North East Victoria Cycle Salute is a multi-event cycling extravaganza that kicks off the cycling season for 2013/14 in the Alpine area, with more than 50 events for riders of all types and abilities from Beechworth, Benalla, Mansfield and Rutherglen all the way through to Wangaratta, Falls Creek, Harrietville and Yackandandah. It runs from 18 October to 5 November 2013 (Melbourne Cup Day), and literally has something for everyone.
If you want to feel like you've earned your glass of red, 'Navigate the Vines' at the Indigo Vineyard in Beechworth might be for you.
There are lots of events for families and kids, and actually most of the program seems to be targeted at this group rather than hard-core cyclists. The Dinner Plain Alpine MTB Funduro is a 3-hour endurance event for families that focuses on participation rather than winning, and gives everyone a chance to get familiar with the lovely village of Dinner Plain with the local bike club.
You've probably never heard of the town of Swanpool (I hadn't until I started driving on the Midland Link Highway regularly). This town near Mansfield has a old 50s cinema, and during Cycle Salute they are hosting the Cycling on Celluloid event, where you can cycle from Benalla to Swanpool then settle down for the afternoon or evening to watch cycling movies.
Mountain bike riders are catered for with a variety of rides
There are even a couple of unicycleevents, if you prefer one wheel to two.
If you don't feel confident riding but want to join in the fun, there are also a couple of 'multi-modal' events, such as the Ned Kelly Chase, which is a 100 km run/walk/cycle loop starting at Wangaratta, travelling along the Murray to Gapsted, then along the Snow road to Milawa and back to Wangaratta.
Or you could be part of history (maybe!) at the Rutherglen Record Ride, which is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest line of bikes.
And what I've listed is just a small sample of what's on offer - it's well worth checking the website to find out what's going on.
Every event is listed on the Cycle Salute website, which includes information about the cost of each event, the riding skill required, and contact details for the organising body if you want more information.
Bikes and beautiful views...hard to resist!
There are also plenty of places to hire a bike if you don't own one, or you can take advantage of the shuttle bus service that will be running in some areas during the event.
This event looks like a really fun way to get to know one of the
most beautiful and cycle friendly parts of Victoria, particularly the smaller towns that have so much to offer but so often are places we just whiz by on the way to somewhere else.