The cycling chaplain moves on to a new ministry

27 May, 2012

He’s a familiar sight in Bendigo. Any weekday morning you’ll see Eddie Barkla on his way to work with two bulging panniers strapped to his bike.

Eddie holding a cartoon of himself as the "pedalling parson"

The pedalling parson continues his ministry even though he won’t be publishing his weekly column.

Six years ago, that was Eddie’s introduction when his first column was published.

Since then he has introduced us to the champions of cycling in Bendigo: the athletes with medals in their trophy cabinet, the hard workers with dreams of medals, and the everyday heroes and heroines who quietly go about life on their bikes.

His column has also been a platform for his message of safety and sharing the road with respect. Look after yourself and your bike, be seen, be predictable. Respect other road users just as you want them to respect you.

He still pedals to work and back every day with bulging panniers, often sitting on the back of a bunch out training just as he’s done for years. These days he carries a new passenger on his handlebars. The small Cat in the Hat doll lay on the road for days before he stopped to give him a lift. Now, like a truck mascot, the Cat watches the road ahead for him. Read the rest of this entry »

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The last post

25 May, 2012

The Sabbath Year — When Moses was on Mount Sinai, the LORD told him to say to the community of Israel: After you enter the land that I am giving you, it must be allowed to rest one year out of every seven. You may raise grain and grapes for six years, but the seventh year you must let your fields and vineyards rest in honour of me, your LORD.   Leviticus 25:1-4

Eddie seated on a bench reading the Bendigo Weekly with his bike leaning against the bench

Signing off: after six years, Eddie is taking a break from his cycling column.

26th May 2006, Helen Cronin introduced the Bendigo Weekly reading public to Eddie Barkla and the sign off phrase “Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing”. For the past six years there has not been a week where the paper has not had a “Cycling with Eddie” article on many and varied aspects of cycling and cyclists and the freedom cycling brings and links to improved mental and physical health and well being.

It has been a privilege to be given such an opportunity to meet such a broad cross section of the cycling community and share their stories of courage and perseverance. Like all stories there is more than meets the eye and a greater depth than can be published some humorous, some inspiring and some that pull the most hardened heart strings.

I recently met at the Madison with a well known long term sports writer, who was amazed when I had revealed that I don’t read any newspapers. Their comment was newspapers are to influence your thinking what influences yours?

Every cyclist I meet on the road and every shared road user influences my thinking about what is to be shared each week.  I am truly grateful for the many Bendigo Weekly readers that have made a passing comment that has turned into an article. If we were to have had an influence would hope it to be three fold.

  • The first would be that we all share the same space when on the road and need to respect that in the manner of how we see each other motorists and cyclist alike. A coined phrase in the first article “as cyclists we need to think as motorists, and motorists need to think like cyclists.”
  • The second: relationships in families and community, increased health and wellbeing.
  • The third, the sign off phrase, is very much part of faith in my Lord and that I can boast of nothing even seeing you on the road, that my Lord has ordained for His purpose. Every article written has been based on prayers of faith, hope and trust in my Lord, in His amazing grace and salvation.

The real supporters of the cycling column has been my wife Maree and family that have allowed me to hide at the computer for the hours in producing what you see and read each week as they have made the real sacrifices to allow the labour of love.

Thank you to the people that have freely given their time in telling their story to enjoy and learn from. As the opening scripture has made reference it seems that it is appropriate time to have a Sabbath rest. There are many stories yet to be told and many more people to be influenced either way, this is not the end just waiting for a new beginning.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing


Bay in a Day celebrates 20 years

18 May, 2012
Two Kevins posing in their old white cycling jerseys

Long haul: Kevin Hughes (left) Kevin Hall (right) in their jerseys for Round the Bay in a Day 1995, 17 years ago. Kevin Hall sent the script for the shirt scribbled on a piece of paper and they just used his hand writing as sent on the jersey design.

Twenty years is a long time for anything in today’s society with the pace of change that we experience. It would be wonderful to have been asking the organisers back in 1993 at Bicycle Victoria as it was known then as to how successful the Around the Bay in a Day event could possibly become.

This year is the 20th anniversary of this wonderful event that has inspired and encouraged many cyclists to take on what seems a mammoth challenge to ride either clockwise or anticlockwise around the Port Phillip Bay crossing by ferry at Queenscliff – Sorrento.

This event is widely known as Australia’s largest mass participation bike ride and draws participants internationally and nationally to attend. Last year it was recorded that over 1,500 participants came from outside of Victoria to participate. There are not many serious recreational riders that have not added this event to their resume or have made this an annual event. Read the rest of this entry »


Mothers day bike gift

7 May, 2012

No painter’s brush, nor poet’s pen, in justice to her fame, has ever reached half high enough, to write a mother’s name. Author Unknown.

Five women lined up with their bikes in front of the coffee van at Lake Weeroona

Social machinery: cycling has give this group of mums a good reason to get out and stay connected.

Mother’s Day a special day to remember we all have much to be thankful for “our mothers” and their tireless work and acts of selflessness. Was privileged to spend time with a group of mothers, who formed a bond with each other, around the time their children started attending school. Steve Covey coined the phrase “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Sandra, Shirley, Leanne, Pam, Wendy, Sue and Leanne have kept their motherly instinct and the joy of sharing this journey together as one of the main things. Recently they found cycling together has become another pleasurable means and vehicle to enjoy each other’s company and stories of the progress of family relationships. Read the rest of this entry »


Cycling ANZACs

26 April, 2012

Soldier cyclists wheeling their bikes through ruins of townResearching this years ANZAC day article has taken me into history pages that I had not been exposed to before and I thank God for peace.

Officers and men for the Australian cyclist companies were to be found from volunteers from existing units and from reinforcements. On 11 March, HQ 1st Australian Division called for a return showing the names of “Officers, Warrant Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers to fill the following positions” in 1st Div. Cyclist Coy.–8 officers, 1 warrant officer, 7 staff sergeants and sergeants, 2 artificers. The total number of bicycles authorised was 202. The two drivers obviously did not need bikes. The actual final strength of the companies was about 230 as each newly raised company was to include a reinforcement element of 10%-20%. Read the rest of this entry »


Learning about communities by bike

24 April, 2012
Cyclist on loaded touring bike

Travelling across Canada by bike will give John Martin and Allistair Walker the opportunity to study rural communities.

Professor John Martin, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities here at the Bendigo campus of at Latrobe University, is about to embark on a study of Canadian communities, travelling by bicycle. John is an avid cyclist and has cycled in many places across the world. He takes a very keen interest in their culture and infrastructure and how that keeps cyclists connected in the community.

John has been able to arrange a study tour by bicycle combining recreation and study leave across Canada from May to September. He will be travelling across Canada, west to east, visiting small rural communities in ten provinces to learn about the ways in which people in these places have adopted sustainable living practices. Read the rest of this entry »


Bendigo a stepping stone to the world stage

16 April, 2012

Last week marked another amazing week in the world of cycling with Melbourne playing host to the UCI World Track Titles and what a sensational preview of the potential for the Australian Cycling Team in their individual and team quests for 2012 London Olympic Games.

For those that watched the TV coverage or for those that were fortunate to attend all or just one day or evening session there will be the spine tingling moment to savour for some time to come. Found it very encouraging and affirming that such a world class event we could see unquestionable evidence of the contribution that this cycling community of Bendigo has made. Some of us see time that it comes and goes some see time as it evolves and how past is the making of the future history. Read the rest of this entry »