According to Bicycle Victoria, recreational bike riding is one of the top ten physical activities in Australia. Australian and international studies also show that regular bicycle riding will reduce your chance of dying early from chronic diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
In addition to the health benefits, bike riding has become a popular social activity with bicycle clubs established in every state and territory of Australia.
More than 1.9 million Australians are involved in recreational bike riding and on Sunday 17th October, more than 16,000 of them are expected to assemble in Melbourne for the country’s largest mass participation bike ride, HBA Around the Bay in a Day.
Now in its 18th year, HBA Around the Bay in a Day attracts riders from around Australia and has grown from just 2,500 participants in 1993 to more than 15,000 in 2009. This year riders of all ages and fitness levels will challenge themselves in either the 50km, 80km, 100km, 210km, or 250km bike rides. After the ride, participants will be treated to live music, entertainment, roving entertainers, corporate hospitality, food and beverage facilities, sponsor displays and giveaways at the GO Bike Expo in the beautiful Alexandra Gardens.
For more information or to register for the HBA Around the Bay in a Day bike ride, visit the website: www.aroundthebay.com.au
Participants in the HBA Around the Bay in a Day bike ride will also have the opportunity to go that extra mile and raise money for charity by Getting Sponsored for The Smith Family. In 2009 participating riders raised more than $900,000 for the charity and this year, organisers are hoping to raise $1 million for The Smith Family’s Learning for Life education and learning programs.
Once you register for the HBA Around the Bay in a Day bike ride, Get sponsored for The Smith Family at: www.aroundthebayfundraising.com.au where you can set up your own web page and be sponsored by family, friends and colleagues to raise much needed fund for disadvantaged Aussie kids!
With only 50 days to go until the start of the HBA Around the Bay in a Day bike ride, you may not be ready to jump on your bike for this year’s event. But you can get a jump on next year’s bike ride if you start now.
In 2008, Helen Evans-Lemmo didn’t even own a bike, but the following year she set herself a challenge to participate in Ride to Work Day. In 2009, Helen also participated in her first HBA Around the Bay in a Day bike ride. Since crossing the finish line last year, Helen has competed in two sprint distance triathlons, lost 10kg and is riding anywhere from 30 to 150km a week.
If you haven’t tried recreational bike riding yet, Bicycle Victoria has 10 good reasons to get on your bike this spring:
Save time: Get your daily exercise done without having to find time to attend the gym.
Great exercise: Burn fat, lose weight and raise your fitness levels. A daily 30-minute ride or commute by bike will burn 8 calories a minute, the equivalent of 11kg of fat in a year.
Get healthy: Bike riding can help reduce the risks associated with physical inactivity including type 2 diabetes, breast and bowel cancer, obesity and depression.
Save money: By choosing to commute by bike instead of driving, it’s possible to save around $50 a week through reduced parking fees, fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. That’s $2,600 a year!
Help the environment: Riding just 10km each way instead of driving saves 1.3 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. That’s equal to 26,000 black balloons.
Avoid peak hour: Peak hour city trips up to 10km/phr are often faster by bike than any other form of transport.
Free parking: There’s no need to constantly ride around the block until a front door parking spot becomes available. And even better, parking is free.
The outlay: Did you know the cost of buying and maintaining a bike in Australia is around 1% of the cost of buying and maintaining a car?
Be productive: Some studies have shown that staff who ride to work benefit from increased productivity and less sick days – guaranteed to make your boss happy.
Beat stress: Riding will get you outdoors in the fresh air and allow you to enjoy the environment. This improves your mood, gives you a clear mind and is a good source of stress release.