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Linking central Victoria via the old railway line
Melbourne based Bicycle Network’s CEO Craig Richards recently ‘escaped’ the capital city, to see what it was like to cycle in the regional Victorian city of Bendigo. Accepting an invitation by Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail to visit Bendigo, Craig was surprised when experiencing some of the urban off-road trails, such as the Back Creek Trail with its creative artistic displays and Bendigo Creek Trail, and to see how these were providing a continuous safe route for cycling commuters.
Riding a section the O’Keefe Rail Trail from Bendigo to Axedale with the Friends members, Craig was not able to spot a platypus in the Campaspe River yet lunch at the Axedale Tavern was certainly another highlight. Time did not permit exploring the trail’s latest 30km extension to Heathcote, perhaps a reason for another visit in the future!
The ‘country escape’ for the CEO certainly provided an awareness of how Bendigo is striving to become Victoria’s regional ‘City of Greater Cycling’, to improve both its community’s health and wellbeing as well as attract more of the active tourist market.
Do you know of a public notice board in your location, which has space for information related to the O’Keefe Rail Trail and the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail? Want to know more about trails in central Victoria?
The Friends group is keen to inform the public, walkers, cyclists, those interested in natural environments or railway history, about the O’Keefe Rail Trail and the positive experiences that can be had while using this off-road trail.
Suitable information is available to download directly from the Friends web page ‘Brochures, Maps, Apps, Files, Rides’ or from Bendigo Tourism’s web page O’Keefe Rail Trail. Also printed material may be made available by contacting Bendigo Tourism on 1800813153 or email@example.com. Otherwise a request can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, yet an allowance for processing this last method of request will be required.
Planning for upgrading the busy arterial Napier Street Bendigo is currently being undertaken by VicRoads. Many within the local community are seeking an underpass to be incorporated into the design, to provide a safe crossing for cycle commutors, pedestrains, and recreational users of the O’Keefe Rail Trail.
Recently elected City of Greater Bendigo Councillor Yvonne Wigglesworth has recognised and supports the need to construct an underpass at this busy arterial road crossing. With no plans for incorporating traffic light controlled crossing in the road’s upgrade project, pedestrians and cyclists will be left with attempting to ‘duel’ with road vehicles when crossing this road.
The building of an underpass with the Napier St upgrade project, while the road is being ripped up and electricity distribution assets placed underground, would lessen the overall cost and reduce future inconvenience to road users.
With increasing use of off-road paths and trails occuring by active transport commuters, plus recreational individuals and families users, the O’Keefe Rail Trail is one of the preferred local routes. For those walking or cycling to and from the city, attending school, commuting to work, or recreational groups riding to/from Axedale and Heathcote, a safe crossing of Napier St will be critical to encouraging more people to use alternatives to their motor vehicles and also increasing outdoor tourism visitations.
This is an extract from a Letter to the Editor published in The Bendigo Advertiser.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
BENE – Wednesday, 10 Aug 2016 – Page 15
O’KEEFE RAIL TRAIL A DELIGHT
The other day I attended an event along the O”Keefe Rail Trail.
The ride commenced from Lake Weeroona from where we were bussed to Knowsley. Here we met an elderly gentleman who indicated he rode the trail every day and, given a recent heart condition, this provided the exercise and fitness regime he required. He enjoys the trail and appreciates the work and efforts put in to create this great connect.
We also came across a number of riders from the Melbourne area who worked in the firefighting industry and were using the trail to both promote and build their teams’ wellbeing. It is a fantastic ride from Knowsley and with the assistance of lunch provided at the Lake Eppalock site and a well-earned break, we continued through the forest to a winery on the edge of Heathcote.
Here we heard about the history and wine that we sampled before moving on to the Heathcote tourist centre where we were welcomed. The company and history we discussed and the terrain we rode through was fantastic. It is a relaxing ride and you can go as quickly or slowly as you please. I am now confident enough to tackle the entire trip, but the lure of the tavern at Axedale may be too great to complete the entire trip in one day.
I would like to take the time to thank the staff at Bendigo who organised the trip, the friends of the O’Keefe Rail Trail who accompanied us and my fellow riders who shared the ride and their views of the world.
I would also encourage anyone who has thought about making the trip to jump on your bikes and enjoy the scenery. It is a relaxing, changeable and safe way to enjoy the landscapes and countryside surrounding Bendigo and Heathcote. It will over time, I believe, become a fantastic destination for people of all ages to both ride and walk in our unique countryside .
Thanks again to all those involved and I look forward to the O’Keefe marathon and the increased tourism and participation the trail will bring to our region.
PS great to see the mile post sadly stolen from the trail returned.
Councillor James Williams, Whipstick ward
With the launch of the O’Keefe Rail Trail TV on YouTube, this has become a popular way of viewing and hearing of the latest trail news about this increasingly popular trail and related activities.
Past episodes have highlighted history, trail extensions and upgrades, plus the latest events occuring on what is becoming an iconic Victorian trail. Recent events have been the The Mens Health Week Ride, the Heathcote Community Games, and the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon. As well, noting visiting individuals and groups from Victoria, interstate and international tourists experiencing the natural environment, while also achieving some physical exercise on this safe trail. Of course enjoying coffees, cakes and meals over one, two, or more days makes for some memorable experiences.
The O’Keefe Rail Trail TV news channel on YouTube is dedicated to informing about the O’Keefe Rail Trail, as well as associated linking trails in this area of central Victoria. By subscribing to this channel, this will alert viewers to the latest postings about ‘exclusive’ news and associated information not to be missed!
This is a list of past episodes on this YouTube channel, with new postings being made as the news happens!
Stay tuned, as Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail’s communications team brings you the latest ‘exclusive’ trail news stories and information in central Victoria.
The following advice has been received from Telstra, regarding planned mobile service outages
Telstra is in the process of completing planned upgrades in Axedale Central that will lead to an increase in site coverage and capacity. This may result in a service disruption to the Telstra mobile network during the planned window, which may also affect users on the O’Keefe Rail Trail.
As this upgrade work needs to be carried out during daylight hours for health and safety reasons, Telstra technicians will need to switch off some sectors which support mobile services in the area. This will result in a slight disruption to mobile services in the area. Every effort will be made to reduce the impact to our customers and Telstra apologises for any inconvenience.
Upgrade work and testing, assuming all goes according to plan, will be completed between 12th May 2016 to 19th May 2016. Site outages will be kept to a minimum during that period, and Telstra anticipate to launch the improved services as soon as possible follow the completion of this upgrade work .
Telstra thanks its customers for their patience and understanding while upgrading the network.
The popularity and potential of the O’Keefe Rail Trail has attracted the attention of mainstream media over time, as well as governments and individuals within local communities.
Media coverage has informed the public about the O’Keefe Rail Trail, the efforts of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail related the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s extension to Heathcote, as well as the 2016 feasibility study into the proposed Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail. Coverage by media outlets has also highlighted the potential of this community asset, with community events such as the success of the inaugural O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon on 1 May 2016. Individuals have also commented on this new community asset, via local media.
Published media coverage has been gathered by Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail, details for some of what has been published or went to air can be found on the Friends web’s Media Clippings page.
The O’Keefe Rail Trail TV ‘episode 2’ has now been posted on YouTube to view. You can subscribe to this YouTube channel, to be sure that you catch the latest news about the O’Keefe Rail Trail and related trails in central Victoria.
Want to know more about this trail’s particular points of interest, have rail trail matters highlighted or discussed on O’Keefe Rail Trail TV channel? Then just send the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail your feedback via our web’s Contact page, an email to email@example.com or via our Facebook page.