Rutherglen’s $100k bike event injection
Rutherglen is set to majorly benefit from an influx of bike riders estimated to pump $100,000 dollars into the economy when they pass through the town on Wednesday, November 28 as part of the 2018 Great Victorian Bike Ride.
Rutherglen has also been chosen as the location for this year’s ‘rest day’ with around 3000 riders expected to camp at the Rutherglen Showgrounds on Thursday, before heading off to Yarrawonga on Friday, November 30.
Susannah Doyle, Indigo Shire’s Tourism Manager, said hosting the rest day is a major coup for Rutherglen.
“The riders will stay overnight in a number of other towns across the region, including two nights in Beechworth, but Rutherglen benefits from riders staying for two nights with a rest day in between,” Ms Doyle told The Free Press.
“The rest day provides riders with a day to explore the town, and everything that Rutherglen has to offer.
“Participants of the ride say that the best thing with rest days is being able to experience the communities and the diversity that each destination has to offer, so Destination Rutherglen have been working hard with businesses and community groups to deliver experiences and activities that showcase the best of Rutherglen and provide opportunities for riders to integrate with the local community.”
The Rutherglen Showgrounds being so centrally positioned in Rutherglen will provide the thousands of riders easy access to the main street and therefore businesses in the town.
Ms Doyle said while 37 per cent of riders will spend more than $40 dollars and 60 per cent will spend more than $20 per day, the ride also provides a unique opportunity for community groups to hold fundraisers.
“Community groups can cater at the camp site and local sporting and service clubs are taking the opportunity to fire up the BBQ and sell egg and bacon rolls to replenish the riders,” she said.
The financial benefits set to boost the town are clear, but Ms Doyle believes the indirect benefits of having 3000 visitors to the area are endless.
“The biggest opportunity provided by the ride is the opportunity to encourage the riders to return to Rutherglen,” she said.
“With 74 per cent of riders indicating that they would like to return to a town they have visited on the ride, it provides a fantastic opportunity for businesses and community to showcase Rutherglen as a ‘must visit’ destination.
“We hope that the riders will realise that one day is simply not enough time to experience and taste all that Rutherglen has to offer, and will make a trip back to Rutherglen in the near future, bringing back a friend or two!”
This year, the bike ride kicks off from Bright on November 24, before the 3000 participants head to Beechworth (66km), Milawa Beechworth (75km), Tallangatta (91km), Rutherglen (101km), Yarrawonga (55km), Glenrowan (87km) and finally travelling a further 49km and finishing at Benalla.
Riders will be spending a well-earned two nights and one full day in Rutherglen after the longest period of riding for the entire ride, having to endure over 100kms of riding from Tallangatta.
Destination Rutherglen Executive Officer, Alexandra Campbell said Destination Rutherglen is coordinating activities for the cyclists.
“This event involves the whole town including Main Street businesses, community groups, cellar doors of wineries and other activities that will be available such as canoeing,” she told The Free Press.
“BBQs and cake stalls will be provided, as well as a grape stomp, and we are working on providing a waterslide for the large number of school groups (40 per cent of total participants) which come on the ride.
“A bus loop will be provided around the wineries and we expect the swimming pool to be popular. “The primary schools will wave in the riders to Rutherglen as they arrive on the Wednesday.”
This year won’t be the first time the Great Victorian Bike Ride will be visiting Rutherglen, although it has been a long time between drinks.
Alexander Miller, Bicycle Network Media Advisor, told The Free Press they had a stop at Rutherglen in 1989 and started from the town in 2001.
“We’re really looking forward to coming back to Rutherglen. It will be a great place for riders to relax and recharge after the first half of the ride and get into the local food and wine scene,” Mr Miller said.
Mr Miller also admitted that the benefits on the community will flow on for some time after the ride has been and gone.
“The ride is a great showcase for towns. Many riders indicate that they will return to revisit their favourite local sights or get to the ones they couldn’t fit in at the event,” Mr Miller said.
“Any local business wanting to get involved is encouraged to contact Bicycle Network so we can help them be part of the show for riders,” he added.
To learn more about the Great Victorian Bike Ride, visit the Bicycle Network website here: https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/ rides-and-events/great-victorian-bike-ride/.