August 1, 2018
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From grandparents to grandchildren, community volunteer participation was the highlight for the 2018 National Tree Day event held at Axedale on Sunday 29 July. This site event was coordinated by Longlea and District Landcare, with support from the City of Greater Bendigo.
Approximately 70 volunteers planted out about 1600 native trees and grasses at the selected Campaspe River Reserve area. National Tree Day and Schools Tree Day combine to make Australia’s largest community tree planting event. aiming to inspire, educate and recruit Australians to actively care for this unique land.
Rail Trail volunteers Zeke, Maika and Mal Ward, Nola Jarvis, Ken Hanson, and Rob Jarvis
With the O’Keefe Rail Trail passing close by the event site, the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail members assisted other community groups, local school children and individuals for the planting activity. Of course the socially engaging event finished off with a tasty BBQ lunch to be remembered. This new planted area is expected to enhance this river environment, to be enjoyed by rail trail users, fishermen and local walkers in the future years. This may also have a positive impact on the local bird and platypus populations too!
The O’Keefe Challenge certainly gained support from both runners, walkers and cyclists over the April event weekend. While the running events, such as the marathon and half marathon attracted record entries, a new cycling event was conducted for the first time in 2018.
‘Light The Trail’ was a cycling event held on the Friday evening of the popular event weekend. With this event commencing in Axedale at 7pm, cyclists were encouraged to also ‘light up’ themselves and their bikes with coloured decorative lights. The route followed the O’Keefe Rail Trail from Axedale to Heathcote’s Barrack Reserve, a distance of 27.6kms, with cyclists relying only on their bright bike lights to see the trail ahead. While not a race, the lead riders did cover the distance in under 1hr 15mins, while most riders just enjoyed a more leisurely pace!
Some of the very bright ‘Light The Trail’ participants! Photo: G.Long
A section of riders getting ready at the event start, Axedale. Photo: G.Long
A light supper was available for all riders at the finish, as well as a free bus with bike trailer providing transport back to Axedale. And yes, there were some riders who decided to ride the rail trail back to Axedale later that evening ……perhaps to gain just a little more of the great experience that the night event had provided!
April 23, 2018
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The third O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon community organised events attracted 800 individual runners on Sunday 22 April, utilising various sections of the O’Keefe Rail Trail as part of the O’Keefe Challenge.
O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon runners cross Lake Eppalock. Photo: Bendigo Advertiser 22 April 2018
“We are really lucky in Bendigo and Heathcote to have this track, and it’s just so good to be able to share that with people.” said Race Director Nigel Preston. “We finished at the oval in Heathcote for the first time, which was a great setting for the finish.”
The marathon event attracted 114 runners, starting in Junortoun, and 120 entered the half marathon commencing in Knowsley, whilst other participants entered in the 5km, 10km plus the other running and walking events starting in Heathcote.
Bendigo athlete and former triathlete Leon Griffen won the marathon, in a time of two hours and 35 minutes, being a credible time compared with the marathon world record of two hours and two minutes.
“It was his first attempt and Leon did super well,” Mr Preston said. “Our course is pretty tough, there’s varied terrain and gravel surface for most of it, plus the second half is gradually up hill.”
For the first time a ‘Light the Trail’ cycling event was a lead in event on the Friday night, using the O’Keefe Rail Trail and only bike lights. This event proved popular, starting at Axedale and finishing in Heathcote.
March 24, 2018
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The National Ride to School day event for the Axedale Primary School each year involves one of their school’s favourite adopted ‘school facility’, the O’Keefe Rail Trail. This National activity provides an opportunity for students, parents and teachers to try riding, walking, skating or scooting to school as well as celebrating the regular walkers and riders. And Axedale school community really does get behind this National initiative.
From this small rural school, students from all age groups were involved as well as teachers and parents plus the ride being assisted by Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail members. At the early morning start time of 7:30am, from the designated Longlea Lane start point, this saw an excited bunch of older students ready to share the whole experience on the rail trail. As the ride group rode closer towards the school, the younger age students and parents joined the group at various points along the trail.
Axedale Primary School students Ride to School. Photo: L.Clay
The ‘official’ 2018 photo was taken at the recently constructed replica Axedale Railway Station platform on the O’Keefe Rail Trail, where the student’s enthusiasm for the morning’s ride overflowed!
December 29, 2017
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It is a great time to be out on the O’Keefe Rail Trail during the Christmas-New Year holidays, and for this family there were extra reasons. Santa had brought new bikes for the children, so where better to learn to ride those bikes than well away from busy road traffic.
Children learning to ride new bikes on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Photo: G. Long
With Christmas being celebrated at their rural property near Axedale, the only nearby road is the busy McIvor Highway. So the adjoining rail trail was the perfect safe place for the children and adults to be out together, as well as a bit of exercise for the family’s aging dog. From these lessons, could there be a future Australian cycling champion in the making?
