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Bike Week to commemorate the ANZAC Cycling Corps

Alia Parker's picture
Australian Cycling Corps in Egypt. Source: Australian War Memorial. Cycle Traveller

The bikes they rode were heavy, real heavy, and mostly single speed with a fixed hub. Over the hills and through the mud, the ANZACs pedalled, carrying their loaded packs on their backs, and a rifle too. The year was 1917 and, following the successful surge at Messines, Belgium, the Australian and New Zealand Cycling Corps advanced along the Western Front to Passchendale, joining one of the bloodiest battles of World War I.

These little known cycling battalions will be remembered at Queensland's annual Bike Week festivities, which this year kick off on ANZAC Day – 25 April 2015.

“As we launch Bike Week 2015, we are proud to acknowledge the role played by the two ANZAC cycling battalions in 1916-1917 and the Australian Corps and New Zealand cyclist units in 1918,” said Bicycle Queensland chief executive Ben Wilson.

ANZAC cycling batallion in France. Source: Australian War Memorial. Cycle TravellerHe said the simplicity of the bike made transportation and reconnaissance work quick and reliable on the Western Front in France and Belgium during World War I.

Bike Week events

Bike Week will this year feature more than 20 free cycling events across Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, MacKay, Townsville and Cairns.

In Brisbane, free events include 10-speed dating, the Pier to Point Women’s Ride, the Ride to Work Day breakfast as well at the National Museum's cycling exhibition Freewheeling: Cycling in Australia, showing at the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre.

Bicycle Queensland will also hold a free information night about their upcoming Adventure Tour in the Darling Downs.

Great Brisbane Bike Ride

The festival culminates with The Great Brisbane Bike Ride which will raise much needed funds for Diabetes Queensland. Cyclists will need to register to take part in this ride.

This year The Great Brisbane Bike Ride will include 110km, 75km and 40km ride options as well as an optional Mt Coot-tha timed climb for those looking for even more of a challenge.

“For 20 years Queenslanders have been riding The Great Brisbane Bike Ride but in recent years the event has taken a back seat to the Coot-tha Challenge,” Wilson said.

“The Great Brisbane Bike Ride is simply the most exciting way to experience the dynamic and diverse neighbourhoods of our great city and will give the people of Brisbane the thrill and freedom to ride on some closed streets, major roads and bridges that are special features of this event.”

More info

Bike Week entries and registrations for all events are now open. To enter or to see a full program of events, go to: www.bikeweek.bq.org.au.

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