ACT News

Cycling champion Anna Meares leads Amy's Big Canberra Bike Ride this weekend

Helmet-clad Canberrans will have the chance to pedal alongside Australian track cyclist and newly minted record-holder Anna Meares this weekend.

Meares will be in the capital as event ambassador of Amy's Big Canberra Bike Ride on Sunday, less than a week after winning her 11th world title and becoming the world's most successful female track cyclist.

The community bike ride enables cyclists of all ages and abilities to tackle one of five courses ranging from five to 120 kilometres, taking riders along Lake Burley Griffin and out to Cotter Road and the Stromlo area, depending on the distance. 

The event, run by the Amy Gillett Foundation and Pedal Power ACT, also has a fundraising target of $25,000 for the foundation, which aims to reduce the number of cycling deaths and injuries in Australia by creating safer cycling environments throughout the country.

The charity was born out of the death of cyclist Amy Gillett, who was hit and killed by an out-of-control motorist while cycling with her national teammates in Germany in 2005. 

Meares, who won the most recent title at the UCI Track World Championships in Paris over the weekend - surpassing previous record-holder Felicia Ballanger of France - said she looked forward to celebrating the win with her Australian supporters on Sunday.

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The event is expected to draw more than 1000 cyclists.

"I'm over the moon to have secured my 11th world title and am looking forward to coming home and celebrating with the Canberra community at Amy's Big Canberra Bike Ride," Meares said.

"I'll be jumping on my bike and taking part in the event, although I may be a little sore."

Meares also claimed silver in the 500-metre time trial and bronze in the team sprint at the championships.

Amy Gillett Foundation chief executive officer Tracey Gaudry said Meare's appearance was a rare opportunity to ride alongside a champion athlete.

"Anna is not only an exceptional athlete but an exceptional role model ... for the community and a wonderful ambassador for cycling, health and fitness," she said.

Ms Gaudry said Meares, along with the foundation, had advocated for the A Metre Matters campaign.

The safety measures are expected to be legislated in the ACT this year and would require drivers to leave a one-metre to 1.5-metre buffer when overtaking cyclists on ACT roads. 

"It's very important - we want to generate a future generation of active children in Canberra whose parents are confident to let their children cycle," Ms Gaudry said.

Amy's Big Canberra Bike Ride pedals into action on Sunday, with the first rides leaving Rond Terrace at 8am. The Event Village at Rond Terrace opens at 6.45am.

Online registrations close at midnight on Wednesday, February 25. Late registrations will be available in person on the day.

To register or for more information, visit www.bcbr.org.au.

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