Rolling with Clover Cycle Rally

(12.15pm 1 April 2012, Sydney Square)

Hello, everyone. It's fabulous to see you here. Let me firstly acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and let me also acknowledge the 200 nationalities who make up our wonderful city.

And let me acknowledge what is evident from your presence here today. Cycling is for everyone - for city commuters, for school-kids, for mothers and for businessmen.

Doctors do it; shop owners and secretaries do it; teachers and tourists and labourers and even Lord Mayors do it. Contrary to opinion from some quarters, serious people do ride bikes - and they have fun while they're doing it!

Sydney cyclist roll out for Clover - Photographer C Moore Hardy

That's why we're creating a safe cycling network - to allow everyone the opportunity to cycle to work, or to their local shops or recreation centres, to cycle as part of their daily commute or to enjoy it in their leisure time.

Every person on a bike represents a car off the road, or a seat freed up on public transport. Every person cycling is contributing to a cleaner, calmer and more pleasant city - and they're helping themselves as well by keeping fit.

The nay-sayers would chain us to the past, to the mentality that says if the city is congested, just build more freeways, put in more carparks. Unfortunately, they're part of the problem, not the solution.

What we're looking for is solutions. If we are to have a sustainable future, we'll need more people on bikes, not fewer; we'll need new ways of powering our urban centres - like trigeneration instead of wasteful and damaging coal-fired power; we'll need to open our minds to new ways of living and working, not close them.

Yes serious people do ride bikes because serious people see the need for change. And they're supported by dozens of serious companies across this city who are encouraging their employees to cycle; and providing bike-racks and end-of-trip facilities to help them do it.

I'm proud that we're moving towards a safe, cycling culture, and I'm enormously cheered by your presence here today and by the ever-growing numbers of Sydney-siders who are using our cycling network.

Thank you for your support. And have a great time today!