From the outset, fellow cyclist Clare Holdsworth and I decided that we wouldn’t let the three hours of Hume Highway separating us get in the way of a great idea. What began as an online conversation about the gender imbalance in cycling and cycle-tourism in North East Victoria quickly led to a business partnership and a new venture to celebrate women’s cycling with a focus on fun, fitness and friendship.
In April this year, the High Country Women’s Cycling Festival (HCWCF) will be held in Bright, a first for regional Australia. We are both passionate cyclists, but creating something that would bring women together was also at the very core of our idea. Less than a third of Australian cyclists are women, so the festival aims to inspire, encourage and support more women to ride.
Embracing technology as our friend has been crucial to establishing the festival, especially since I live in Wangaratta and Clare is based in Melbourne. In six months we’ve formed a company, secured government funding and commercial partnerships, and built a digital platform. Working with a city-based graphic designer, we established a strong brand identity with diverse applications. This was not the time to be ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ – when establishing a new business or event, it’s probably the most important investment in terms of time and money.
In the two months since we launched HCWCF, engagement with key audiences is tracking well via social media (Instagram and Facebook) and our Mailchimp database. Regular e-newsletters are an important item in our communications toolkit, generating interest in the festival and keeping all the lines of communication flowing. Women cyclists are telling us they love the idea, and registrations are coming in from all over Australia. It’s hard to describe the feeling of elation and relief when we received our first registration and realised that our idea had turned into a beautiful reality.
When women encourage and support each other’s ideas, harness their self-belief, and embrace technological opportunities and challenges, you never know where it can lead. We can’t wait for April – can we count you in?
To register and find out more about the festival, go to: