Great Vic Bike Ride travels through flood areas

Two female cyclists posing in front of a paddle steamer on the Murray River.

Murray River get away: this year's Great Vic Bike Ride takes in river towns.

2011 has been an amazing test of resolve for the northern country region of Victoria. Flood waters devastated a large proportion of the productive farming land and small towns dotted along the Murray and adjoining inland water systems and many businesses and farming community has been suffering since. Who could have predicted the importance of the 2011 RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride and the potential to make an injection of much need funds and support to the region.

The 2011 RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride is an opportunity to explore Victoria’s Murray River region and parts of the Central Goldfields to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. Fun, friendly and challenging, the RACV Great Vic provides riders with a fully-supported bike riding and camping holiday. Being in our own back yard makes this year’s ride certainly far more appealing even though we know the area and could access the road anytime we felt led, the above incentive and being able to share our own knowledge of the region with like minded riders makes it seem more important.

A legendary Victorian icon, the RACV Great Vic is an experience like no other. It truly is a week in another world- a world where strangers share tent pegs, shampoo and tea bags, colleagues encourage each other up hill climbs and lifelong friendships are formed while waiting for a shower or enjoying a post-ride feast. Helping giving insight into the depth and breath of the flood damage and needs of the community will no doubt make this a memorable ride for many who come wide and far to enjoy our region.

This year’s ride travels 590km over nine days through flood-affected areas along the Murray River and beyond. Beginning in Swan Hill on the banks of the mighty Murray, riders will travel in a loop through the surrounding areas before riding past wheat fields and into the farming towns of Kerang and Barham. It will be hard to comprehend that flood waters were as wide in kilometres as the distance riders will cover on these first few day ride route distance. On day four of the ride, riders will travel into Echuca and enjoy a rest day spent paddling in the river and enjoying the region’s gourmet fare.

With well-rested legs and full bellies, the riders will continue on to Lake Boort which has been filled for the first time in the last ten years making it a site to see. The ride continues to the quaint town of Wedderburn and Charlton who’s community may take years untold to fully realise the impact of the floods and the impact on their lives. The ride continues south through the undulating rises of the past prosperous goldmining country into Maryborough. Finishing in picturesque Castlemaine, riders will cross the finishing line with new friends and memories to last a lifetime having the last day to face any real hills just before the finish and being high in spirit to have completed the ride.

If you are unable to make the commitment to nine days of riding, there are two three-day and two single-day ride options available. Join in the spirit of the ride and get a taste of everything the region has to offer. To enter the ride or for more information, visit www.greatvic.com.au. This has been an event I had hoped personally to undertake and pray that God willing I will be accepted as a WARBY support rider to support any locals attending.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing.

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