Gippsland was one of the worst hit regions of Victoria during the bushfires of 2019/20. 1.5m hectares of Victoria burned, destroying 405 homes and 653 other structures all following three and a half years of drought.
The fires, thought to have started in November by lightning strikes took a devastating three months to contain due to the uncontrollable spread and the harsh Australian summer conditions.
Once contained, the nightmare didn’t end there, as almost as soon as local businesses and residents began the process of recovery and getting back on their feet in March, the blow of Covid-19 came. At a critical time where the communities needed tourism and support most, suddenly this was stripped away as the pandemic isolation protocols ran their course.
Following the recent loosening of restrictions and return to some normality, now is the time that Gippsland and its affected communities need the support of visitors to help local economies, keep small businesses afloat and aid their road to recovery. Travelling to these communities is now more important than ever before.
BIKE FOR BUSHFIRES
We are incredibly excited to be contributing by delivering our first Bike for Bushfires experience in Bairnsdale, Gippsland late July. The extended weekend experience, hosted by Stuart O’Grady, supported by our team and Factor Bikes Australia, will have guests staying in the heart of Bairnsdale at The Riversleigh, cycling through affected areas and enjoying amazing food and wine from local establishments.
Bairnsdale and surrounding communities was significantly affected by the bushfires and the Covid-19 hit. Renowned for being a commercial hub and the gateway to the stunning Gippsland lakes, coastline and high country, it marks the perfect location to hold what we expect will be an incredible weekend of cycling, wining and dining, meeting new friends and supporting local.
CYCLING IN GIPPSLAND
The Gippsland region is a real cyclist’s playground, encompassing everything from beaches, to farmland, mountains and picturesque lakes.
On tour, we’ll be riding through the many fire affected areas of the region and will include a mix of scenic routes through the Snowy River ranges and Eastern Coastline. The perfect combination of challenging mountainous terrain, to rolling country roads.
We’ll be staying at boutique Victorian-style hotel, The Riversleigh, located in the heart of Bairnsdale on a quiet street over-looking the Mitchell River. The historic hotel, was established as early as 1886 and has now been elegantly refurbished to add the perfect modern touch.
The Riverseigh is obviously greatly reliant on visitors and tourists, so has been hugely impacted by the recent turn of events late 2019-2020.
“My husband Adrian and I have owned and operated the Riversleigh in Bairnsdale for the past seven years. The Riversleigh is a boutique hotel that we renovated to bring back to its former glory.
The last 6 months have been extremely difficult. Firstly with the tragic bushfires that ravaged East Gippsland and then just when things were starting to be a bit more positive, we were all hit with the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have implemented a COVID-safe plan and feel very confident we are doing everything to keep our staff and clients safe during these unprecedented times and look forward to welcoming guests back to our wonderful region”.
– Rachel Bromage, Manager at The Riversleigh, Bairnsdale
We are thrilled to be staying at the Riversleigh late July and hope our small bit of support will help them on their road to recovery.
LIGHTFORD & SONS WINES
Lightfoot & Sons is a family owned and operated vineyard, winery and cellar door in the Gippsland Lakes district, specialising in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Shiraz.
Stunningly located, between the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and Bass Strait, over Limestone soil structure. The cellar door views showcase incredible views of the vineyard and Lindenow Valley.
Lightford & Sons are now also on the comeback trail following recent events. We look forward to visiting their vineyard for a gourmet lunch, some divine local cheese and a drop of vino or two following a big day on the pedals on day two of our Bike for Bushfires, Bairnsdale experience.
LET’S GET BAIRNSDALE BUSTLING
Bairnsdale is packed with a selection of great restaurants, bars and cafes. To add to our specifically listed places, we’ll be making an effort to visit a number of local hotspots throughout the tour. Guests will also have down-time to explore and spend local if they so desire. From that second morning coffee run, to pre-dinner beers and beyond.
HOSTED BY STUEY O’GRADY
The trip will be hosted by Mummu Cycling’s very own Stuart O’Grady. As a 17-time Tour de France rider, 4- time Olympian and Paris-Roubaix Champion, Stuey will share his experience and expertise by leading our rides, sharing stories and advice along the way, as well as hosting exclusive dinners with the group.
“What an incredibly crazy year it’s been! I’ve never been so excited about riding my bike, exploring new areas and discovering new roads with my friends.
Bikes for Bushfires see’s us ticking a few boxes along the way.
Getting in some great rides in fantastic locations around Australia which were all heavily affected by the fires, while at the same time spending dollars in the local areas, supporting local Aussie businesses.
Now that Europe and the rest of the World is “Off limits” for a while, what a brilliant way to discover our own backyard by bike with some friends and enjoy some great food & wine along the way!”
– Stuart O’Grady
BACKED BY OUR TEAM & FACTOR BIKES AUSTRALIA
The tour will be backed by Mummu Cycling’s expert team of guides and staff. From transfers, to full daily ride support, expert mechanical assistance and advice, all in conjunction with Factor Bikes Australia.