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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Roll up, roll up to The Big Canberra Bike Ride!

Riders of all ages and abilities will wake up on Sunday, 21 March, buckle their helmets and roll up to the The Big Canberra Bike Ride, now in its 22nd year.

Pedal Power CEO Ian Ross said the unique bike riding event was designed to suit all riders of all abilities.

“Some people ride for pleasure, some race, others commute by bike and some people only ride on dirt tracks, but for one event each year we unite and ride as one.”

Canberran bike riders Brett Wheeler, Lynne Prentice and Millie Birks (L-R) are already registered for The Big Canberra Bike Ride, organised by Pedal Power ACT. Image: Kerrie Brewer

Nine-year-old Millie Birks will ride the 6km Family Ride. She learned how to get around on two wheels about five years ago and says she loves exploring unsealed tracks and “all that stuff”.

Dirt bike rider Lynne Prentice lives by the motto ‘I ride to ride another day’.

She started commuting by bicycle 11 years ago, before she began exploring her now favourite local fire trails.

This year, Lynne will ride in the 32km Big Community Ride, as will fellow Pedal Power member Brett Wheeler, whose love for cycling in Canberra also started with a daily commute.

Brett says he began with a cheap mountain bike and enjoyed the solitude, then discovered a sense of camaraderie on a Sunday morning group ride with Pedal Power.

“It settled me down and made it where I was a bit more relaxed on the bike,” he said.

Now Brett’s custom set-up has taken him all over, carrying plenty of water and an extensive toolkit – “So if need be, I’ve got myself covered as well as anyone else that needs help.”

His bike is decked out with wireless speakers to play music on the road, mostly “nice, relaxing” tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

“At the same time, you sometimes get the upbeat songs that get the cadence going a bit faster!”

For Brett, riding one-handed isn’t difficult, and he says it’s only on long rides that he sometimes gets a bit sore.

“Yeah, I’ve got a choice of ride the way I do or not ride, and that’s not a choice!”

There will be four routes available at this year’s ride:

  • The Big Family Ride (6km) takes place entirely on closed roads around the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin.
  • The Big Community Ride (32km) features a circuit around Lake Burley Griffin, the “jewel in the crown” of Canberra’s beautiful bush capital, plus parts of Coombs, Weston and Curtin. People doing this ride also have the option to Riders have the option to shorten their ride to a 22 km loop by taking a short cut.
  • The Big Dam Bike Ride (70km) takes riders out of the city following one of Canberra’s most popular and challenging cycling circuits: the Cotter-Uriarra loop. The ride features rolling hills and extended climbs, stunning river landscapes and spectacular views of the Cotter Dam.
  • The Big Tidbinbilla Ride (120km) follows the same route as the Big Dam Ride, with the addition of a return ride into the beautiful Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, which features several challenging climbs.

Visit bigcanberrabikeride.org for more details and to register.

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