FutuRide – Changing Mindsets Towards Sustainable Practices

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Almost everyone comes to read this blog is a cyclist of some sort. Whether you ride for recreation or if you integrate cycling into your daily lifestyle as a way of doing your small part for the good of the planet, it doesn’t need to be mutually exclusive. I consider myself to be both.

Unfortunately Australian society and many other parts of the world don’t place a lot of prestige on riding a bike. Many workplaces provide facilities to enable people to commute, but I’ve always had this underlying insecurity that I don’t have the same social status when I pull up to work at the same time as the guy in the BMW. Maybe that’s just me, or maybe there’s a deliberate psychology that’s been drilled into us:

Here is a good example of car manufacturers using ego and social status to sell their product. This GM ad showed up in US college newspapers in 2011 urging students to stop pedalling and start driving. Giant had a cleaver response (bottom picture)

Fortunately there are some industry heavy hitters who are pushing back on this mindset. This Tuesday evening Siemens is hosting an event called Futuride to encourage people to make a conscious effort to adopt sustainable practices.


FutuRide will be held at Federation Square, Melbourne on Tuesday 11 December at 6.00pm and is based on the concept of bringing about a mindset change towards adopting sustainable practices. The concept is based on providing individuals with an opportunity to make a difference to how we perceive sustainability and through the partnership with Cadel engender support for making this country a better place to live in. The goal is to leave the country in a better condition than how we found it.


At dusk at Federation Square, a field of 480 adult riders will ride in 15 minute time intervals and join Cadel Evans in an effort to break two Guinness World Records:

– Most electrical energy generated by pedalling on bicycles in one hour
– Most lights lit by pedal power

This ‘peloton’ of 120 specially-prepared bikes, all fitted with generators, will be positioned at Federation Square in the shape of branches of a giant Christmas tree (when viewed from above).

Riders’ pedal power will illuminate individual Christmas trees that will, in turn, form the outline of the giant tree. At night, this will be a spectacular sight and this alternative energy demonstration will help to illustrate the contribution we can all make to a sustainable future.

Riders will need to generate only 80 watts of electricity to power their Christmas tree, several LEDs and a halogen light. With some of the pro cyclists who’ll be there pushing the pedals, this thing will surely light up the sky.

Putting wattage into perspective. (Reference: Climate Commission; Critical Decade: Generating a renewable Australia)


The evening will be hosted by cycling commentator Matt Keenan along with Ian Cover, ABC presenter and broadcaster.

Cadel Evans will lead the peloton of FutuRider’s joined by three other celebrated Australian elite cyclists;

– Caleb Ewan, current Junior UCI World Road Championship silver medalist and one of Australia’s rising stars of cycling
– Rachel Neyland, current UCI Women’s World Championship silver medallist and one of Australia’s most promising elite female cyclists
– Simon Clarke, current Australian road and former track cyclist, riding for professional team Orica-GreenEDGE
– Me! (okay, maybe I’m not one of Australia’s elite cyclist)

Joined by Government representatives and expert sustainability analysts and Siemens Executive team:

– Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport
– Minister Hugh Delahunty, Victorian Minister for Sport
– Minister Ryan Smith, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (tentative)
– Parliamentary Secretary Mark Dreyfus, PM’s representative for Climate Change and Industry
– Tim Flannery, Chief Climate Commissioner and Siemens Sustainability Board Member
– Jeff Connolly, CEO and Managing Director of Siemens Australia Ltd


The FutuRide event is open to the public to enter. A social media campaign spearheaded by the website www.futuride.com.au has driven large no’s of registrations to the site. In total we are expecting over 800 riders to participate – including the Youth Ride commencing at 6.15pm and the FutuRide World Record attempt at 8.15pm.

I’ll be there and I hope to see you too. Have a wonderful weekend.

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