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.
Relay For Life participants took to Shepparton's Princess Park at the weekend to raise funds for the fight against cancer, support those battling the disease and remember those who have lost their fight.
Fine weather and a strong number of athlete registrations will ensure this weekend’s Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival is another huge success.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
To celebrate National Children’s Week Campaspe shire is hosting an activities day at Apex Park tomorrow with groups providing interesting activities for babies through to kinder aged children.
Maribeth, Angelica, Faye and Reynaldo Dipasupil have become Australian citizens at a ceremony in Echuca recently.
KCLC supported Southern Processing win award
Members celebrate over the weekend.
Berrigan Shire was this week approved for a low interest loan from the state government to undertake flood mitigation works.
Frank Hill is thrilled with his repaired 1948 grey Fergie.
A part of motorsport history comes to Cobram, with local business performing a full restoration of Jack Brabham’s championship F2 BT18.
Sunny skies for Deniliquin Caulfield Cup Day race meet.
NSW has announced an increase in water allocations for Murray and Murrumbidgee irrigators.
Lions Benalla donates $1200 to buy a bar code reader for Lorraine Billman who will soon be able to go shopping without her husband.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
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.