Cycling for Relaxation in Loddon Valley

Published on 27 November 2015

CADEL Evans is owed a big vote of thanks.

His 2011 Tour de France victory inspired thousands of followers to get back on their bikes and get into cycling.

Factor in the nation’s soaring petrol prices, congested roads and overcrowded public transport and the impetus was there for a major resurgence in pushbike sales.

Along with working out at the gym, jogging, swimming, hiking and bushwalking, cycling is one of Australia’s key growth sports, gaining 1.6 million new participants over the past decade.

According to Roy Morgan Research, men’s involvement in cycling has leapt 22% in 10 years (up from 16%), women are at 16% (up from 9%) and all age groups have shown an increase except boys of 14-17 years.

The surge has even created a new label – MAMIL (Middle-Aged Man in Lycra). 

The Loddon Valley is developing as a region of interest for cycling clubs and events, with its farms and grasslands, goldfields heritage, state and national parks, lakes and welcoming small towns an enticing combination.

The Great Victorian Bike Ride focused on the area in 2011 and will revisit the Loddon Shire during its 2015 event from 28 November to 6 December.

Groups such as the Central Victorian Veterans Cycling Club have raced in different parts of the region for some time, but now stage criterium events in Tarnagulla each year as part of the town’s annual festival in October.

The local Council has now made it easier for cyclists to explore the Loddon Valley with the recent installation of new signage on 12 walking/cycling trails in the district.

The trails concerned are around Boort, Bridgewater, Inglewood, Laanecoorie, Pyramid Hill, Serpentine, Tarnagulla and Wedderburn.

The Bridgewater River Walk, for example, offers several options of up to 2km return, passing the town’s swimming hole, fishing area, river rapids, carved wooden figures and several historic sites.

The Laanecoorie River Walk is an easy 2.4km loop following the Loddon River, while the The Pon Pon Trail at Serpentine leads to the little known Pon Pon Swamp, a treasure-trove of plants, animals and Aboriginal heritage.

Tarnagulla is well served, with trails to the town’s historic cemetery, exploring local heritage sites and circling the reservoir through box ironbark forest.

Further north, the 3.7km Little Lake Boort loop showcases that popular waterway, while a trail at Pyramid Hill skirts the base of the hill and provides a 600m return track to the saddle.

For the more determined rider, the 13km Bullabul Track links Inglewood and Bridgewater, passing the historic Morning Star mine and an old timber bridge.

All trail signage includes icons showing points of interest and rest areas and distances are provided so people can determine whether they wish to walk the whole trail, or just part of it.

The boards even have a Quick Response, or QR, code so the sign and map can be loaded directly into a smartphone or computer.

GPS data on all trails can also be accessed from the web and any risks are clearly spelt out.

For more information, contact the Loddon Visitor Information Centre on 5494 1257 or visit www.loddon.vic.gov.au