Many years ago – about 25 to be exact – Greens Senator for Victoria, Janet Rice, was a Bicycle Network (then Bicycle Victoria) team member, and during that time she established Ride2Work Day.
While there had been occasional Ride2Work events, Senator Rice established the annual day in 1993 and it has since grown to become a national celebration of bike riding.
On the eve of National Ride2Work Day 2017 on Wednesday 18 October, we spoke with Senator Rice to get her recollections of the how Ride2Work Day came to be, and why it is important.
How did the idea for the day come about?
There had been the occasional Ride2Work breakfast held prior to 1993 but they were once off events. The Ride2Work Day program built on these and importantly added in getting people to encourage their colleagues to ride on the day. We knew then as we do now that personal encouragement and support is really important in getting people to give riding to work a go.
What is the importance of Ride2Work Day?
Ride2Work Day is so important because it’s a chance for people to see how easy and fun it is to ride to work. It helps to normalise and celebrate bike riding with people seeing their family members, friends and colleagues having a go and experiencing the benefits, such as the fresh air and exercise, not being stuck in traffic or waiting for unreliable public transport. Riding is also free, so it’s a great way to save $40 a week on fuel and car upkeep or on public transport fares.
Ride2Work Day is also a great opportunity to highlight the increased number of people riding bikes and the lack of safe bike paths and bike lanes. Not everyone has the freedom to ride safely, so it’s really important that governments start investing properly in bike infrastructure. The Greens want to invest $1 billion over four years in safe bike paths and lanes so that everyone across Australia, including in regional areas, can feel safe on their bike.
What’s your favourite thing about riding to work?
I have so many favourite things about riding to work that I can’t choose one! It can be hard to find time to myself, so having a bike ride twice a day gives me some solo time away from emails and the phone. It’s my twice daily refresh button! I also love the freedom bike riding gives me, plus I get to keep fit and healthy without needing to find extra time for exercise in my very busy day.
What advice would you give to anyone who’s thinking about giving riding a bike to work a go?
Give it a go, it’s not as hard as you think and there’s usually ways you can avoid busy roads. Talk to other people for advice on routes or connect up with a local bike group for resources, tips and a community. You also don’t have to do it every day and if it’s a bit far from your home to work, you can combine bike and train, or even challenge yourself to go just that bit further every day.
Learn more about Ride2Work Day
There's no better feeling than riding a bike. The only way to give more people that opportunity is to give them the freedom to ride safely. pic.twitter.com/6Cwpc2ztCG
— Janet Rice (@janet_rice) March 21, 2017