December 18, 2017
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It was just after sunrise that some volunteers began mulching around new plants along a section of the O’Keefe Rail Trail, so as to beat working in the heat of the day. These were members of the Longlea and District Landcare plus Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail, all helping to restore a section of the trail’s natural environment in Junortoun.
Volunteers mulch new plants on O’Keefe Rail Trail, for the summer period. Photo: G. Long
Just as this work was nearing completion, a cycling group of mainly female members from a Bridgewater and Newbridge ‘spin class’ were assembling on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. The group had travelled to Bendigo for this planned outing, ‘escaping’ their usual gym class room. Of course as well as enjoying the social company, there had to be a goal for those involved, and this may not have been just to complete the round trip of about 30kms. Apparently the attraction for some was the mid-point lunch booking, at the Axedale Tavern!
The ride for the group begins, along the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Photo: G. Long
Restoring a natural environment, improved a community’s health and wellbeing, and adding benefits to the local economy were just some of the day’s outcomes on the O’Keefe Rail Trail.
December 5, 2017
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One of the attractions of the O’Keefe Rail Trail is it provides an escape into a natural environment, a reserve that can be close to urban areas, be within forests, stretching across a lake, or adjoining farming properties. The landscape through which the trail passes is quite varied, which creates a special ‘formula’ that makes such trails popular and enjoyable.
Over a number of years, both the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail and the Longlea Landcare group have assisted to re-vegetate sections of the former railway reserve that had lost most of the native trees and grasses. For the 2017 National Tree Day, a section of trail close to the McIvor Hwy in Junortoun was selected to be re-vegetated with tube stock plants. The City of Greater Bendigo’s Parks staff supported the project, by deep ripping the soil in preparation and also providing 1000 trees and grasses.
Volunteers planting and mulching along the O’Keefe Rail Trail, Junortoun.
While storm clouds drifted past in the distance, volunteers armed with shovels turned up to ‘get their hands dirty’ on the day, as well as enjoying some socialising with others. Thankfully the rain storm held off, and after just a few hours of effort, viewing a sea of tree guards protecting the new plants was a very satisfying sight for all those present.
With occasional care, the area will become a new section of natural ‘bush’, to be enjoyed by the local community and trail users. This will also provide native birds and animals with an area to breed, feed, and shelter in, part of a continuous natural corridor. Through the willingness of these volunteers on one day, their efforts will create a ‘win win’ situation for all!
September 28, 2017
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The Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail’s Annual General Meeting will be on Tuesday 10th October at the Cycling Rooms, Tom Flood Centre, Water Street Bendigo, commencing at 6:45pm.
The public is welcome to attend the AGM (6:45 – 7:30pm), to hear of the various activities that the Friends’ group has been involved with over the past 12 months. Some of this activity has been associated with the O’Keefe Rail Trail, the proposed Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail, and general involvement to create better cycling opportunities in the Greater Bendigo area. After the AGM supper, there will be a General Meeting held which all are welcome to attend.
Andy Bos and Paula Ewing of Tread Harcourt.
AGM guest speakers will be Andy Bos and Paula Ewing, sharing information about two interesting topics close to their hearts. The community involvement process in seeking approval and funding to develop a Mt Alexandra Mountain Bike Park, which resulted in positive outcomes now unfolding, and also the developing innovative ‘Tread Harcourt’, a centre for cycling, accommodation, and cycle tours.
August 22, 2017
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Ride Easy Bike Skills sessions
Want to ride your bike more but lost on where to start, or want to improve your existing skills and confidence?
Sign up for Ride Easy: four practical workshops – social, supportive, fun!
You’ll learn strategies for riding safely on the road, managing intersections and roundabouts, plus how to choose low-stress routes, how to carry stuff, and much more. Be quick – the course starts Thursday 24 August. Limited places (course now open to general community, all welcome!)
Weekly sessions on Thursdays, 9.30am – 12pm from 24 August to 14 September 2017. Starts from the La Trobe University Bendigo bike hub.
– Session 1 – Thursday 24 August – Basic handling skills and using gears
– Session 2 – Thursday 31 August – Skills for riding in traffic part 1
– Session 3 – Thursday 7 September – Skills for riding in traffic part 2
– Session 4 – Thursday 14 September – Puncture repair and basic maintenance
Contact Nicola to register: email@example.com / 0438 578 835
It was at uni that I became passionate about getting around on two wheels – and I’ve never stopped! My short rides to uni extended to riding around town, round the country and, eventually, round (bits of) the world. I love the freedom, the environmental, social and health benefits – and not paying for parking or petrol! Over the years, I’ve worked in a bike shop, edited a bike magazine, written Lonely Planet cycling guidebooks and taught workshops. I still ride for transport as much as I can (with or without my three children), and for fun and fitness with a social road-riding bunch.