Cyclists of all ages could not wait for the free activities, maintenance workshop and helmet exchange at Ride the Gong in Wollongong on Saturday.
An hour before the NSW Bike Week event started people were lining up for assistance and advice. It is the second time Ride the Gong has been run by Wollongong City Council. It is a partnership between it and Roads & Maritime Services, Illawarra Bicycle Users Group, Spearman Cycles, Bicycle Network and Bicycle NSW.
It aims to promote cycling as a healthy, low cost and environmentally friendly transport option. Council road safety officer Naomi Reid said it was met with plenty of enthusiasm. An hour before the official start time people were lining up interested in bike maintenance advice, bike safety checks and information. The helmet exchange was popular with children who heard a bike safety message as they received a new Aboriginal goanna design helmet. Christian Hughes took his children, Coen and Maggie, along. “It is great to have all this available in one place”.
The children were also entertained by Tom Foolery showing off some of his circus and Magic on the Move tricks.
“Bike week is all about trying to encourage new and less confidence riders to get involved and we are certainly coming from the safety perspective. The idea of bike week is promoting cycling as more sustainable and accessible. Particularly around our network here. We have some fantastic shared paths,” Ms Reid said.
Illawarra Bicycle Users Group chairman Werner Steyer said the group did everything from promoting bicycle safety to lobbying for more cycleways. He said those behind Ride the Gong were particularly interested in helping new or less confident riders and increase awareness of shared paths and on and off road options throughout Wollongong.
On Saturday volunteers gave away maps, sunscreen, backpack covers and stickers and council officers will hold an information kiosk at the Wollongong Produce and Creative Markets on September 23.