Benalla is more than car races and gliding and needs to do more to attract cyclists to the area.LIBBY PRICE July 4, 2014 4:00am
Benalla should be following the examples of Mansfield and Beechworth by welcoming cyclists to town to cash in on their largely unappreciated tourism dollars, a regional tourism agency says.
North East Tourism said despite the jokes about ‘mamils’ — middle-aged men in Lycra — the estimated value of cycle tourists was more than $26
That’s 9900 visitors spending an average of $250 with an overnight stay.
There are now nearly 400 ‘cycle friendly’ businesses around the north-east proudly bearing the sticker on the shop window which indicates the business does from as little as offering complimentary water to cyclists, to providing bike racks, basic repair kits and bike pumps, and even special cyclist packages.
The biggest attraction in the area is the Great Mountain Rail Trail from Mansfield to Tallarook, with 6500 riders taking the tough trip in December.
North East Tourism cycle development officer Stephen Plummer made a presentation to the Benalla Rural City Council last week, explaining the tourism value of several different types of cyclists.
‘‘The ‘soft cyclists’ should be the number one priority,’’ he said.
‘‘They’re family groups and good spenders and bring their own bikes. Benalla has everything they’re looking for with the lake ride, Winton Wetlands and for the ones that like dirty and dangerous, there’s Reef Hills.’’
The bike path from Benalla to the wetlands is under construction and due for completion in October.
‘‘While elite sport cyclists are not a priority, the ‘hard cyclist’ will come back again if they have a good experience,’’ Mr Plummer said.
‘‘They’ll spend up to $15
Then there are the non-cyclists who will give simple rides a go such as the Lake Benalla ride.
‘‘We need to offer them ‘Pedal 2 Produce’ packages including bike hire, lunches at a winery or cafe, and a bike map,’’ Mr Plummer said.
‘‘At Beechworth they even hire electric bikes for ‘soft cyclists’ who are a bit daunted by the hills; and in Bright they have a ‘bus-a-bike’ service if you don’t want to do the return journey.
‘‘We’re encouraging other towns like Benalla to offer a similar service. It’s not just about racing cars and gliders. It’s also about loving cyclists.’’
The plan was unanimously received by Benalla Rural City Council.
Emergency services are at the scene of a two-car crash on the Midland Hwy near Pine Lodge.
After building his form in a consistent effort during the past 12 months, Mulwala double trap shooter James Willett has staked his claim on possible Olympic gold after taking out the ISSF World Cup last week.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
Breanna Hawken was living the perfect dream but within weeks of the birth of her second child would discover death was stalking her. She tells her dramatic, moving and uplifting story to IVY WISE
CAMPASPE V/Line passengers are calling for faster train speeds between Echuca and Bendigo.
Lions Club charity money was stolen from a Kyabram barbershop Tuesday morning.
Seymour suffers disappointing loss to Euroa
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
DESPITE criticism from within the community over a perceived lack of use, the O’Keefe Rail Trail has enjoyed good traffic over the past couple of weeks, with more to come.
A week after winning a prestigious Rotary award, Cobram resident Keith Parry still can’t wipe the smile off his face.
School fundraises for student with leukaemia.
ix industry and local government representatives, five water services committee members and two community members have been appointed to the new Connections Stakeholder Consultative Committee.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.