Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore rail trail

Linking central Victoria via the old railway line

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Age not a Barrier for Bikes

A chance to exercise away from busy roads, meet new friends, learn about interesting local attractions were some of the things experienced by bicycle riders during Seniors Week in Bendigo.

One of the week’s program of activities was a shared bicycle ride along a section of the O’Keefe Rail Trail. “It was open to all, whether you felt like you were a senior or not, the ride proved popular” said Friends of the Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail’s activities coordinator Greg Ralton, “Participants were able to join the ride at different points along the trail, with commentary provided on railway history, new tree plantings, signs and developments on this popular trail.’

Of course like most bicycle rides, this also finished with another popular activity, having coffees and chats at Lake Weeroona!

Bicycle Rewards

Its all about timing, targets and tactics in implementing bike infrastructure. This was the message Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards, as guest speaker at the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail AGM 8 October in Bendigo.

Craig painted the picture of the challenges plus the rewards of getting more people on bikes, yet also highlighted some key things that can also lead to a project’s ‘crash’!

The Friends group’s President Garry Long reflected on the past 12 months achievements of the active community group. The group was formed 10 years ago, initially focussed on improving and extending the O’Keefe Rail Trail, yet has included in its objectives a broader focus on creating more local cycling and walking opportunities.

The group’s elected 2019-20 Executive is President Garry Long, Vice President Colin Scott, Secretary Paul Ferguson, and Treasurer Colin Campbell.

Watering Plants for the Future

Seasonal changes have seen lower than average rainfalls occurring in central Victoria. This environmental challenge is also impacting on Bendigo’s recent National Tree Day site of plants on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Attempting to give the 3000 new plants a chance of survival, as summer approaches, Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail members gathered to do a watering.

With the assistance of City of Greater Bendigo council’s Parks and Natural Reserves staff, a Friends working bee saw all plants given a much needed watering this week. Survival and growth of these plants is expected to improve this section of the trail’s natural environment, for the future enjoyment of trail users and the local community.

Ride4Seniors Week

Will the 2019 Seniors Week in Bendigo be special, be memorable, maybe life changing for you and your friends?

Wednesday 9th October will see a free bicycle ride activity held on a short section of the O’Keefe Rail Trail in Bendigo. This off-road trail has a low gradient, a good surface, so making this ride available to all abilities.

Prepare now, check your bike or borrow a bike. Of course definately a cafe coffee chat will happen upon completion! Check out further details via this link.

This bicycle ride is an opportunity to meet people, make new friends, or learn new skills. The Friends members look forward to sharing the morning with you.

https://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/Things-To-Do/Community-Event/okeefe-railtrail-bike-ride

Did you ride?

What was different about Wednesday 14th Oct 2015 in your city, town or workplace? For the city of Bendigo (Victoria) and many of its off-road trails, streets and workplaces, that morning saw a marked increase in people riding bikes in public places for Ride2Work Day 2015.

The O’Keefe Rail Trail was publicised as one of Bendigo’s Ride2Work Day official routes for commuting into the city centre. The Hargraves Mall became the meeting place, for a free breakfast, cycle related information, and of course a chat!

Can you spot the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail’s teardrop banner and participating Friends members in the same coloured jersey tops in this YouTube video by the City of Greater Bendigo?

Whistle posts return!

What is a ‘whistle post‘ you may ask!

The Victorian Railways installed specific posts to alert engine drivers that they were approaching a ‘PCR’ (Public Carriage Roadway) level crossing. The driver was required to sound the train’s whistle at such a distance back from the crossing, to give ample warning of the approaching train. A ‘whistle post’ was installed on the driver’s side of the line, at a specific distance from each side of the crossing.

Within the new O’Keefe Rail Trail section crossing Lake Eppalock, there was originally a railway level crossing of the Derrinal-Crosbie Road. This section of road was flooded by the lake’s construction in the early 1960s, as too was the railway. The new O’Keefe trail now crosses that exact location of the former road crossing point, so the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail’s Project Team decided to identify the location. How? By installing two replica whistle posts.

Member Ken Hanson sprung into action, sourced materials and manufactured the two posts. With the assistance of the Friend’s Project Team members, the two posts have been recently installed on the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s new Lake Eppalock Causeway (note: the causeway is not currently open to the public, until construction is completed). These posts highlight the former road crossing, which otherwise is not easily recognised or even identify depending on the lake’s water level. Another Friends’ volunteer project completed, to provide future trail users with a link to the past.

 

riends members installing replica whistle posts, Lake Eppalock Causeway, Derrinal

Friends members installing replica whistle posts, Lake Eppalock Causeway, Derrinal

As can also be noted on the photo, a replica 79 mile marker post has been installed by the Friends, adjacent to its original location near the former Derrinal-Crosbie Road level crossing.

Did you know?

Have you been out enjoying the upgraded and extending O’Keefe Rail Trail lately? Seen those white concrete posts with black numbers to the side of the trail, and wondered what do they mean…why are they there?

These are railway marker posts or sometimes known as railway mile posts. Like to know more, then read about these in an article on the history pages

Bike Bendigo Inc. launch

The official launch of Bike Bendigo Inc. will occur on Friday 17 October in Bendigo. The formation of this organisation is expected to create a turning point for how Bendigo is perceived in the future.

To have Bendigo known as a cycle friendly city is one of the major goals, which is an exciting prospect in itself! Not only determined to achieve that position, another core objective of this new not-for-profit organisation is to get more people and families cycling, both for commuting and for recreation.

Click this link for the Bike Bendigo Inc. offical launch details. Come along and be a part of this exciting development, hear about the planned directions, and support this community initiative. More related information about this new direction for Bendigo can be found on twitter (@BikeBendigo and #bikebendigo) or facebook.com/bikebendigo.

Your diary’s Friday 17 October entry – “Bike Bendigo, Hargreaves Mall, Bendigo, 5:30pm – 7:30pm“, not to be missed!

 

Axedale tunnel nears completion

Man standing on concrete ramp leading to tunnel under a road

Ramp it up: it will soon be a smooth ride from one side of McIvor Highway to the other

On our way back from the Wallan Market yesterday, we stopped to check progress on the Axedale tunnel. It now features a lovely concrete ramp on both sides. Can’t wait to roll down there on a bike.

Wandong to Heathcote trail makes tracks

Mitchell Bicycle Users Group and the Friends have been jointly working to raise the profile of a Wandong to Heathcote rail trail. And the BEAM MItchell Environmental Group, Wandong and Heathcote Junction Community Group, and the Pyalong Restoration Group have thrown their support behind the idea as well. We’ve made presentations to Rob Mitchell MP for McEwen and Jeff Saker (Director Engineering and Infrastructure at Michell Shire), as well as candidates before the last federal election.

Mentions of the trail are now found in Mitchell Shire Council documents:

It’s also shown up in the Hume Region Significant Tracks and Trails Strategy 2013-203 – draft, and the North Central News item “Trails missing link” in October last year.