Twenty years is a long time for anything in today’s society with the pace of change that we experience. It would be wonderful to have been asking the organisers back in 1993 at Bicycle Victoria as it was known then as to how successful the Around the Bay in a Day event could possibly become.
This year is the 20th anniversary of this wonderful event that has inspired and encouraged many cyclists to take on what seems a mammoth challenge to ride either clockwise or anticlockwise around the Port Phillip Bay crossing by ferry at Queenscliff – Sorrento.
This event is widely known as Australia’s largest mass participation bike ride and draws participants internationally and nationally to attend. Last year it was recorded that over 1,500 participants came from outside of Victoria to participate. There are not many serious recreational riders that have not added this event to their resume or have made this an annual event.
Bendigo has the usual pilgrim’s to sojourn down each year some as individuals and other with friends and family to test their merit on the day. A much younger Kevin Hall and Kevin Hughes started their quest back in 1995 and have not missed an event this year making this their 17th event. From the humble beginnings and the challenge there has been little change apart from many bikes later and wisdom and experience gained as there is no such thing as an easy bike ride of 210klms or over. Kevin Hall did the 250klm ride one year just to tick the box as being another challenge conquered.
A record number of bike riders is expected to take part in what is billed as Australia’s biggest and best cycling event. Event Manager Michael Russell said: “Bupa Around the Bay has played a key role in turning road bike riding into a mainstream recreational activity. This together with the popularity of the Tour de France, a desire to be fit and healthy and the social side of bike riding has made the ride one of the hottest tickets in town.
“This year we will also be celebrating the ten legends that have not missed a year as well as over 400 bike riders who have ridden at least ten times around the bay,” he added.
Event organiser Bicycle Network Victoria is offering a choice of five distances from 50km to 250km to ensure there is a cycling challenge for everyone to be a part of Australia’s largest mass participation bike ride.
There is also a serious side to Australia’s best and biggest one-day challenge ride, raising money for The Smith Family’s Learning for Life programs. The Smith Family has been an active partner of the event since its inception and in 2011 over $1 million dollars was raised. This year riders are challenged to raise a record $1.2 million to help young people in need, enabling them to fully participate in their education so that they can create better futures for themselves and break the cycle of disadvantage.
Feel sure that there are many other participants across Bendigo who have accomplished multiple events as there is likely to be some new comers taking part in the event this year. It has been interesting to watch the event develop and the cycling culture along with it.
Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing