SO-called soft cyclists, who prefer leisurely rides to lycra, are the target for bus runs which will service the North East’s rail trails over the next three weekends.
As part of the North East Cycle Salute, buses will transport riders along the High Country Rail Trail (Wodonga to Corryong) and the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail (Wangaratta to Beechworth and Gapsted to Bright) at various times.
Tourism North East public relations manager Sally Brown said the buses were designed to extend the appeal of the trails.
“We are looking to reach a broader market,” Ms Brown said.
“We already cater well to the professional road cyclists, people at the enthusiast level, but we’re aiming to offer an experience to what we call soft cyclists, those who aren’t in their lycra.”
Ms Brown said a feasibility study would monitor bus passenger numbers to determine whether there was a long-term demand for the service which starts today.
The salute features an array of events with other activities including unicycle lessons and a ride around Beechworth vegetable patches.
Wangaratta’s Cafe Derailleur operator Eric Bittner will teach unicycling on each of the next four Fridays for those keen on a new skill.
“It’s something a little bit different and a bit of a challenge and I’m always up for a challenge,” Mr Bittner said.
“My wife and daughter bought it for me for Father’s Day a few years ago and bought me three unicycle lessons with a friend’s son who was 11.
“It’s like yoga in that you’ve got to focus on the here and now — otherwise you fall off.”
Beechworth’s inaugural Patch to Patch Pedal and Precinct will be held tomorrow from 9am to 3pm.
Organiser Charlie Showers said the event, which is the idea of the Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability Group, would allow cyclists to ride between 10 backyard vegetable patches.
The ride will start at the former Beechworth railway station.
More details about the bus tours and various events are available online at cyclesalute.com.au.