• The Women's Ride 2015 (cycling victoria)Source: cycling victoria
On Sunday 6 March 2016, more than a thousand cyclists across Victoria will participate in ‘The Women’s Ride’, a Cycling Victoria initiative that aims to encourage more women to ride bikes.
Sarah Leach

1 Mar 2016 - 11:45 AM  UPDATED 2 Mar 2016 - 1:55 PM

Launched in 2015, The Women’s Ride will help spread the message of cycling safety, awareness and inclusion, and one rider who encompasses all three is 38 year-old Magdalena Oleksy.

“I have kept an eye out for it as I didn’t want to miss it,” Olesky said.

“I've been riding mostly with guys or on my own, so it will be great to finally ride with some other girls,” she said.

Four months ago Oleksy suffered crash in St Andrews, on the way to Kinglake. She broke her elbow badly, which forced her off the bike for a couple of months, and became too scared to ride down the same route.

“I think mentally I'm not ready to go to Kinglake yet, however when I saw that there’s a ride (on The Women’s Ride day) that goes to St Andrews, I thought I'll give it a go and perhaps face that little piece of the road where I had my accident,” Oleksy said.

“I went through all the ride descriptions and I thought this one would be perfect for me because it goes through a part where I had an accident four months ago.

“For me mentally it’s hard to go through the same road again still but I thought it would be a challenge for me, a mental challenge, not a physical one and I thought I’d give it a go.”

Oleksy has registered to participate in the Fonde Ride on the day. The Women’s Ride will incorporate a variety of cycling events across Victoria, ranging from recreational group rides and bike themed events, to different disciplines of racing. The day also coincides with, and commemorates International Women’s Day and Cycling Victoria’s International Women’s Day Awards.

“We face this piece of road and hopefully I’ll survive this time!” Oleksy said.

For Oleksy, the day will bring the opportunity to not only face her fears, but also the chance to meet more like-minded friends in the sport.

“I usually ride with guys, but this is the first time I will be riding with the girls and that’s the other reason why I want to do it actually, to meet some other girls,” said Oleksy.

“I like the idea of the girls riding together as well because I like this idea of sisterhood; I think girls aren’t as competitive as guys. Some girls are competitive and they are very fast but I think it could be a really nice atmosphere with the girls riding together. So I’m really looking forward to it”.

Oleksy admits it’s a joy to ride through Melbourne.  

“Here in Melbourne I just love the fact that I live so close to the beach and I can just go on the ride and in ten minutes I’m along the beach road and I can go wherever I want at the speed that I want, meet some people and have some fun.

“I am from Poland and when we went riding we had to go outside of town, we don’t have any tracks and it’s too busy and too scary to go on the road.

"And I enjoy keeping fit, the more you do the fitter you are,” Oleksy said.

Cycling Victoria has partnered with City of Melbourne to host an official welcome and start area at Docklands Park where cyclists can enjoy a breakfast and official welcome before departing for their ride. The City of Port Philip will also be hosting a suite of activities including cycling yoga, a cargo bike try-out and bike maintenance racing.

The Women’s timing it to coincide and commemorate International Women’s Day and Cycling Victoria’s International Women’s Day Awards.

The Women’s Ride incorporates a variety of cycling events across Victoria, ranging from recreational group rides and bike themed events, to different disciplines of racing.  A few of the rides that will feature on the day include:

A Champagne Ride with Wheel Women

  • A 30km ride from Docklands to a secret location where women can enjoy bubbles and cupcakes in celebration of women and bikes.

Melburn Hurt’s Come and Try Track Session’

She Spoke

Wriders Pancake Ride

Mark Drehlich from Cycling Victoria said they were seeking to increase the proportion of women riding by breaking down some of the barriers that might prevent women from taking up cycling.

“We know that women face more barriers than men to taking up riding – our research with women who do ride said that the top three barriers were lack of time, work commitments and feeling unsafe on the road."

“67.6 per cent said that safer/higher quality bike lane and pathway facilities would assist them to ride more often. “Cycling Victoria is keen to do what we can to equip women with the skills they need to feel safe whilst riding, and celebrate some of the fantastic social cycling groups full of women cyclists.

“So far, 800 cyclists have already registered to join in 25 rides which are scheduled across the State, with many meeting up at the central hub in Docklands on Sunday 6 March,” Mr Drehlich said.