By Lizette Salmon, Repair Café Albury-Wodonga
As you read this while munching your cornflakes, I’ll be on day two of a three day cycling holiday on the Great Victorian Rail Trail. It’s Australia’s longest continuous rail trail, running from Tallarook (just south of Seymour) to Mansfield, a total of 134km. I’ll be pumping the pedals with my brother, my sister and our families, with the youngest in our group just ten years old. Some of us cycle regularly, others rarely, but the attraction of this holiday is that it’s local, fun and safe. I love the fact we’re living lightly, off the roads and on our very own path. We’ll follow the Goulburn River at Tallarook, checking out the scenic beauty of the Trawool Valley before meandering through farmland and crossing Lake Eildon at the Brankeet Arm. We’ve even packed our torches for Victoria’s longest rail trail tunnel at Cheviot.
This trail is a bit of a hidden gem, with several friends returning for repeat holidays, either camping or staying in the range of accommodations en route. To avoid car-shuffles there’s a return transfer service, including bikes and luggage. To further minimise carbon emissions you could leave your car at home and take the train to Seymour.
If you’re keen to try an overnight family cycling trip but don’t have the time for this trip, I thoroughly recommend a shorter section of rail trail between Beechworth and Bright. The first 16km to Everton is all down-hill, weaving through beautiful bush. Picturesque wineries dot the trail and there’s plenty of accommodation in Myrtleford.
Albury-Wodonga has a brilliant network of bike paths if you need a bit of training. The section from Noreuil to Wonga Wetlands is one of my favourites, especially now it features the delightful Wagirra sculpture trail.
If your bike’s been hibernating over winter and needs some TLC, the volunteers at the Repair Café will be only too happy to help you get it up and running again. Every session there are two to three dedicated bike repairers to show you how to fix the basics, from punctures and stretched brake cables to seized chains and spoke alignment. All free of charge.
The Repair Café is open the first Saturday of each month, including this coming Saturday 1 October from 10am to 1pm at the Sustainable Activity Centre on Gateway Island. For more information visit eco.redsally.com.