Population Health pedal-powered to Biketober victory

Centre for Population Health Biketober Champion, Louise McKeon, participating in the recent Peaks Challenge

And just like that, October’s Biketober Business Challenge has whizzed by, with WSLHD’s Centre for Population Health team scoring first place in the Parramatta workplace (20-49 staff) category!

The Biketober Business Challenge is a free and fun cycling challenge for workplaces and colleagues to experience the joys and benefits of riding a bike, while competing against each other. Open to everyone who lives or works in NSW, participants had to simply ride a bike for as little as 10 minutes or more during October, to gain points in the challenge.

Health Promotion Officer, Louise McKeon, led the Centre for Population Health (CPH) team as a Biketober Champion, motivating and encouraging team members to join the challenge and record their bike rides throughout the month.

“Just over a third of our team joined the Challenge, which we took as an opportunity to help create a healthy workplace, and to encourage more people to ditch the car and use a bike where they can,” said Louise.

“Our team recorded 175 bike trips in total and almost 3,000 kilometres travelled! Biketober is not just about who can cycle the furthest or most often, it’s also a great way to incorporate some physical activity into the day and for new riders — or those returning after a break — to give cycling a go,” she added.

The team also recorded 4th place in the NSW Workplace category for 20-49 staff for its efforts.

A keen cyclist herself, Louise was responsible for over 50% of the CPH team’s final kilometre tally of 2,745km. She is a bit too keen for most, and recently completed the Peaks Challenge, one of her toughest challenges which involved a 235km loop through Victoria’s rugged high country to conquer the three peaks. She managed to achieve this in under 10 hours.

For anyone wanting to try cycling and considering a return to the bike maybe stored somewhere in your garage, Lou has this advice:

“Four years ago, I hadn’t ridden a bike in what felt like years. I took this rusty bike out of the garage that wasn’t even mine and said to myself ‘Just ride it down the driveway, don’t stress about pedalling’. The rush of wind on my face and ripple of fun of being back on the bike was enough for me to try again. That’s all I did, I just kept jumping back on and trying to take it a little further each time.”

We’d like to hear from WSLHD staff on their experience of Biketober this year, or interest for Biketober 2021. Please tell us what you think in this quick survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WSLHDBiketober2020

Over 4,000 people participated in Biketober this year across NSW. The Biketober Business Challenge is presented by Get Healthy at Work, a NSW Health program that aims to create healthy workplaces and improve the health of working adults in NSW.