On a sunny Bendigo winter’s morning, Peter the ‘Pilot’ and Alan the ‘Stoker’ set out to experience what such a Tuesday had to offer. Yet what were each of them about to do? Was Peter heading to the airport to fly a plane, and was Alan actually a train enthusiast about to fire up a steam loco at Maldon?
They were not heading off as individuals, because importantly they would be as one cycling team due to Alan having a condition, he is vision impaired.
With final checks ensuring that Alan’s off-road tandem bike was in full readiness for the ride, Alan stepped into the rear ‘stokers’ seat and then Peter was into the important ‘pilot’ role at the front. They then set off from Lake Weeroona, with a plan to cycle from Bendigo to Axedale via the O’Keefe Rail Trail and return, a total distance of 44kms.
Alan with the tandem bike, at the trail’s ‘Axedale Railway Station’. Photo: Peter
During the ride at various times, Peter would verbally provide key ride information, while both pedaled and shared in the beauty of being out immersed in the trail’s natural environment whilst in safety away from the highway road traffic. Even though the trail continued on to Heathcote, of course such a ride would not have been complete without a rest stop at their planned half way turn around point, at the Axedale Tavern for coffee and cake.
Alan and Peter enjoy a coffee break at the Coffee House, Axedale Tavern. Photo: Peter
Later, with the ride over and the pair back in Bendigo, they noted that their total moving ride time had been 2hrs 15mins at an average speed of 19.6kph! Upon reflection, Peter described the day as “A fantastic ride, the trail was very well sign posted in both directions, the people we met made us welcome, and the track surface is very good plus wide enough for safe passing.”
“Peter is a skilled rider, and his friendship is much appreciated” stated Alan, with a smile. “The Tavern’s service was excellent, the coffee enjoyed, and the staff were very friendly,” plus Alan also adding, “this ride had me truly feeling alive and I hope that we can do it again soon.”