2017 Great Victorian Bike Ride
Ø The Great Victorian Bike ride was another brilliant success. It was not until the Friday evening that the atrocious weather forecast and the start of significant rain expectations, lead to “the pin being pulled”. This resulted in us coming home on the Saturday rather than riding another 77km Saturday and 50km on Sunday. Bicycle Network timing was good and appropriate.
Ivan and I arrived at Wilson’s Prom on Saturday, and along with about 2500 others, camped the night. The following day it was a 7:30 am start to ride the 60km into Foster. The hills out of the Prom were steep but not as steep as anticipated. Once over Darby saddle it was a relatively flat ride into Foster. The town welcomed the Ride with open arms, to the extent of having their Main Street remodelling and surfacing completed before we arrive.
Monday we rode the 66km to Yarram. Another relatively flat ride, except for the BIG hill in the middle. We arrived before the camp opened and had a another fine welcome by the town. We were fortunate to come across the old Regent Theatre , a unique art deco style building constructed in 1930. The theatre has its own “on stage” pianist, and so for a nominal $10.00, we watched the old Charlie Chaplin silent movie “The Kid” made in 1921. The pianist who provided the music was brilliant, as if was recorded on the film sound track.
Tuesday saw us riding the 90km to Seaspray, a little unspoilt town on the Ninety Mile Beach. Notable for its single country store and a magnificent new Seaspray Life Saving Club building. A flattish ride but with another Big hill in the middle. Wednesday was the longest ride of 111km to Bairnsdale, a major country town on the Mitchell river. Rode past the old rotary bridge which was the entrance to the Port of Sale. No big hills, but the weather continued to be hot, bright and sunny, So rehydration during and after the ride was the order of the day. Thursday was our rest day. Ivan and I did a 10km walk up the Mitchell river and then back into town for a coffee and a muffin.
Friday we set of for Maffra. There were 86km of very undulating riding. Although rain was threatening during this warm and humid ride, the weather forecasts were very foreboding. Rain intensified after we had set up camp, many schools headed for home, rather than set up camp, and hence it was not surprise that the decision was made to cancel the ride. Arrangements were made for transport home and eventually we were back in Melbourne about 2:00pm after collecting the car from the Long Term Car Park in Trafalgar.
We met a lot of lovely people on the ride, many from interstate. Good to talk to new riders and those who we have met on previous occasions. Two potential new members for the Group, Paul and Fred G, they are looking forward to riding with us.
The GVBR provides a significant economic stimulus to country towns. Unfortunately we missed the final night at Glengarry. Reports are that the local Baker had prepared some 4000 pies, sausage rolls and pastries and the local pub had prepared 500 chicken schnitzels, all awaiting our arrival. The good news is that “social media” spread the word of their predicament and that riders on their way home made their way through Glengarry, with all product being sold.
Next year the GVBR is back up into northern Victoria riding around the Murray, Bright, Glen Rowen, Benalla, etc.