Sydney Rides Challenges Awards Luncheon

(1pm 3 November 2011, Lord Mayor's Reception Room)

Thank you, Caitlin Brookes, MC and welcome, everyone. It's great to have you here. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and to pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

The Sydney Rides Challenge was a fantastic success and we've got a dozen deserving winners to be awarded their Sydney Rides jerseys.

Over 3000 people from 180-plus organisations - ranging in size from just three staff to over 500 - took part. Almost 650 of those were new riders, the people we most wanted to encourage, so that's a really pleasing result.

We offered six free Try-a-Bike sessions with instructors as the aim was not so much kilometres cycled as to encourage participation.

I hope that those first-timers are continuing to cycle, gaining confidence and adding to the numbers of Sydneysiders who already cycle to work, and cycle for leisure and fitness.

It's a terrific trend, one that our growing cycleway network is designed to support. It's helping to make the city cleaner, quieter, healthier and more accessible. In fact, I'm told the Sydney Rides Challenge saved 27,000 kilograms of CO2 and burn energy equivalent to 622 kilograms of fat! So they're pretty good outcomes as well.

I want to thank all of you who took part in the challenge - and it certainly represented a good cross-section of our City organisations, from a small six-person architectural firm to the mighty ABC broadcasting network.

It shows that, given adequate infrastructure, and just a bit of encouragement, cycling can become an accepted and acceptable way to move around our city. I'll look forward to seeing more city workers, residents and visitors on their bikes.

Congratulations again to everyone, especially to the winners, and keep on cycling!