Happy 2024 to our loyal members, readers and subscribers. As we embark on a new year, I wanted to share a couple of key milestones on the 2024 Bicycle Network calendar, and some news about our organisation.
We’d love to see 40 schools on our 40th Great Vic, which runs from 23 November to 1 December, and our team is busy working with teachers and students to make this a reality. Whether you are a past participant, or just know about the fun that can be had, we hope you will encourage the young people in your life to take up bike riding and start training for the thrill of the Great Vic.
As a not-for-profit, health promotion charity Bicycle Network’s goal has always been to get more people on bikes to prevent diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and to help them lead happier, healthier lives. Our events help us encourage families, young riders, new riders and riders who simply love the shared camaraderie of a big event, to experience and share the joy of riding.
We know that riding, for many, starts with riding to school, and our long-running Ride2School program has encouraged hundreds of thousands of children to travel actively to school since 2005. We know the numbers of children walking or riding to school each day have declined dramatically in the last five decades, and our program has helped to stem the tide and teach children and communities the benefits of safe, active travel.
For the first time, we’ve asked our celebrated Peaks Challenge riders, those staunch, committed athletes who train for months to cover 235km and 4000+ metres of climbing in one incredible day, to become fundraisers and to call on their families, colleagues and friends to help support our Ride2School program. Peaks Challenge will take place on Sunday 10 March and this year we are expecting 2000-plus riders to tackle the Victorian High Country. Entries are still open, so if you are fit, primed and ready it’s not too late to sign up now.
We’ve also introduced a new event that’s coming up soon too – Gravel Macedon on Saturday 23 March. And we are asking these hardcore riders (nearly 500 so far) to help support Ride2School and raise funds for us too.
In 2023, we established our First Nations Support Fund through the Australian Sports Foundation, to expand the reach of the bicycle and offer young First Nations Australians to experience the life-changing Great Vic Bike Ride. We thank those of you who supported our young athletes and 2023 and we are hoping to build the program in 2024.
Our advocacy work at Bicycle Network is never ending and we celebrated some strong wins in 2023, including the world-class St Kilda Road bike lanes, new national laws to improve truck safety standards, a decade-long battle for a safer Black Forest Drive, and Australia's first e-bike rebate program in Tasmania.
As a not-for-profit organisation our resources are stretched, but your Membership helps us advocate for better, safer riding conditions for all. We’ve introduced a new $40 Advocacy Membership to call on loyal readers who may not need the benefits of our premium insurance product, but enjoy reading our great In the Loop content and learning about all things bike related.
And finally, you might notice a new Donate Now button on our website. It’s another way that we can use your support across our community programs including Open Streets, our Women's Community and our transport surveys and data and Super Counts work.
We wish you a safe, healthy active 2024 we and hope your riding takes you to new and more places, improves your physical and mental health, and creates wonderful memories.
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