Bike ride re­turns

Alpine Observer - - What's On -

By STRUAN JONES

THE Great Vic­to­rian Bike Ride re­turns to Bright this week­end, with cy­clists ar­riv­ing in town on Satur­day to set up camp for day one of the ‘Moun­tains to Mur­ray’ route, be­fore tak­ing off to Beech­worth on Sun­day morn­ing.

The full nine-day 524km route will jour­ney through Beech­worth, Mi­lawa, Tal­lan­gatta, Ruther­glen, Yar­ra­wonga, and Glen­rowan, be­fore fin­ish­ing in Be­nalla.

More than 3000 riders from across Aus­tralia and over­seas are ex­pected to take part in the sup­ported ride, camp­ing along the way and en­joy­ing some of the unique of­fer­ings in each of the towns.

Deb Cham­bers, a keen lo­cal cy­clist from Wandiligong, is pre­par­ing for her 8th Great Vic­to­rian Bike Ride, an ex­pe­ri­ence she de­scribes as a “fan­tas­tic, chal­leng­ing ad­ven­ture with the kids.”

The highlights for her are the sense of com­mu­nity she feels trav­el­ling a long jour­ney with like-minded peo­ple, and over the years she has got­ten to know fam­i­lies who take up the chal­lenge an­nu­ally.

In the evenings, after their lug­gage has been de­liv­ered, par­tic­i­pants set up camp and re­lax - some­thing her kids have loved.

Her chil­dren Char­lotte, 14, and Ol­lie, 11, are both en­thu­si­as­tic cy­clists. Un­for­tu­nately for Ol­lie how­ever, he will be away on a school camp and will miss this year’s event.

Nor­mally they’d sit on the back of a tan­dem bi­cy­cle, a method Ms Cham­bers de­scribed as a safer way for fam­i­lies to en­joy the ride, and more fun be­cause “you can chat away the while time”, but this year they’ll be on road bikes.

And cov­er­ing some dis­tance is not new to Char­lotte, ei­ther.

One of their favourite train­ing rides is along the rail trail from Bright to Myrtle­ford and back, which gives them a 70km round trip, stop­ping at the bak­ery in Myrtle­ford for lunch, and the Pore­punkah Rail Trail café.

The last time the ride came through Bright was in 2014 when the route crossed into the Alpine re­gion on its way from Al­bury to Li­ly­dale, and be­fore that in 2001 when cy­clists had a rest day in Bright.

“We’re ex­cited to be start­ing the ride in Bright this year, be­ing so close to where we live,” she said.

“We’ll be able to roll down the hill to the start.”

PHOTO: Struan Jones

GEARED UP: Deb and Char­lotte Cham­bers will take on their 8th Great Vic­to­rian Bike Ride start­ing in Bright this Satur­day.

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