The weekend of 25th-26th October 2008 will host an exciting inaugural event for Castlemaine. A major fun, fitness and environment event in and around the town for all sorts of cyclists will usher in the first annual Festival of the Wheel’.
The Mount Alexander Sustainability Group, or MASG, which was established in 2006 and boasts nearly 800 members, is organizing the multiple rides, the night of entertainment and the Don KRC Family Day in the Botanical Gardens as a fundraiser to support its efforts to cut our greenhouse gas emissions and build a more sustainable world.
Over the past few years, bike riding has boomed in Castlemaine. As well as road and trail riding in abundance, bikes are now used for carrying freight (including bread delivery), passengers (via the new MASG trishaw) and for getting kids to school on the front or back. Riding to work has also become increasingly popular. The Festival will build on this trend and stage a terrific weekend of cycling for all levels and types of riders. There will also be great entertainment on the Saturday night and Sunday.
All six rides are fully supported and recreational rather than competitive, and will range from a 9km ride on the rail trail from Muckleford to Maldon to an 85km sealed road ride to Baringhup and back. All rides have an option of a return by steam train for the first 300 riders to book.
On the Saturday night, Cycling’s Big Night Out will include comedy and a classic bike film, Breaking Away, at the Theatre Royal. This film won an academy award and six Oscar nominations and in 2006 was judged one of the most inspiring sports-related films of all time. On Sunday, the festival continues with two duathlon (run & ride) options in Castlemaine, followed by the Don KRC Family Day in the Botanic Gardens from 11-30am till 4.30pm. The Family Day will feature music , delicious food and drink, crazy bike events, veteran bikes and bikers and the draw of the Festival’s $700 bike raffle.
Early Bird entries must be in by October 13th. Early Birds are eligible to be in a draw for a Giant Mountain Bike and other prizes.
Castlemaine is a great venue for such a festival. It’s got the historic Theatre Royal, the famous Botanic Gardens designed by Von Mueller, an amazing array of coffee shops and restaurants for a town of 8000 people, the steam train from Maldon, a strong bike-riding community and plenty of artists and musicians to help out in a good cause.
A team of 10 volunteers is organizing the Festival, with strong cooperation from the Mount Alexander Shire Council and leading local businesses and community organisations. On the weekend, over 60 volunteers will be involved in marshalling out on the roads and trails, preparing and selling food, moving signs and equipment to where they’re needed, and , of course, entertaining. It is an ambitious project. As coordinator, Neil Barrett, said “It would have been challenging to organize one event on the weekend. Instead we’ve taken on four events. But the strength of volunteering in Castlemaine is helping us achieve all we planned. We’re now looking forward to seeing people arrive and enjoy themselves”.
The Festival will be a carbon neutral event. Efforts will be made to keep energy consumption and waste down; remaining energy use, mainly caused by car travel, will be offset. A small part of the price of each ticket will be used for this offsetting.
For further information, go to www.masg.org.au and have a ride through the FOW pages or call NEIL BARRETT 54 70 6825 or 54 70 6805.
See you there God willing