Observed every year on 26 January, Australia Day marks the day the First Fleet landed at Sydney Cove in 1788, where the Union Flag was raised by Arthur Phillip. Since then, it’s evolved into an celebration of the diversity of the people and landscape of the country.
You might celebrate Australia Day by having a family barbeque, attending a festival or fireworks display – but, if you’re a cyclist, you’re probably itching to use the public holiday to get another ride into your week.
Luckily, there are loads of cycling events and group rides on Australia Day.
Whether you’re a history buff or prefer to celebrate by immersing yourself in the scenery, we’ve put together a list of some of the best rides you can look forward to.
What to Pack for Your Australia Day Ride
Because you’re riding in summer, no matter what you do, you’ll want to do it early. Plan to set off between 5AM and 6AM so you can get out of the sun before it’s at its strongest, especially if you’re riding with kids.
You could just pack your tried-and-tested on-the-road favourites, but where’s the fun in that? Here’s what you need to pack to celebrate Australia on your Australia Day ride:
- Tim Tams
- Fairy bread
- Anzac Biscuits
- An Aussie jersey or flag to put on your bike or yourself
If you’re taking part in an event, ride (and celebrate) with ultimate peace of mind. Sign up for Velosure Premium bicycle insurance and get cover for theft, crashes, damage, and racing & events cover.
Cycling Events & Group Rides on Australia Day
The Alpine Classic
Going into their 36th year, the Alpine Classic is held over the Australia Day long weekend – and what better way to celebrate Australia than by climbing some of the most beautiful scenery in the country? According to the organisers, it’s not just a cycling event, “it’s an experience that will stay with you forever.”
For the full experience, ride the classic 200km route from Bright to Falls Creek and back. If that sounds like a little much for you, you can also choose between 60km, 70km, 130km and 140km routes.
Unfortunately, this year’s registration closed on 20 January 2022, but because it falls on the same weekend every year you can always mark it down in your calendar and start training to take on the 200km route in 2023!
Jimboomba Rotary Club Australia Day Bike Ride
The Jimboomba Rotary Club is hosting an Australia Day ride in Jimboomba, Queensland, to honour Australia’s indingenous culture. You can choose between 30km, 75km or 100km rides that take you through Logan, Scenic Rim, and historical sites of the Mununjali people.
The rides start with a traditional smoking ceremony and end with a buffet breakfast. They’re perfect for history buffs and families with older kids who can handle the longer distances. Learn more about the rides and register here.
BVRT Australia Day Bike Ride
Since 2018, the BVRT Users Association have been celebrating Australia Day with a 44km bike ride that starts at the Fernvale Futures Visitors Centre in Fernvale and ends at Esk Station in Esk, Queensland.
Situated against the beautiful backdrop of Mount Glen Rock, Esk is a quaint town that offers boutique stores, pubs, and antique shops – so if you’re tempted to stay the night and enjoy what the town has to offer, BVRT is also lets you get a 5AM shuttle from Esk back to Fernvale the next morning.
Registration is free and you can book your spot online here.
Mt Glorious & Mt Nebo Bike Ride
This one isn’t quite an event, but you can expect to join loads of Brisbane cyclists on the traditional Australia Day climb up Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious. Every year, you’ll find cyclists decked out in Australian flags and jerseys so don’t forget your national pride at home!
Some other things to remember to bring are snacks, sunscreen, and water – because it’s not an organised event, you should bring everything you’ll need with you. We recommend starting the ride as early as possible so you can enjoy the cool air before the sun comes out.
The 30km ride starts at The Gap in Brisbane and continues up to Mt Glorious via Mt Nebo. Although the average gradient is only 2%, don’t let that fool you: it’s a tough climb and best suited for those with a high level of fitness.
Santos Festival of Cycling
We’ve written about the Santos Festival of Cycling here before, but because it intersects with Australia Day we’d be remiss to not include it on this list too.
Whether you want to have a long lunch and craft beer or put your fitness to the test (or a bit of both), the Santos Festival of Cycling has something for everyone. There’s a kids’ corner, family rides, live performances, BMX demonstrations, group rides, and of course, a chance to watch the pros do what they do best.
The festival runs over 8 days so if you’re in Adelaide, you have plenty of chances to get a piece of the action.
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