History notes Whitehorse Cyclists Inc 1991 -2005
In the last quarter of 1991, it was probably in October, a joint determination between the Box Hill Council and Bicycle Victoria resulted in the formation of the Box Hill Bicycle
Users Group (Box Hill BUG). This was clearly the result of a lot of work done by various people in the months preceding the occasion. Mal Boyd and Robin Friday are frequently mentioned by early members of the club. Mal was an active member and was elected as the club’s first President in January of 1993. Robin Friday was a Box Hill Councillor with an active interest in cycling, who remained involved with bicycle strategy bodies on Box Hill’s behalf. The club’s initial objectives were:
- Advocacy of the bicycle as a healthy form of transport and ensuring that local planners kept the interests of the cyclists in mind when considering planning activities.
- Promotion of cycling through the organisation of group rides.
The club became affiliated with the leading cycling group, Bicycle Victoria. The group met monthly in a very informal way at a Community House in Bank Street, Box Hill. The activities and discussions centred on group rides and bicycle maintenance. Rides were held at the weekend, at a frequency of just one per fortnight with a membership around 12 in 1992.
In January 1993 the Box Hill BUG was put on a more formal footing with the election of an executive; Mal Boyd as Chairman or President and Mike McNamara as Secretary. Mike had joined the club in March 1992 and was doubtless one of the enthusiasts who kept the small group interested. Meetings were moved to the 2nd Tuesday of the month and help and support came from Jenny McInnes who had been appointed to a part time position with Box Hill Council as cycling coordinator. Jenny attended some of the meetings and was in a position to state Club concerns to council effectively. Other names that surface at this time include Alex Tolley, Ron and Dawn Bean and Grace Giannini. Rides became a more regular event (always at the weekend) with a New Members ride (Sunday), designed to promote confidence in the new cyclists. There was a gradual growth in membership and the need for a new meeting venue became apparent. The club moved its meetings to Clota Cottage in Clota Ave. Box Hill in 1993.A significant event in this year was a meeting held in the Box Hill Town Hall, hosted by Box Hill BUG for all Eastern Region BUG’s. This occurred in August and marked an important start the club’s relationship with Bicycle Victoria and Box Hill Council. These two organizations had established Box Hill BUG and encouraged their activities; Box Hill BUG now repaid that with advice and first hand experience that was to assist in making the municipality a bicycle friendly environment. Mal Boyd attended bicycle committee meetings representing the club view and canvassing opinions on new plans.
And the ride was long and tough
But six brave souls undaunted
Found it still was not enough……..The poem goes on to tell of the ride up Gellibrand Hill and on to Greenvale dam, this was Elsa Teal’s last ride before travelling to Europe and getting into her solo ride through Austria to Vienna. This ride was a feature of a club meeting and an account of that journey turns up in the October edition.The club becomes more than an association of cyclists, it starts developing into a community of individuals that care for each other. There are differences, but essentially Whitehorse BUG has developed at this stage into a vibrant group of people who care about their community, cycling, health and the environment. They get involved with the Whitehorse Family Fun Ride; they go out to Warburton for the official handover of the Yarra Trail to the community by Marie Tehan. If there are bicycles involved, they are there.
In November of 1996, Elaine Hopper and Grace Giannini unveiled the Club Website and we enter the internet age of communication. This was an important event in the communications and publicity of events and rides for people inside and out of the Whitehorse cycling family. While no figures are available, this step forward into the electronic age made a significant contribution to recruitment of members for the organization.
Day rides to ADA and Donna
Wangaratta the weekend through,
Check the Whitehorse Wheels calendar
There are many rides for you!
The whole report is expressed in verse. Mike McNamara’s 50th is celebrated with a winery tour of the Mornington Peninsula as a special way of ending 1998.
Simon Woodford at the helm
Simon Woodford took over the reins from John Bennett who probably didn’t notice as he was busy getting married. The February edition of Whitehorse Wheels gives an account of the happy occasion penned by Ken Rushford. Simon’s first concern is a suitable meeting venue as our booking at Box Hill community centre is somehow scrambled and the 2nd Tuesday is no longer available to WCI. There are discussions of changing the night for meetings, but this was rejected in favour of meeting in the Scout Hall on the corner of Alexander St and Surrey Drive. This was a facility with plenty of room (bikes could be ridden indoors), however, the cold of winter was harsh, despite the fact that often a thoughtful member would come early and light the fire to give the room more welcoming warmth. Meetings were held in this spacious venue for the remainder of 1999. The Flinders Island tour goes as planned and Marion gives us an account in the April Issue. 14 riders fly from Moorabbin to stay at the Flinders Interstate Hotel and to spend 6 days exploring the varying textures of road surface and the interesting folk tales and customs of a local population that regard Tasmania as the “mainland”. Marion pointed out that Mike made for a benevolent Captain Bligh, the careful attention to detail by Keith Maytum was also much appreciated by the participants. The Club voted for Public Liability Insurance at $370/pa. This was seen as a substantial cost per member and comparisons with the experience of other sporting clubs and associations were used to justify the expenditure. In June the members were polled through the Newsletter to gauge interest in a multi day ride in either the North or South Island of New Zealand and the East or West coasts of Tasmania. The poll favours a tour of the NZ North Island and an Auckland to Wellington trip is organised for March 2000. Bob and Marion Winton organise an Around the Bay training squad with up to 14 members training for the big October day. Rides such as the Westernport Whirl around Westernport Bay is used to condition the participants for the 210 Km ride. Club shirts are introduced by Bob Winton & John Bennett to distinguish the team from WCI. The Ride goes well, despite a nasty head wind on the Geelong Road, there are no untoward punctures or incidents marring the determination of the participants to be exhausted. A support group from the club is on hand to give comfort and positive reinforcement to the riders who survive heroically to later speak with pride of their individual achievements.
