Health and Fitness: Variety Spin 4 Kids bike challenge returns to Newcastle

Variety - the Children’s Charity held its inaugural outdoor cycling challenge last year and Spin 4 Kids is back.

In case you missed it, Variety Spin 4 Kids is a six-hour continuous cycle on stationary bikes, all in the name of raising funds for disadvantaged children of the Hunter.

This year it will be again staged at Honeysuckle’s Harbour Square and is set down for September 7 from 10am to 4pm.

Entries are open for teams of one to 10 people and Jason Bourke, Variety’s head of regional development, expected another strong event in its second year.

He said there had been plenty of spin relays around the globe before but believed last year was the first time one had been held outdoors, giving it a unique touch.

Variety are also holding a Spin 4 Kids at Westfield Tuggerah Shopping Centre’s centre square on the Central Coast on September 21.

“We had over 35 teams in our first year, which was exceptional, and raised over $40,000, so last year was deemed a success,” Bourke said.

“Based on that, we’ve expanded to also hold a Central Coast event and the Newcastle event is also back.

“We have ramped up the technology this year to track kilometres better and are working with Body Bike to improve that side.

“We weren’t expecting everyone to be as competitive as they turned out to be last year, so that is why we’ve secured this technology.

“I’d say you need 150 kilometres-plus for a team aiming to win.”

The Forum has provided 60 bikes for the day and bikes are available for $650 for teams, or any individual who thinks they can take on the challenge solo.

“We are on the hunt for Newcastle’s fittest company, social group or sporting team,” Bourke said.

“Last year's winners, APP Corporation, have already signed up and they have put out the challenge to other businesses and companies to take that title off them. They’re pretty confident they can win it again.

“We would love to get over 40 teams again and we’re hoping to raise over $40,000 to help sick and disadvantaged children of the Hunter.”

It was great to see so many businesses getting on board last year and letting their employees join in and get active on a work day, which I think more corporations should be encouraging on a regular basis.

You can find out more at variety.org.au.

It could be a precursor to entering the Great Cycle Challenge Australia, which is on through October and involves people of all ages and abilities around the country setting a personal riding goal for the month.

The event was started to support research to develop better treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer. More information about the challenge is at greatcyclechallenge.com.au.

Cycling, according to betterhealth.vic.gov.au, can “help to protect you from serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, some cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis”.

Upcoming Fitness Events

Lake Macquarie Running Festival, Warners Bay, August 26: This annual event is held on the shores of Lake Macquarie. There’s a half marathon, 10.5km fun run and 4km kids’ scamper.

Wollombi Wild Ride, Wollombi, September 1: This cross country event caters for the novice through to the hard-core mountain-bike rider. There are 13.5km, 30km and 58km courses.

Variety Spin 4 Kids, Harbour Square, September 7: A six-hour cycling charity event to help disadvantaged children of the Hunter. It is on stationary bikes and teams comprise up to 10 riders, or you can choose to do it solo.

Winter Warmers Week #6

Clock up some kilometres on the bike for something different in your training program if you normally spend a lot of time running. 

Cycling is low impact and might also be a good option for those can’t run because of pain or injury. 

You can do a steady ride of a set time to work on endurance or intervals are a good way to get a quick intense workout on the bike, whether you are indoors or out.

Try this: 3 minute steady pace warm-up. 10 x (30 seconds easy; 30sec hard). Hard might be a hill effort or a sprint. 3min steady pace. 10 x (20sec easy; 40sec hard). 5min steady cool-down.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. r.valentine@fairfaxmedia.com.au.