Sydney Rides Launch

(12pm, Saturday 13 October 2012, Taylor Square)

Welcome everyone to the Spoke People Street Fair and WOOP! Rolling Festival.

I'd like to acknowledge the original custodians of our land, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and pay my respects to their elders both past and present, and I acknowledge the people of the 200 nations who live in our city.

Today is the first day of Sydney Rides Festival - Sydney's largest celebration of bike riding. The fantastic growth of this year's festival, from last year's inaugural one week celebration to this year's fortnight of events, is testament to the growing popularity of bike riding.

More and more Sydneysiders are choosing pedal power to get around. In fact, our most recent independent bike counts have shown an 82 per cent increase in bike trips over the last two years.

The City is developing a safe and convenient 200 kilometre bike network, including 55 kilometres of separated cycleway, with 10 kilometres of this now completed.

Today we are celebrating the Bourke Street cycleway with street performers, live music, bike decorating and cycle maintenance workshops.

Over the next two weeks, there's lots more, including the Sydney Bike Film Festival, a Family Fun Day at Pirrama Park, the iconic Spring Cycle, the Surry Hills Festival and a Ride2Work breakfast in Hyde Park.

And if you're new to bike riding or lacking confidence, there's plenty to help you get cycling. The City is running riding skills workshops for children and new riders. There's also Try2Wheels events, giving you the chance to try out different bikes.

I'd like to give a special thank you to Josh Capelin from the Spokes People and Jackie Lau from WOOP! for putting on this wonderful event today. Thank you also to Sydney Rides festival sponsors, 2day FM and the Sydney Morning Herald for their support.

I encourage everyone to pick up a program at the City of Sydney stand and join in the fun!

Thank you and have a wonderful time.