Twelve riders set out from Rippleside Park for the foreshore ride to Rippleside led by Stella (short ride) and Helen (longer circuit via You Yangs). Small wheeled bikes abounded with Rod, Rosemary (who joined in from Lara – having mistaken the starting time), Stella and Helen all riding their favourite small wheels.
An on-road break-away, led by Rick, took off up Rennie Street, Lara, while most other riders took the more scenic continuation of the Hovells Creek bike path. Cafe Blu, which now has Fair Trade organic coffee, was a popular coffee spot.
After coffee, Stella’s group retraced their wheel marks via Hovells Creek path and the waterfront, while Helen’s group sauntered to the You Yangs via Flinders Avenue, enjoying the sight of a large flock of Cape Barren geese foraging in a paddock near Serendip Sanctuary. Despite some riders claiming a lack of ride fitness, all seven of this group cycled to the Flinders Peak Turntable where they were buttonholed by some RMIY students doing a ‘micro-research’ survey of park visitors.
Breaking no speed records all riders navigated the narrow, winding and sometimes rough road down from Flinders Peak, before heading back down Forest Road into a very strong southerly (the reason for the easy riding to the You Yangs was now abundantly clear!). Some rudimentary drafting behind Kelly and David (thanks, gents) allowed the riders to make good time to join the Ted Wilson Trail at Bacchus Marsh Road. There was no escape from the head wind, except beside the high wall erected to protect the new Ring Road Service Centre – which is designed to skim any extra cash from locals and visitors alike and further pad the bottom line of fast multi-national junk food chains. Cafe Blu is not under threat from this behemoth – cyclists will continue to patronise small, local businesses with excellent service, ambiance, food and coffee.
I continued to reflect as we cycled up the path. The Ted Wilson Trail is a memorial to a man who promoted cycling through his his career in the Victoria Police force, and later with his own business Wilcare Services. He had much to do with Geelong’s wonderful network of cycling paths and on-road bike lanes, through his work on the original Geelong Bike Plan and the Barwon Regional Bicycle Council. Ted worked tirelessly, and was a world figure in promoting safe cycling. He is missed by so many of our community – but the legacy lives on.
Further up the trail near Creamery Road, the path moves through a developed garden area, with flowers, shrubs and, occasionally, herbs and vegetables. A local man had been working for some years to develop this area. Today, he was watering parched trees after the recent hot spell. This prompted further reflection – how many of our local people quietly go about supporting their community, without expecting recognition of thanks. Our thanks go to this wonderful person, whose work enhances the environment for all path users.
The head wind (and the hill up to Ballarat Road) were taking their toll, so the riders took the short cut away from the trail back to Rippleside via Ballarat Road.
Thanks to our two leaders, Stella and Helen and to all those riders who participated in a most enjoyable ride.