JUST 386 people in Ballarat rode their bikes to work on August 9, 2011 – the day the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census was taken.
The figure represents less than one per cent of the working population and is below the rest of the state and the rest of the country.
Census day, however, was bitterly cold in Ballarat, with the mercury barely reaching 10 degrees.
The minimum temperature was just 0.5 degrees – three degrees below average – with more than four millimetres of rain falling, including solid drizzle throughout the afternoon.
The low cyclist numbers can largely be attributed to the weather on that day, but Ballarat’s weather is notoriously cold and wet.
Phillip Orr, owner of Gove Cycles and a religious cycling commuter, said that at Census time, he was riding to work – rain, hail or shine.
“There’s apparel which means you can cycle all year round comfortably, so anybody can ride their bike to and from work,” he said.
Cycling Victoria communications manager Paul Lumsden said the goal was to get at least five per cent of the population riding to work.
“That’s quite a low figure (riders in Ballarat on Census day), and we’d be looking to increase that in time by working with council and the Sebastopol Cycling Club,” he said.
“We want to get people actively building up their health rather than taking their cars.”