For the 24th consecutive year, cyclists of every age and ability will be taking to the streets, riding as far as Melbourne to Sorrento or all the way around the bay to Geelong then Sorrento and back to Melbourne again, simply for the love of cycling and to help raise money for a good cause.
In one of the biggest organised events held every year in Melbourne, the sheer logistics involved in the Around the Bay event are simply jaw dropping. A small army of 400 volunteers worked last year to cater to the massive army of 10,000 cyclists who took to Melbourne streets for this wonderful event.
This year the Around the Bay – Ride for a Child in Need event is happening on Sunday 9th October 2016, and new features are being introduced to make it even bigger and better than ever before. Firstly, riders can expect an improved start and better passageway through the city. Then there will be bigger and better rest stops with more mechanical support, more on-route mechanics and support for riders and a brand new starting and resting area in Geelong.
The event starts and ends in the Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne where there'll be merchandise, food and activities. The Alexandra Gardens are situated on Boathouse Drive and are flanked by the Tan Track, St Kilda Road and Linlithgow Avenue, Melbourne. Some rides begin in Sorrento and Geelong and details of those are provided later in this article.
Around the Bay consists of seven ride distances and nine different routes including the Family Friendly 20km, General Entry and Schools Challenge 50km, 100km, a brand new 160km option, and the iconic and incomparable 250km loop.
Family Friendly Ride
Organisers are very excited to announce a brand new category being introduced in 2016 – a family friendly 20km ride. Set entirely on closed roads, this route is safe for riders of every age and a great way for families to participate together.
Starting in the Alexandra Gardens, this trip loops through Elwood Park along Beach Road then back again to Alexandra Gardens. Standard entry in this even is $40, with children under the age of 12 able to ride free.
Raise the stakes and add a little competitive edge by challenging a rival school to a duel. What could be more fun than riding against another school while raising money for The Smith Family?
There are two Schools Challenge distances, the 50km or 100km and every school participant will receive a school team nameplate for the front of their bikes and free school delivery pack sent directly to your school.
Standard entry of these events is $50 for the 50km or $89 for the 100km distances.
Other Ride Distances
Another improvement made to this year's event is a 6.5km lane closure between Safety Beach and Mouth Martha. Instead of being directed round an inland route, riders will enjoy more stunning coastal views cruising closer to the waters edge.
There are several ride distances to choose from to suit every level of ability. The shortest general ride is the 50km, which goes over the Westgate Bridge to Altona. Standard entry in this even is $89.
There are two 100km routes to choose from. The Frankston return route starts and ends in the Alexandra Gardens. Alternatively, ride 100km from Sorrento to Melbourne through Mordialloc along Beach Road. This picturesque ride includes 17km of coast road between Safety Beach and Mornington. Standard entry in both these events is $160.
The longer distances include the 135km Geelong to Melbourne, which includes a ferry ride from Queenscliff to Sorrento, then vista views along Beach Road. Standard entry in this event is $169. The 160km Rosebud Return, with a $180 standard entry. Then there's the 210km Sorrento return through the South Eastern suburbs with a standard entry of $185.
The second 210km route is the anti-clockwise ride around the bay. It starts in the Alexandra Gardens and travels to Queenscliff via Geelong, with a ferry ride to Sorrento then back to the Alexandra Gardens. Standard entry in this event is $235.
There is detailed information about each ride on the website, including elevations, maps, rest areas, services and amenities.
Early bird entry ended on Wednesday 6th July. General entry closes at 8am on Sunday 9th October 2016. Entry fees are used by the Bicycle Network to improve conditions for all bike riders. An additional program runs in conjunction with the Around the Bay event, raising money for The Smith Family and disadvantaged families. Details about this fundraising initiative and how you can help are outlined on the webpage.
You can ride alone, but every activity is better with friends. Make a team of your family, friends, School or even work colleagues for the biggest one-day bike-riding event in Australia.
There's heaps of sponsored merchandise, all of which can be pre-purchased on the website. Items include knicks, gillets, socks, sun sleeves, water bottles, caps, Hoodies, sweatshirts and t-shirts.
You can enter this Around the Bay event on the Bicycle Network website and via phone on 1800 639 634. Transport and valet services are also available.
Stay up with all the latest on the Around the Bay website and Facebook Pages by following the links here.