Wollongong has joined a list of elite bike riding destinations overnight, after the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) awarded the coastal city the prestigious UCI Bike City Label.
This makes the Gong the only city in the Southern Hemisphere on a list that includes Copenhagen, Paris, Tirol, Bergen and Vancouver.
As the world governing body of cycling, the UCI website describes the vision of Bike City labels as: "The long-term aim is to develop a network of UCI Bike Cities, creating examples around the world of how cities can maximise the impact of sport to help create better, safer cities for all people on bikes, regardless of their age, level of fitness or cycling activity."
Wollongong met two of the key criteria:
1. Hosting UCI cycling events (UCI World Championships and World Cups)
With Wollongong getting set to host the 2022 UCI Road World Championships in September 2022.
2. A clear, long term cycling strategy
Having adopted a Cycling Strategy 2030 that aims to expand the city's cycling network and infrastructure while engaging in initiatives to promote cycling and cycling safety within the region.
The strategy is based of feedback from a 2019 survey and has been through numerous stages of community consultation – emerging with goals such as increasing weekly cycling participation from 12.9% to 20% and reducing the number of cycling related crashes from 156 to 70 per 5-year period.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery AM said the city is immensely proud to be recognised by the UCI in this way.
“This recognition endorses council’s vision and commitment to supporting the growth of cycling within the city, whether that be for fun, sport or active transport.
“Our Cycling Strategy provides a clear approach to how we support cycling in this city and the UCI Bike City Label status is recognition of what we are aiming to achieve.”
Wollongong 2022 Chair Dean Dalla Valle said securing the UCI Bike City Label status was a testament to the support shown by the Illawarra community and businesses to the event, and to the growth of cycling within the region.
“The Wollongong community should be really proud that their city has been elevated in this way, alongside some of the most famous cities in the world.
“This is a strong building block into the 2022 UCI Road World Championships, which will be the biggest event ever to take place in Wollongong, and a great opportunity for Wollongong to celebrate this accomplishment together.”
Bicycle Network is proud and excited for the city of Wollongong's bright bikey future, and hope other cities and townships around Australia use this as an example of what is possible with state, local and community commitment to becoming a true bike riding destination.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.