Cycling heritage

A group of young boys standing in a circle with their road bikes.

From little things ... what are the roots of the Bendigo cycling culture?

One of the things of cycling is the in-depth conversations that can take place out on the road, prompting thinking, such as what has made Bendigo have such a rich heritage of cycling culture?  Is it the alluring hills and valleys for cyclists to train hard yet enjoy the freedom and challenge of man and machine against nature’s seasons and unpredictable conditions.

We digressed to thinking of the champions that have risen up and not just in one discipline of cycling but across many aspects of the sport and what was the foundation that these people had built on, as we recognised that whatever we see today is because we stand on the shoulders of those that have gone before us.

We reflected that there might have been strong club members and people with courage to make decisions and see the potential in others and opened door of opportunity. We still did not think we had yet captured the essence of what were the strong roots of a cycling culture. Thinking of the diversity of cycling across this region to catch a glimpse of what this might reveal.

There is no doubt a strong road culture at present. There is an amazing sub culture of BMX with a strong racing presence and free style emerging and stampings its place in history. There is the growing of the Triathlon club that has a strong cycling need to be at the top end of the  sport and we have been blessed with names on the world stage home grown off the lonely district roads. The mountain bike scene has a long past and a bright future with family names that echo in the halls of cycling fame.

There has been and hoped to continue a strong commuting community where places like ADI and the Railway workshops of the past and other large entities that had daily and shift workers riding their deadly treadly or affectionately called the gridiron or sweat-wheel in some circles.  Time on the road brought other stories of ancestors in their days of riding to school on gravel road in some cases for miles or in courtship chasing love.

The gold rush would have certainly been a large part of the shaping of the district with many hopes of making their fortunes the shaping of many aspects of this great city. We took this thought and teased it out more asking ourselves, what is the birth of most things that are lasting and of strong character?

We could see commitment and dedication has been in the ancestry of some of the world class riders we know and admire. Necessity is the mother of all inventions; adversity either makes or breaks the heart of those in the midst of life’s challenges.

We concluded that most miners and workers around Bendigo were of a strong Anglosaxon background, tough men and women leaving home comforts chasing the dream of  mining gold, but also face the depression, drought, floods and fires with a strong will power to ride through these tough times. Now we felt we could start to see was getting near to the heart of this cycling community culture.

Necessity, adversity, combined with a fighting spirit of not giving up.  As any cyclist knows nothing in cycling is achieved without the hard yards.

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

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