ON OCTOBER 17, Emu Plains accountant Lyle O'Keefe plans to lay down his calculator to be part of a commuter revolution.
He will be among more than 150,000 Australians riding to work as part of National Ride2Work Day.
Mr O'Keefe, 42, will ride a staggering 42 kilometres from his home in Baulkham Hills to Alco Battery Sales in Emu Plains — which he does once a week anyway. "It takes me just over an hour," he said. "I started riding to work about four years ago.
"Back then I was working at Circular Quay; I'd had two flats on the way to work. It took about 50 minutes."
Mr O'Keefe takes part in Ride2Work Day each year. He also rides socially most Saturdays. "The benefits are improved fitness, you feel energised when you get to work, you're not adding to the petrol fumes and I actually enjoy being out on the bike," he said.
Ride2Work program manager Cory Boardman said Ride2Work Day was excellent for introducing long-term healthy transport behaviours.
"We surveyed first-time participants in last year's event and five months later 38 per cent were still riding at least weekly," he said.
He said it takes only three hours of riding a week to reduce your risk of heart disease by more than 50 per cent. Yet of all sports or physical recreation activities, walking for exercise had the highest level of participation nationally in 2009/2010, with 23 per cent.
Cycling was equal fourth with jogging or running on 6.5 per cent, behind aerobics, fitness or the gym (14 per cent) and swimming (7.4 per cent).
Register for Ride2Work Day: ride2work.com.au.