The Annual Dinner of 1999 was held at the Orient Expresso. The account of the evening oozes fun and fellowship. Marion and Elaine present awards for the years riding. Mike McNamara is MC and keeps the assembly entertained with a repartee of jokes and anecdotes. Max Greenall is awarded the Burke and Wills award for boldly going against all the advice of his betters in things practical, Elsa receives the Green Post award for writing to the council concerned and asking that they remove a post on a bike path as it was a hazard to cyclists. The post concerned was duly removed.
Engagements for Nuptials are announced in January for Ruth and Rob, and in February Bridget and Peter. Both Couples are married in April.
18 members take off for the land of the Long White Cloud and a great experience. The trip through the North Island provides a wide variety of weather conditions and brilliant scenic views with Ruapehu, Taupo and the hot springs area providing them with more variety than Heinz ever dreamed of.
While the NZ tourists are away, Kevin Hossack describes an ingenious construction of a homemade cycle lamp housed in a tow ball cover; for the handyman cyclist who does not want to pay the outlandish prices demanded in cycle shops. The circumnavigation of Westernport is repeated after the first attempt finds that the ferry from Stony Point to Cowes is not running, but the ADA tree ride was cancelled due to adverse road conditions. The 2000 year ends with a ride from the Woodend Bakery to Hanging Rock and the now customary Ivanhoe Boulevard Xmas Lights ride.
May sees 21 people on the winery tour to Springhurst, Rutherglen, Wahgunyah and Chiltern. A van follows the intrepid cyclists to collect the purchases and riders who have tasted too enthusiastically. The weather is a touch cold with some wet periods but all agree the trip worthwhile. Pat Dixon, a club stalwart who worked with Ken Rushford to introduce mid week rides passes away in June after a protracted illness. In August, the club lost another member with the passing of Bill Morgan who had been a member since the beginning. Bill was a long standing member of the Box Hill Bicycle Strategy committee and was a source of good advice when the club was incorporating.
5 WCI members participate in the Around the Bay with 12 members acting as the all important volunteers.
Max celebrates his birthday by missing the train taking him to the Monbulk Ride because he is too absorbed by the pretty young thing on Laburnum Station. At Belgrave Station on his way home the ticket machine swallows his money without providing the ticket, Max gives the station staff a piece of his mind and forgets that the train now leaving the station, has his bike on it. Undeterred our member sprints to the front of the train threatens the driver till he stops the train. You would think that there are not very many of us that would “celebrate” a birthday that way.
ODE TO THE WEST COAST
It rained and rained and rained
The average fall was well maintained
And when the tracks were simply bogs
It started raining cats and dogs
After a drought of half an hour
We had a most refreshing shower
And then the most curious thing of all
A gentle rain began to fall
Next day was also fairly dry
Save for a deluge from the sky
This wetted the party to the skin
And after that the rain set in.
In the process of an application to council for a subsidy for room rental at the community centre, the executive of the club put together a Mission Statement for the group:
- To organise and participate in bike rides
- To provide a forum for friendly discussion of bicycle matters
- To work with authorities to improve safe cycling
- To co-operate with like minded bodies to further the interests of cycling
- To encourage members of the community to undertake cycling for exercise, recreation and transportation
An Around the Bay in Two Days is organised by Simon for the end of June as an “end of financial year special” In July a flyer is released canvassing interest in an AUSTRIAN ADVENTURE for August or September 2003. This is promoted by Kevin Hossack and includes the famous Salzkammergut of Sound of Music fame.
Ken Rushford plans a Murray to Mountains Rail trail ride for December, Darby organises a Festive Season Tag-a-long tour over four days and that along with the Christmas Lights ride ends the year’s group rides.
- Invite a friend ride
- Euro/ France Tour
- Buddy System Ride
- Country Rides
- Rides with other Clubs
- Progressive Lunch Ride
At the end of February Elsa and Keith led two successive group tours over to Tasmania. Again a successful set of tours marred only by a fall which meant that Val had to come home early. Salamanca Place let the 2nd party down by providing a downpour when they were there. Jacques provided a workshop on chain care in his garage and Robin Reid led a ride down to Westernport to explore the fabulous boardwalk through the tidal wetlands around Hastings.
The May meeting canvassed the idea of another WCI ride shirt with Lee-Anne getting information on the subject, she presents the draft drawings and seeks input at the July meeting and the design is posted to the website. The shirts are provided to 26 happy recipients at the September meeting who proudly have a collective photo taken.
With Thursday rides becoming well attended and faster, the first Tuesday Easy rides are introduced to help new and returning riders to participate in a week day ride at a slower pace, for about 30 Km.
The club accepts a Ride Guide which is available to all members and is mailed to all new members.
The Annual Dinner is held at the Mitcham Hotel accompanied by incriminating photos of members in the 2004 rides. Bruce Easton leads a 4 day visit to the Bendigo area in October and the now regular Round the Bay in Two days in November.
Again the club concludes another year stronger than it was the previous year. It has a full schedule of some 9 rides every month with a healthy sprinkling of multi-day rides in interesting locations. In addition 2 groups went to Tasmania and another NZ tour is on the drawing boards for 2005.
150 rides for the year, a NZ tour and 5 multi day rides, Whitehorse Cyclists again set standards that few recreational cycling clubs can match. The number of members who are involved in leading and organizing rides is high.
Mike McKay has been using the past editions of Whitehorse Wheels and information available from members such as Ken Rushford, Mike McNamara, Alec Dean and Elaine Hopper, to assemble an account of the history of our Cycling club. These notes were originally published monthly in the club newsletters edited by Mike in 2007