Locals lend a hand for classic

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 17-Nov-2017

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Cyclists ahead of the inaugural classic.
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How do you convince local riders to pay to cycle on roads they use for free?

This was one of the biggest questions for the Bendigo Cycling Classic organising committee. 

It seems the answer lay in the ability to offer a ride where all of the entry fees were donated to charity.

Bendigo’s first recreational charity cycling event for local community did just that and was a huge success, raising well over $20,000 for our chosen charities: Give Me 5 for Kids and The OTIS Foundation.

It started on a ride through Bendigo’s picturesque countryside, when a passionate group of community-minded cyclists discussed the need for a public, recreational ride for charity in Bendigo. 

Other regional cities had successfully done this and the group felt it was time that one was added to the Bendigo sporting calendar. 

Thus, a committee was formed, and they teamed up with two local charities to develop the Bendigo Cycling Classic.

Historically, different groups had tried to organise these events in Bendigo, however the point of difference this time was the focus on local people working with local charities, showcasing the local area, which is perfect for cycling. 

The committee wanted to donate all the entry fees to the charities, but that meant getting enough sponsors on board to cover the costs of staging the event.

Being a part of Bendigo’s cycling community, the committee spoke to local cycling groups and bike shops for advice and were thrilled when they jumped on board and began spreading the word. 

It was great local buy-in and showcased Bendigo’s willingness to support a community event for charity.

With the City of Greater Bendigo and Southern Cross Austereo as partners, it wasn’t long before GJ Gardner Homes confirmed their involvement as major sponsor. 

The newly-formed committee knew then that they had the momentum and support required to put on a fantastic event. 

Further sponsors followed giving time and dollars toward local charities.

Every one of the volunteers on the organising committee dedicated many hours in and around work and family commitments to pull the event together. 

The initial committee consisted of an accountant, a project manager, a couple of marketing gurus and a few keen cyclists.

But it soon opened up to include a network of colleagues and friends and eventually comprised an army of about 50 volunteers for the first Bendigo Cycling Classic.

– Geoff O’Sullivan

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