Australia’s biggest bike ride is being amped up, with United Energy named as the new naming rights sponsor for Bicycle Network’s Around the Bay.

The iconic cycling event will now be named United Energy Around the Bay in a three-year naming rights partnership with Bicycle Network.

Since beginning in 1993, United Energy Around the Bay has become the people’s bike ride – anyone can ride United Energy Around the Bay, and with 10 ride distances ranging from 20km to 300km, you can ride your way.

Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said it is truly exciting to partner with United Energy to help give bike riders a day on two wheels they will never forget.

“We’re so excited that United Energy has become our new naming right partner. It’s wonderful to have a partner like United Energy who is an integral part of Melbourne’s Bay community,” said Mr Richards.

United Energy distributes energy to more than 640,000 customers across eeast and south-east Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, making them the perfect partner for an event synonomous with Port Philip Bay.

Mr Richards did however add that he hopes United Energy don’t get disappointed about the possibility of being shown up by more than 10,000 bike riders on the day.

“United Energy run more than 13,000 kilometres of wires near the riding route, however this year riders will outdo that by pedaling more than one million kilometres at the event on Sunday 7 October.”

United Energy CEO Tim Rourke said the new partnership provided the business with the opportunity to contribute to the development of healthier, more resilient communities.

“Melbourne and its suburbs are already home to many weekend cyclists and the large cycling community keeps growing. We’re thrilled to be able to contribute to the atmosphere and excitement of this iconic event,” said Mr Rourke.

United Energy Around the Bay is more than just a fun day out on the bike; this year’s event sees the introduction of a new 300km ride which will take an elite group of experienced riders up the infamous Arthurs Seat climb.

Among the capped group of 300 riders who will take on the 300km challenge is United Energy employee Bruce Trew.

“There’s no doubt that the 300km ride will be a challenging ride however it’s also going to be a terrific adventure,” said Mr Trew. “I get to ride with my teammates, and having others with you on a ride this long will definitely give you extra support along the way.”

The 26th edition of United Energy Around the Bay will be held on Sunday 7 October this year, with early bird entries now open. Not only will early entrants save money and receive a bonus jersey, they’ll also get a head start on fundraising for The Smith Family.

The Smith Family has been United Energy Around the Bay’s charity partner since the ride first began and riders have raised more than $10,000,000 to help transform the lives of more than 16,000 disadvantaged children.

This year’s target is $1 million and as soon as riders enter they can begin fundraising with a special online portal.

More than 10,000 bike riders are expected to take part in United Energy Around the Bay, with early bird entries now open at aroundthebay.com.au. Prices increase after Friday 27 July.