Community gets into the Boxing Day tradition

2010 is drawing to a close in time to reflect on the year that has been. For the cycling community it has been a huge year of cycling numbers on the road amidst challenging weather patterns. We have seen numerous groups sojourn overseas with the call of the Alps and some wonderful testimonies of riders accomplishing personal feats never considered when on the shore of Australia but drawn by the alluring call of the mountains rose with sheer determination to conquer their fears.

An outstanding aspect of this year for the cycling community has been that of fund raising for our local community.  A fair estimate of fund accumulated across the many events and riding groups would be in excess of $210,000 which for an informal unaffiliated community group is not to be sneezed at, so well done one and all.

 A large number of cyclists lined up outside the Axe Creek CFA shed with CFA personnel.

Fund raiser: the Axe Creek CFA was one of many groups for whom Bendigo cyclists raised funds in 2010.

A large proportion of this phenomenal amount was due to the rides under the local management and conception of “Tina’s Ride” Bendigo to Narromine raising funds for cancer support, and “Ride for Youth” Bendigo to Bathurst raising funds for St Lukes work with our youth in community.

Another aspect that has continued to grow in the cycling community is that of looking after our own.  For the past 5-6 years the first Saturday of the month there is an opportunity (not compulsory) to drop a gold coin in a bag where the funds taken are used to support the needs in families that have been affected by incidents in the cycling community. The needs range from the birth of a new baby, caring for an injured member, a death in the family or just to show appreciation.

The principal is very simple we want to be appreciative of the caregivers, which is usually the family that is put out when a cycling member is incapacitated or affected in some way by life’s tests and trials. The gifts have ranged from flowers and chocolates, fruit baskets, movie tickets coffee and cake vouchers, massages, beauty treatment, weekend away and meals out with a bottle of wine and many other thoughtful gifts.

The long standing events such as the Murray to Moyne entry supports Moyne Health Services and sponsorship is for local health services, Bay in a Day entry is for Bicycle Victoria and fund raising is for the Smith Family, Port to Port entry supports Mallee Family Care and sponsorship is for chosen local needs such as Special Development Schools, and Great Vic Bike Ride entry to Bicycle Victoria and sponsorship for youth diabetes. There are other commercial rides where there are selected patrons that seek sponsorship over and above the entry.

Each week on a Saturday morning in particular at the Sternberg street roundabout there can be in excess of 200 – 250 riders leave and head out over and around the popular “Snake Eye” to the “Goose Neck” along “Axe Creek Road” or “Storys Road to Emu Creek Road” across to “Bennett’s Road” back around to “Tuners Road” and then back through Epsom to the “Bath Lane” coffee precinct.

There has been many conscious choices in selecting the timing of groups and the routes they take to keep the shared road use safety a high priority,  examples of choosing not to use Tannery Lane due to traffic volume and the narrow road verge and limiting numbers on Eppalock Road. Keeping bunches only making left hand turns is a consideration but not totally achievable with routes ridden.

The Cycling Community have just had a “Box Day Ride” and the exact etymology of the term “boxing” is unclear and there are several competing theories, none definitive. The tradition has long included giving money and other gifts to the needy and those in service positions. This Boxing day a new era of giving was birthed for the cycling community wanting to show appreciation to the community where a large amount of competitive and recreational cycling is carried out all year round.

Some months ago Theo Kapper happened to make a comment to the enthusiastic Mick Anderson who has a heart for community took up the words and made it a reality, where every second week a specific ride was chosen to be a donation to a local service group. A cheque for $800.00 was present to the Axe Creek Fire Brigade Captain to assist with the fitting out of their soon to be delivered second response fire truck. This may well become another corner stone of the cycling network of building community within a community.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing

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