Ruther­glen’s $100k bike event in­jec­tion

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAR­RYD BARCA

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:­cy­clenet­ rides-and-events/great-vic­to­rian-bike-ride/.

More than 3000 rid­ers are set to pro­vide Ruther­glen with an eco­nom­i­cal boost in Novem­ber, with the town nom­i­nated as the rest day as part of the 524km-long Great Vic­to­rian Bike Ride. Photo: AAP

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