United Energy Around the Bay

Events that shape a city

You can tell a lot about a city from the events that capture the hearts of the people.

From the wine and cheese festivals of Paris, to dancing in the streets for Rio’s Carnival, there’s certain events that become synonymous with a city and encapsulate the passion of the population.

In Melbourne, we’re all about sport. The Boxing Day Test, AFL Grand Final, Melbourne Cup racing, Australian Open tennis, the Melbourne Marathon, the list goes on and on… and on this list, and very proud to be so, is United Energy Around the Bay.

This iconic Melbourne bike ride has become a rite of passage for the Melbourne, Victorian and wider Australian bike riding community – and even attracts international teams to join in the country’s biggest celebration of bike riding.

So what is it about United Energy Around the Bay that consistently brings over 10,000 riders together to take in the best of the bay by bike?

The history

Right from the get-go, the idea to host a group ride ‘Around the Bay in a Day’ was well received – with over 2,700 riders entering Bicycle Victoria’s (as Bicycle Network was then known) inaugural ride in 1993 – an event that was aiming to attract 500 or so participants.

In the early years it seemed that only the capacity of the ferries that connected the bay could limit the hoards of riders who wanted to be part of the celebratory challenge.

As popularity increased so did the options, and soon everything from 20 to 300 kilometre rides became available, so that people of all ages and abilities could take part in this iconic Melbourne event.

Learn more about the intriguing history of Around the Bay here, including quotes from The Legends who have ridden them all!

The fundraising

Perhaps the greatest strength of United Energy Around the Bay is the good cause behind it. Having partnered with The Smith Family charity since the event’s second year, Around the Bay riders have raised more than $10,000,000 to help over 16,000 disadvantaged children with their education.

With one in six Australian children living in disadvantage, thousands of individuals and teams dedicate their ride each year to helping transform the lives of those less fortunate, making this a ride that changes lives.

Last year’s riders raised over $600,000 for The Smith Family charity.

The challenge

There’s no doubt that part of the appeal for riders joining United Energy Around the Bay is the challenge. Over the years we’ve learned that bad weather and lack of ferry space will not deter the passionate participants. 

As the ride distances lengthened for the hardcore riders and shorter family-friendly options were incorporated, the appetite to be involved has increased.

A key part of the challenge for Victorian bike riders is undoubtedly the cold weather training inspiration. United Energy Around the Bay looming at the start of October has helped many riders jump out of a warm comfy bed on a cold winters morning to get some kilometres in the legs.

To help keep winter fit this year, we’re partnering with Cycling Collective to offer dedicated indoor training rides for United Energy Around the Bay riders.

Learn more about our training rides and indoor training sessions below.

Training rides

The celebration

But what makes United Energy Around the Bay a truly iconic Melbourne event is the overwhelming sense of community and celebration.

80 per cent of riders claim they joined the event to enjoy the atmosphere and be part of an iconic Melbourne celebration – a celebration of the sights, a celebration of the people and a celebration of bike riding.

Labelled ‘the ride that unites riders’, the past 26 years has cemented United Energy Around the Bay in the Melbourne event calendar as a rite of passage that brings every kind of bike rider together.

It’s a fun challenge for everyone, whether you’re a beginner rider or seasoned cyclist, where we can all come together at the end to celebrate.

Melbourne's celebration of bike riding

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