Sydney’s beaches. The idea is that riders can revisit them whenever they want and feel confident exploring familiar trails.
What does it mean to be an ‘ambassador’?
My role as an ambassador is to take part in the Gear Up Girl ride, and encourage other women and girls to give it a go.
I’ll be blasting out blog posts, photos and other media in the lead up to Gear Up Girl 2018.
Check out #gearupgirl and #ridewithme on instagram to keep up to date.
Why I ride
Being on a bike with the wind in my hair makes me wildly happy. I love the freedom that you have when you explore the world by bike. Cycling keeps physically healthy and mentally well… and it saves on petrol money. I love that I can go for a bike ride with my girlfriends and have a great catch up, without spending a cent.
Over the past decade, I have been a:
- hesitant bike-commuter;
- confident bike commuter who couldn’t imagine dealing with corporate life without the daily ride along the waterfront;
- lycra-clad roadie going for long solo rides;
- very enthusiastic mountain biking newbie; and
- daughter who occasionally rides to coffee shops with my mum.
During the past year I’ve had the pleasure of riding with women from all ages and backgrounds through She Rides and Hunter Area Outdoor Women. It’s so energizing to see women overcome their fears and doubts, and become confident cyclists.
To be part of an initiative that get more girls on bikes is incredibly exciting to me.
Ride with me
I would love it if you could join me at the 2018 Gear Up Girl Ride on Sunday 11 March 2018.
You don’t have to be an elite athlete. You don’t need a fancy bike. You don’t need to look good in lycra. You just need to come along, give it a crack, and enjoy riding in a safe and supportive environment.
You can register for the ride here.
Entry fees range from $40 – $70 depending on how far you want to ride. Register before 6 January to make the most of the earlybird discounts. Use the discount code ‘joingeorgia’ for further 10% off your entry fee.
Children 16 years and under, can ride for free. The organizers encourage families to ride together and welcome little people in bike seats and trailers.
If you’re stuck for last minute Christmas ideas, why not get them an entry into this awesome event? You can thank me later!
Read more here: http://www.gearupgirl.com.au/