Ride report from Rod Charles, ride leader and cycling historian.
For the first time in the history of Seniors rides we were unable to ride the river because of flooding.
So let’s attack the town from its cradle, where Foster Fyans camped in 1838 on the confluence of the two rivers the Barwon and the Moorabool. This must have been the site of rich aboriginal activity, both as a food bowl and as a meeting place. in times before European settlement.
We rode up the hill into Newtown passing sites of wool scouring and milling. The wool base to the town on show.
Wending our way past the site of Russell Mockridge’s first race outing in 1946 to Eastern Park where Jas Carpenter raced in the 1890s we viewed the You Yangs over Corio Bay. This is a ride full to the brim of cycling history and the history of the colony of Victoria which we must do again- or if anybody is interested I’d be happy to lead any one again.
Choice Magazine would say that the goods provided ‘did not fit the advertised description’ and that consumers are entitled to ‘full refund’. However, as there was no fee to be on the ride, and, because the scheduled ride would have required snorkels and wet-suits, rather than pedals and helmets, no penalty was paid. No one even asked for a refund.
Despite the Barwon flood, sixteen cyclist rode the Barwon on today’s On Ya Bike! ride – billed as History around the River. Rod was well prepared and had worked out a course through the streets of Newtown, and South Geelong to Eastern Park, with several history stops on the way. Settlements depend on transport. Geelong’s history is bound up with the history of cycling, from workers in the riverside woollen mills commuting by bicycle, to cycle racing and back to our modern return to cycling, with increasing numbers of cyclists requiring specific cycling infrastructure in our fast expanding city.
Most of the roads traversed have bike lanes. The group also rode the new commuter path through Eastern Park, and the cycle way along Swanston Street. Coffee was at Little Creatures Brewery, once a carpet factory. Bicycles may be borrowed by cafe patrons for a leisurely ride around the river (when it’s not in flood).
Several riders were anxious about riding on roads, rather than the advertised path. All succeeded admirably. Well done to all participants, and thanks to Rod for planning and leading the ride.
Thanks also to our On Ya Bike! official photographer, John Hagan and to Tseviet whose passion for cycle safety saw him giving out free cycle mirrors to several lucky participants.