Blanket Hill north of Lake Glenmaggie
The town of Bairnsdale has a population of 13000 people and a wider catchment area of close to 50,000, with all of the outlining areas coming into Bairnsdale to mainly shop.
Clifton Creek rolling hills
Bairnsdale is the epicentre for a lot of riders come from surrounding region including Paynesville, Stratford, Sale, Metung, Bruthen, Nungurner, and Wyung which is part of the East Gippsland Shire.
St Marys Church Bairnsdale opposite the water tower meeting point with the magificant celing frescos
A full week of rides
The rides vary from some organised bunchies to more informal rides and 'out of towners' are always welcome.
8:00am, Masonic Lodge in Bairnsdale, ride 15-16kms to meet the second group at the carwash/bus wash in Paynesville at 9:00am and ride back for coffee to Bairnsdale. Usually they get 10 -20 riders and has been going for over 20 years, known as the Retired bunch.
No fixed ride - normally a ring-around
Pre ride meeting up in Nicholson
A large group before heading off in Nicholson
09:30am at the house of local Ross Wembridge, in Stephenson Road, Nicholson. Riding on basically the same course as the 2018 Australian Masters Road Nationals. Heading towards Bruthen via Mossiface and returning to Nicholson via Tambo Upper.
Tampo Upper Stephenson Rd bridge
Either using Stephenson Road, or continuing on Upper Tambo Road to the Sandhills climb and passing through Swan Reach.
This ride often starts at 8:30am in Summer if hot weather is forecast. Usually with a huge bunch of 18 -22 riders and sometimes 26.
Bull Ant Brewery Bruthen Group
They ride out to the Bull Ant Brewery in Bruthen, who look after them and set up the tables and have all the water out for morning tea and return back to the house for red cordial and cake for a kick around then onto Bairnsdale by midday.
Many women join the ride including the 2 Sue's, Prue, Di, Mandy, it’s a big cycling community
05:00am meet Bairnsdale Bikes. The Friday Loop
Front Left to right Chris, Warren (Lucky), Back left to right XXX, Stephen & Warren
Bairnsdale water tower meeting point
7:00am - The Main Hotel opposite the Water Tower, average 30-35km/h - the fastest of week. Bunch usually numbers 8 to 14 riders, sometimes with a mixture of triathletes, who are on their tri bikes training for events and regular riders.
Some cyclists still ride but they are too old to race.
7:30am - average 27-28km/h - The Water Tower
8:00am - meet at the crossroads of Grandview & Paynsville Road and decide what to do, 25-26km/h. (All at different levels, speed, distance and experience)
8:00am Bairnsdale Water Tower - 35kms but is weather dependent
Long weekends There are many organised informal rides like the one that was organised on the Labor Day Long Weekend to Straton and catching the train back to Bairnsdale.
A community of aliens & Imports
Buchan Fish and chip shop
Its starts with many people visiting East Gippsland for holidays and discovering the region and how fantastic it is, 'we have to come here when we retire' with many from Morwell and the La Trobe Valley.
It's the good weather, Gippsland Lakes, close to the snowfields, the beach, it's paradise, and great company as the group laughs, one rider John Dury bought a property without being to Raymond Island at Gippsland Lakes. As retiree's they have the flexibility to create their own rides during the week so with retirement comes benefits with organised rides on Monday and Wednesdays out to Stratford so it’s a very vibrant and active cycling area.
Stephen on the left and Bob the surgeon on the right
Stephen Lightfoot from North Fitzroy was thinking of moving out of Melbourne as it was becoming quite hectic with 5 million people when and a nursing position became available in the local hospital 2 months ago Stephen just followed his head and moved east.
Really good people
Davies Knob en-route to Dargo
It’s a great group, our groups are really good people and they are good socially.
Punching above their weight
The district has a heritage of great riders and punches above their weight for a small area with Daniel McConnell (From Bruthen) who is arguably Australia's greatest mountain bike rider competing in 3 Olympics and Commonwealth Games MTB Cross Country Bronze Medallist Charlotte McShane, 2013 World U23 Women Triathlon Champion.
Head for the hills
Balfours Rd Climb
Balfours Rd near Granite Rock
On the windier days the bunches head for the hills which literally start on the other side of the river (north of the main township), they are not mountains but just hills.
Alternatively you can choose to ride the flats and head south of the main township.
The E-Bike attacker
An older gentlemen sits behind on the back of the bunch, punching along at 55km/h then as then on his E Bike wanting to pinch the KOM (King of the Mountain) moves up to the front.
We have fantastic rides here
Licola East Gippsland
Chris was saying that you can have a different 50km - 100km loop every day of the week, hills (more rises as they are not big mountains so more lumpy), flats and by the water.
Flat: The Lower Goon Nurecircuit (around 55kms); Wattle Point (55kms)
Hills: Flaggy Creek Loop with a couple of hills with short, sharp climbs is about 70kms if you do 2 laps. Fingerboards (85kms), Walshes Cutting (100kms)
Hilly: Clifton Creek loop,(40kms), Bruthen return (90kms)
Back of Granite Hill - en-route to Clifton Creek
Point to point - Buchan to Orbost (120kms); Heyfield to Licola (110kms).
Big days out: Dargo return (180kms); Traralgon or Morwell by train and ride back (140 to 160kms)
Aroma Coffee House & Eatery - Bairnsdale
There are no shortage of places to get the caffeine fix post ride
Bairnsdale Cycling Club
One of Australia's oldest cycling clubs circa 1896.
The Australian Masters Road Championships
In October 2018 the Gippsland Lakes District of Metung, Swan Reach and Paynesville held the prestigious Australian Masters Road Championships for the first time. It is awarded to Australian cities and towns including South Australia in 2019 covering McLaren Vale, Willunga and Adelaide city.
Rolling Hills en-route to Clifton Creek
When riding out of town it's important to take plenty of water, there is limited water available in Dargo or with a bit of local knowledge finding the water tanks at the local football ovals, or knocking on a local farm house door as everyone laughs.
Supporting the region
Wy Yung property in East Gippsland
Eat.Drink.Gippsland - a 140 page A5 printed guide to Gippland’s best food and drink showcasing wine touring routes, town guides, farm gates maps and stories featuring the regions inspirational food and drink experiences.
Emptyesky.com.au - supporting businesses effected by the fires
East Gippsland Rail trail underpass in Bruthen that runs back to Bairnsdale and onto Nowa Nowa to Orbost