THE economic benefits for the Corner Inlet district are expected to be substantial as thousands of cyclists ride through on the 2017 Great Victorian Bike Ride in 12 months’ time.
The ride will begin at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National Park on Saturday November 25, with riders setting off on the Sunday for Foster, where they will spend the night before riding onto Yarram the next day.
The route for the following year’s ride is traditionally revealed the evening before the rest day, and so it was that last Wednesday night, as riders on the 2016 GVBR from the Grampians to Geelong stopped at Apollo Bay, Gippsland was announced as the venue for the 2017 ride.
Next year’s 34th edition of the RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride will be the first one to visit the Prom.
Bicycle Network General Manager of Events, Rebecca Lane, said the ride is an incredible opportunity for riders to experience the very best of Gippsland.
“We can’t wait to visit Wilsons Promontory and Gippsland. It will be the first time the RACV Great Vic has been to Tidal River, which is really exciting for riders, and we’re grateful for the support of Parks Victoria who have helped make this happen,” said Ms Lane.
“The RACV Great Vic is known for visiting Victoria’s most beautiful landmarks and towns and 2017 will be no exception. With Wilsons Prom and Ninety Mile Beach just some of the gems, it will not be one to miss.”
From Yarram, cyclists will ride onto Seaspray and then onto Bairnsdale, where they will enjoy a rest day, before heading onto Maffra, Glengarry and finally Trafalgar on Sunday December 3.
The GVBR has been running since 1984 and attracts between 2000 and 8000 riders each year. Organisers estimate that on average each rider injects $35 per day into local economies.
The ride passed through Gippsland in 2012, but the last occasion it came to Foster was the ‘Waves to Caves’ ride in 2007. The route went from Phillip Island to Buchan and Foster was fortunate enough to be the venue for the rest day – so riders stayed here for two nights and had a whole day exploring the local district, in many cases spending money in the local economy. For many it was their first visit and they were so taken with the beauty of the area they made plans to return, bringing their families.
“Riders love getting to know different parts of Victoria, sampling local produce and dropping into restaurants, pubs and cafes, and we have no doubt they’ll love the local Gippsland hospitality,” added Ms Lane.
John Davies, the president of the Foster Chamber of Commerce, said it was great news that next year’s ride will be starting at the Prom and spending a night at Foster. “It brings a new generation of people to see what the Corner Inlet district has to offer,” he said. “There is the potential for all sorts of local businesses – from accommodation to transport – to benefit.”