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Victoria's 2013 Great Ocean Ride expected to sell out fast

Alia Parker's picture
Cycling the Great Ocean Road on the Great Victorian Bike Ride. Cycle Traveller via Bicycle Network Victoria.

This year's RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride is expected to sell out fast as one of the largest supported bicycle tours in the world returns to the Great Ocean Road in celebration of its 30th anniversary.

“The Great Ocean Road has always been the best and most popular of the Great Victorian Bike Ride events,” Bicycle Network Victoria spokesperson Garry Brennan told Cycle Traveller. “We go on the Great Ocean Road every four years roughly and it's not always an identical route. The towns that we stop in change from year to year.”

Mr Brennan said this year's ride, which will take place over nine days from November 23 to December 1, will start in Mount Gambier and run 610km to Geelong. It is the first time in the history of the ride that a route has entered South Australia.

Cyclists along the Great Ocean Raod. Cycle Traveller via Bicycle Network Victoria.“Riding the Great Ocean Road is always a highlight,” Mr Brennan said of the normally busy road. He said that while road cyclist often followed the route, the Great Vic Ride was a chance for ordinary riders – from primary school-aged kids to those in their late 80s – to cycle one of the most spectacular roads in the country.

Those hoping to secure a spot in the 2013 Great Ocean Ride are warned not to be complacent; the last time Bicycle Network Victoria took the ride along the spectacular coastal route in 2009, tickets sold out in 38 days. And in 2004, before the ride was capped at a maximum of 5,000 riders, the route attracted a record 8,100 participants.

Entries will open to Bicycle Network members on Monday May 13 and open to the general public a week later on Monday May 20. Mr Brennan said premium packages, which include tent set-up, are generally the first to sell out. There will be 5,000 places available for the nine-day ride, with an additional 1,000 tickets released for those who would like to be involved in the shorter ride options, which include one-day and three-day rides. A standard adult entry for the full nine days will cost $895.

Mr Brennan said the Great Vic is a fully supported camping event, although a limited number of rooms are available through private operators.

Cycling the Great Ocean Road. Cycle Traveller via Bicycle Network Victoria“You don't carry anything on your bike,” he said. “We go to sporting fields or public facilities of some kind where we can have thousands of people sleep in tents, where we can set up all our catering and entertainment, bars, medical centre; everything that a group of 5,000 people needs is set up on site each day and then it gets pulled down and moved to the next town. We set up a whole town, so it's a town on the move.”

About 2,100 riders took part in the first Great Victorian Bike Ride from Wodonga to Melbourne back in 1983. It was only expected to be a one-off event, but the popularity of the ride from day one has seen it not only become an annual staple, but an increasingly popular one.

Interested cyclists can find more information on the Great Ocean Ride website. Entry forms will be available on the site from Monday May 13.

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