Celebrating cycle-mad Bendigo

cycling is as much about company as fitnessIt’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of Christmas and lose sight of the spirit of the season. Bendigo has a huge family of cyclists who have the freedom to ride around some great roads, trails and tracks. It’s all worth celebrating.

The motorists we share the road with are becoming increasingly aware of cyclists. The City of Greater Bendigo supplies and maintains a great network of bikes lanes and paths. Over the last year new lanes have appeared all over town. There’s also the recreational tracks that Parks Victoria makes available, and new maps and signage being developed.

Don’t forget all the local bike shops that supply everything – including encouragement – to keep us and our machines on the road. Most cyclists are also caffeine addicts. Strangely every café and bakery in town seems more than happy to serve sweaty cyclists with coffee and sustenance. Riding just wouldn’t be the same without them.

We have a whole range of cycling clubs and community based associations that cater for every facet of the sport – from triathlons to mountain bike orienteering to family rides. No matter your age, ability or interest there are groups and skills training that cater for you.

Cycling is addictive. Miss your regular ride and the week looks dreary. So we’re lucky for the understanding of partners and families who may not share our obsession, but still make sure we don’t leave home without our helmet.

The health benefits of regular exercise are well known and publicised. Even if that’s why we started, it’s not the reason many of us keep getting up at crazy hours to take the bike out for a spin.

For many, cycling is mainly a social activity. Friendships and partnerships have blossomed and adventures have been plotted on the saddle of a bicycle. Company is one of the best motivations to stay out there and keep improving. In a cycling-mad place like Bendigo, it’s not hard to find someone to ride with.

It’s also a place where local media like the Bendigo Weekly provide the opportunity to share cycling experience and tips, and the benefits that a community gains from a healthier life style. The feedback I’ve had has been heartening and encouraging.

Christmas is a time for celebrating with family and community. So I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and give thanks for the very special cycling community that has grown in Bendigo.

See you on the road soon, God willing. Eddie Barkla

First published in the Bendigo Weekly Friday 15 December 2006

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