This ByK Rider has just completed his second Great Victorian Bike Ride, clocking up 322kms over five days on his new 540CX.
At only 10 years old, Miles is still one of the youngest riders to join the Great Vic Bike Ride, and he managed to average 20kms per hour on most days of his ride.This epic event is the largest multi-day ride in the Southern Hemisphere and in it's 32nd year, 1000s of riders came together to ride from Ballarat through the beautiful Victorian Goldfields.
Our second Great Vic Bike Ride – Ballarat to BendigoBy Jayne D'Arcy What a difference a year makes! This time last year Miles (9) and I (older!) took on the 5-day version of the Great Victorian Bike Ride with gusto, putting in over 200km of training the month before in order to get the most out of the experience. In 2014 we ended up on the SAG wagon (a vehicle designed to pick up those lagging behind, or with bike/health issues) twice (thanks to exhaustion and hail), and spent quite a bit of time with the WARBY's (which stands for We Are Right Behind You - they're cyclists on the ride who have the tools to get you back on the road if you need help) – for minor adjustments to my bike. Last year our cycling days began at 7.30am and we'd roll into camp in the mid-afternoon, pretty exhausted and ready for dinner and bed. In 2015 Miles' pre-departure training was limited to commuting to school and back (a 8km round trip) and riding the 3-day, 100km Great East Rail Trail Ride in late October. I wondered if we should have put in more "on the seat" hours, but I needn't have worried.
In fact, this year, with Miles one year older (but still one of the youngest on his own bike), was an entirely different story. We averaged 20km an hour on most days, up from 10-15km last year, and reached our lunch spot at the ridiculous time of 10am, or earlier, most days.Miles was lucky enough to get an upgrade from the excellent ByK E-540x16 geared kids bike that he rode last year, picking up a brand new, just-released ByK 540CX Kids Cyclocross just a week before.
He loved riding a bike with the drop and reach handlebars! It gave him the ability to change positions as the kilometers went by – which was super important when he rode his first century on day four.This year we began in Ballarat, riding 76km to Avoca on the first riding day. I couldn't believe that we were cracking over 20km per hour. We rolled into Avoca super early, and, after popping up our excellent Oztrail 3-person popup tent, Miles had tonnes of energy left to explore the town with me, play with the children from his school (he's in grade 4, and his school offers the trip to grade 6 kids), eat up all his dinner and watch an outdoor movie. We woke early in freezing cold conditions on Day 3, riding past dry, dusty, paddocks on the 68km cycle from Avoca to Dunolly. We stopped at a rest stop in the wheat town of Wareek for longer than expected: there was a 40-minute wait in the queue for the portable toilets! Once again the ride was super smooth, though windier as the day went on, and we faced our first head winds. Not nice, but Miles and I pushed through. We had enough energy to hit the greens (which were more brown) at Dunolly Bowling Club, playing countless games of barefoot bowls and resting in the shade drinking ginger beers and eating snags in bread cooked up by CFA volunteers. I took advantage of a massage from the town's sport coaches, and the local pony club put on some awesome pancakes in the morning. Day 4 was our "Can we do it?" day. It was going to be our longest day ride ever - at 103 km. We were lucky to have two rest stops and one lunch stop to break up the ride, though head winds and dry heat meant we took it a little slower. Still, Miles was unstoppable. At some of the rest stops the local communities had stalls, and I bought up some organic Rheola pistachios to go with the lamingtons that the Bicycle Network provided. We were rolling a bit slower today and missed out on the chocolate-covered snakes at the stop. As we cycled into camp, our 103km almost done, I mentioned to Miles that we only had one riding day left. "We're definitely doing the 9-day ride next year!" he said to me. Once again, he had enough energy after the ride to put up our tent, eat dinner, play soccer with some of the 1500 school students on the adventure AND watch the evening movie. Then sleep. Our last day – 73km from Inglewood to Bendigo – felt like it was just one big head wind, and while I lagged behind a little, Miles sped on through, counting down the six rail crossings that we were told about at the previous night's rider briefing. I managed to catch up with him on the approach to Bendigo and we conquered the "hills" with ease before riding in and getting a photo taken of the two of us at the finish.
We'd cycled 320km over four riding days. We had no mechanical issues, no flat tyres, and, believe it or not, no complaints. Miles' Byk was perfect for him – it was flexible and let him glide the kilometres confidently. He didn't stop once!
Miles' Great Victoria Bike RideQ&A By Miles D'Arcy, 10
- What's your overall experience of this year's Great Vic Bike Ride? I think that it was fun when you got to the camp site but it was hard when you were riding up the hills and a strong head wind coming at you. I think that the bike was more comfortable and easer to ride with the gears.
- How did you cope with the 103 kilometre ride? "I just kept riding. My attitude was a little bit tired but mostly happy."
- Tips for other kids thinking about going on the ride: "Go with the flow, and go as fast or slow as you need to. PS: it is not a race!"
- Best experience: "Was riding down the hills!"
- Worst Experience: "Going up big hills with headwinds."
- Why should people do the Great Vic Bike Ride? "Because it's good for your legs, it's a good experience because you get to work as a team if you're in a team, like keeping up with people you're riding with."
Combining the ergonomics of the base ByK kids bikes with the best of the Road and Cyclocross bikes on the market.Links:
- https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/racv-great-victorian-bike-ride/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/bicycle_network/sets/72157659448773674
- Writer, Rider and Mum: @jaynedarcy
- 540CX Kids Cyclocross Bike for 7-11 year olds
- The Great Victorian Bike Ride Pack List
- Days 1 to 3 in the 2014 Great Vic Bike Ride - a 9 Year old's Perspective