The cycling chaplain moves on to a new ministry

27 May, 2012

He’s a familiar sight in Bendigo. Any weekday morning you’ll see Eddie Barkla on his way to work with two bulging panniers strapped to his bike.

Eddie holding a cartoon of himself as the "pedalling parson"

The pedalling parson continues his ministry even though he won’t be publishing his weekly column.

Six years ago, that was Eddie’s introduction when his first column was published.

Since then he has introduced us to the champions of cycling in Bendigo: the athletes with medals in their trophy cabinet, the hard workers with dreams of medals, and the everyday heroes and heroines who quietly go about life on their bikes.

His column has also been a platform for his message of safety and sharing the road with respect. Look after yourself and your bike, be seen, be predictable. Respect other road users just as you want them to respect you.

He still pedals to work and back every day with bulging panniers, often sitting on the back of a bunch out training just as he’s done for years. These days he carries a new passenger on his handlebars. The small Cat in the Hat doll lay on the road for days before he stopped to give him a lift. Now, like a truck mascot, the Cat watches the road ahead for him. Read the rest of this entry »


Oh how close was that?

29 March, 2012
Cyclist on MTB with foot on kerb and large truck about to turn left

Give me space: cyclists are vulnerable road users and vehicles passing to close are both frightening and dangerous.

A common fear among cyclists (most would think that it is falling off, which is part of the truth), is that their actions may well cause someone else to fall off and be injured. There are many other fears that riders can suffer from particularly newer comers to the cycling scene. Fear of cornering, going downhill too fast, are all factors that are faced and overcome through gaining experience and given encouragement.

There are however some sharing the road fears that we have very little control over but to be mindful they exist and try our best to be predictable in the manner in which we share the road and place ourselves in the view and flow of other traffic users. We appreciate that some professional drivers such as taxi, bus and truck drivers have great judgment and precision skills but this does not take away the shock of when vehicle of any kind suddenly appear very close in the shared space.  Read the rest of this entry »

The final salute

25 March, 2011

When is the right age to retire from a sport you love and have dedicated that past 30 odd years of your life working hard and courageously at, giving back far more than you could take. At the age of 38 Tim Decker has reached a turning point from being a competitive cyclist after an amazing career for a rider whose heart was often bigger than his abilities. One of the major motivations for Tim is to be able to dedicate more time to Michelle and Cohen with a desire to increase the family number God willing.

Ever smiling Tim has a reputation known far and wide as being a dogged rider when the conditions were tough there was always a chance for Tim to pull off an amazing recovery and win. Tim has come up through the ranks of cycling starting off with BMX as a young boy and then progressing to track and road with a lifelong friend and mentor Doug Issell never far away encouraging and supporting Tim in his pursuit of cycling goals and history making coaching. Doug happened to mentioned in passing to Tim many years ago a race that you need to put your name on is the Melbourne to Warrnambool. “I think it might suit you sprinting up Raglan Parade after 300 km.” Not to be beaten on his 14th attempt Tim was victorious after many opportunities that were ever so close but in cycling coming second by millimetres may as well be kilometres. Read the rest of this entry »

Have bike, will travel

10 February, 2011

Who knows the limit to human commitment and endeavour, I guess only God knows! We all have unknowingly sets limits in our lives that stops those “one day’s soon” and “gunna get round to it” moments, all promises made but not followed through. Cycling can be a pathway to meeting and fulfilling many of the “if only” and “when time allows” that lay hidden in the mind and heart. Is there any aspect of our lives were a commitment is not required combined with a reasonable amount of hard work and sense of enjoyment.

All cycling activities requires commitment, it is not a something you can just be involved in or around people that are cyclists. The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’ is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’. Cycling can be to some a chance where the body mind and soul gets a work out, time on the bike creating a renewed sense of freedom and enjoyment particularly when the time is spent in the presence of like minded people, not just on the bike but as much off. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring into the Bendigo bush

13 October, 2009
Trail ride: the Spring in the Bendigo Bush ride introduced the delights of getting out of town on a bicycle. Photo: Frank Kinnesley Rail Trails Australia

Trail ride: the Spring in the Bendigo Bush ride introduced the delights of getting out of town on a bicycle. Photo: Frank Kinnesley Rail Trails Australia

Exploring the forest around Bendigo can be daunting if you don’t already know your way around. The Spring in the Bendigo Bush ride was a great opportunity to get out in the forest – without getting lost.

The City of Greater Bendigo usually organises a walk in the forest for the spring event. This year was a bike ride along the O’Keefe rail trail and back to Bendigo through the Wellsford forest with marshalling help from the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail.

Drizzle did not deter the 30 riders who set off on the 45 km circuit from the Pratts Park Road car park. We had visitors from Melbourne and Kilmore and two nine-year-old girls who completed it quite cheerfully as they do a lot of riding. So it’s a good ride for a family used to those sort of distances. Read the rest of this entry »

Comfort is a combination of saddle selection, technique and core strength

15 August, 2008

Chose your saddle & match the right techniques

Chose your saddle & match the right techniques

One of the biggest turn offs for the majority of people trying out bike riding is coming to terms with the seating arrangements. Saddle selection is a personal choice of which some will give up after a few attempts because its all too hard in both the saddle selection and to get comfortable. A general rule for saddle selection is the overall length of the saddle is longer and narrower for men, where as women’s saddles are more likely to be shorter and wider. It is also best to check that the saddle is level as a starting point and not tilted forward as some may think as this can create more pressure.





Before jumping too far into what saddle may suit there are some skill techniques that can contribute to poor comfort and changing over many saddles may not be only answer.  New riders starting off adopt a posture that is more upright and select a mountain bike or a hybrid as these lend more to this style of posture.  This is not unrealistic but it does place the larger portion of the body weight directing onto the bottom, sit bones and spine. Cycling with ease and comfort is best achieved when the body weight shared over the feet, hands and bottom. When evenly distributed over the three areas the weight on the bottom is reduced. The core strength of the individual will dictate some comfort, if this is lacking then leaning over for any length of time will be a challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Bendigo Triathelon Club a growing Community

30 July, 2008

Bendigo Tri Club a growing communityThe club currently is proud of over 140 athletes having competed in the last 12 months boosting membership across all age barriers with members in their 60’s still competing regularly right down to under 10’s. The clubs knows that without the valued support of local sponsors that this growth would not have been possible.

The club high lights has been over the last 20 years “Seeing athletes of all abilities grow over the years, some to elite level while others have had great longevity and are the motivators behind introducing new members to club level and beyond”. Read the rest of this entry »