East Gippsland shines for cyclists

East Gippsland shines for cyclists

East Gippsland shone as 130 cyclists hit the East Gippsland Rail Trail for the sixth Great East Bike Ride across the weekend.

Starting in Bairnsdale last Friday, the cyclists pedalled their way along the trail, or caught a lift from their parents, finishing at Orbost’s Forest Park on Sunday.

Conducted by Snowy River Cycling to attract people to cycling and the beauty of East Gippsland, owner/operator, Liz Mitchell, said this year’s ride was one again fantastic.

“We ended up with 130 riders for our sixth ride with an unusually high percentage of repeat riders,” Liz said.

“There are normally a lot of repeats, but this year I think we had about 30 per cent repeats, which is really high.

“The ride went amazingly. We don’t normally have issues and this year’s ride was drama free.

“We were a little concerned about the heat, but we were well prepared and got going early on Saturday with a half day ride to Nowa Nowa where we had a lot of activities provided including paddle board and kayak hire, massages (which were booked out fairly quickly) and free activities like yoga and a bicycle maintenance workshop. We even had a community singing session.

“On Sunday, when the wind came through, most of our riders had arrived to finish in Orbost, so we were really lucky with the weather.”

Liz said the ride once again drew a lot of families as well as older riders and beginners.

“There were 15 to 20 families with kids from two to three years old on the back of mum or dad’s bike or in a trailer, up to teens,” she said.

“The bulk of the riders were 55 upwards. Their kids have left home and they were now getting into cycling. We have a lot of riders who are riding a big ride for the first time on this trip.

“It’s really satisfying to see. They often push themselves to participate, train in preparation and find they really love it. It gives me a lot of personal satisfaction to see.”

PICTURED: Riders young and old, 130 of them, had a ball riding the East Gippsland Rail Trail for the sixth Great East Bike Ride over the weekend. Many were returning to complete the ride while for others, like the Blazing Saddles team, from Sale, it was the first time they’d participated. Darren Haylock, Kylie Safstrom, Craig Rainey, Sonya Stephenson, Caroline Rainey and Andrew Stephenson even came with their own support vehicle.


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