RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride day nine – Torquay to Geelong

Photo by Simon Vincett
Photo by Simon Vincett

The Geelong Showground was awash today with gleeful, proud and slightly weary riders as the Great Vic rolled into its last finish site for this year. They could afford to be proud because they’d just completed 610km of riding, having pedalled all the way from South Australia!

But before the hugs, high fives and the final hunt for the luggage, riders enjoyed a last tangy taste of the superb surf coast with a 49km final leg taking in Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove as the scenic route to Geelong. After all, who’s in a hurry to leave their week in another world, especially when the sun is shining and the road to adventure stretches ahead?

The riders fairly flew out of Torquay – after so many days of turning the pedals, their legs have developed something of the easy power of the seasoned cycle tourer. Skirting the sparkling Zeally Bay, it was easy to daydream about more places to be discovered from the saddle of a bike.

At Breamlea, the ride picked up the new Black Rock Bike Path that provided carefree off-road riding past 13th Beach and into the picturesque town of Barwon Heads. Here there was time for an unhurried coffee break and a chance to refill the water bottles at the rest area.

Using the excellent bike and pedestrian bridge over the Barwon River, the ride maintained its leisurely progression over to Ocean Grove. Then back on the road, the rolling farmland and bush gradually gave way to the outskirts of Victoria’s second city and the firming impression that the end of this journey was not far off now.

A heart-warming welcome awaited riders in Geelong as family and friends lined the approach to the finish gantry, filling the air with cheers. In the milling crowd that quickly formed, teams congratulated each other, friends recounted the good times and acknowledged mutual support, and proud parents sized up their offspring in the light of a new milestone. For you can’t take on a Great Vic and not take away a strong sense of accomplishment – it never fails to provide a setting where teams find teamwork, friends and family find togetherness and riders confirm their capability and their love for the bike riding.

Before departing to ordinary life, canny riders paid their deposits to be back for next year’s ride beginning in the magnificent high country of Victoria’s north east. They’ll be back for more adventure, camaraderie and the knowledge that their legs can take them there. Thousands more will join them for the opportunity to explore Victoria under their own steam. We have certainly come back from our week in another world full of verve for a summer of riding and with a deep fondness for this remarkable event. Hope to see you there sometime. 

-Simon Vincett

For photos of the day, visit Bicycle Network’s Flickr.

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