The Squeaky Wheel is a volunteer run, not for profit dedicated to changing the way we feel about cycling. And while the cyclist population continues to grow in Melbourne, The Squeaky Wheel is making a serious effort to clean cycling of its association with sweat, heavy breathing and sore muscles.

This year, as a way to celebrate this mission – and the joy so many Melburnians gain from choosing self-propelled motion over petrol-operated vehicular transport – The Squeaky Wheel is hosting a month-long bike festival dedicated to establishing and supporting a thriving cyclist community in Melbourne.

For those of you who recall the 2010 Melbourne Bikefest, this year represents a new direction for The Squeaky Wheel crew. With nine major projects created in partnership with other Melbourne events and organisations like the Sustainable Living Festival, Treadlie magazine and Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, this year’s festival has a deeper community focus, honouring the cultural integration of cycling into our daily lives.

And Bikefest isn’t an event just for avid bike riders. With tonnes of events illustrating how fashion, food, film, art and community engagement contributes to our lives on two wheels, experienced cyclists as well as beginners will surely find something fun to see or do.

Events like the three-day Bikefest Treadlie Market, which includes stalls of bike distributors and craftspeople as well as a film night and bicycle best in show, are a must visit.

And for those of us who treat our bicycles as a part of our personal identity, the Bikefest Bike Runway features a mix of local city commuters and designers devoted to the joy of fashionable cycling. Bikes and riders of all shapes and sizes are welcome to share their personal cycling style by riding their beloved two-wheel friend down a unique track/runway.

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At the Melbourne Bikefest, art, performance, food and sport join forces to celebrate the sense of community and fitness we gain from cycling. So come and join Bikefest’s celebration and become part of a great cycling community dedicated to making the streets safer and more fun for cyclists everywhere.

At the very least, don’t miss the rare opportunity to see choreographed BMX riders doing synchronised BMX tricks at the Bikefest BMX Jam.

Melbourne Bikefest runs from February 17 to March 17.