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.
A fire truck has lost two of its back wheels on the Goulburn Valley Highway
The Ovens & Murray qualifying final between Yarrawonga and Lavington on Saturday left spectators talking more about the standard of umpiring than the two competing teams.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
Police Association slams secret roster trial.
District hotels and businesses may change rosters with penalty rates for casual employees on Sundays set to be cut.
Students visit local businesses for reading lessons
Bottle thrown at Jason Cole in bitter aftermath to Seymour-Benalla game on Saturday.
A truck driver is lucky to be alive after crashing into a Jerilderie home yesterday morning.
Chef and co-owner of Heathcote’s Willow Room Brent Loam is thrilled with the listing in the 2015 Age Good Food Guide
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
TRUCKtalk magazine all the rage with local truck drivers.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
An unknown sum of money was stolen from Benalla Golf Club this morning after thieves broke into its gaming room.
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