Just who is going cycle touring anyway?

Perhaps the most visible cyclists in Australia these days are the ones in bright primary colours, whooshing along city roads on the weekend in packs of shining bikes and hi tech clothing in bright primary colours. Or on long intercity drives, you occasionally pass one or two heavily loaded bikes tooling along the edge, often with an international flag symbol on the back, the riders looking determined and occasionally cheerful.

My experience as a tour operator is quite different! Overall, I see more women than men coming on tours: the average age is somewhere between 50 and 60, while the cycling attire and bikes accompanying their range from hi tech to beloved. I also see a steadily increasing number of families looking for a safe fun active holiday that makes looking at a screen very difficult.

Cyclists on rail trails however, are of course not particularly visible to the general public. Rail Trails slip through the country side keeping their distance from the main roads, often discreetly shielded by a corridor of trees or out of line of sight in a cutting. The trails often pass through small towns and villages, rather than major towns, and even if they do, groups of cyclists are more likely to be drawn to a small cafe on the outskirts, or a shady park than parading in the main street.

So discreet are rail trails in fact, that it can make the cyclists on them difficult to see, which is perhaps why I not infrequently have people express surprise that rail trails even exist in Australia, or am told that rail trail cyclists are a very small, very niche group of cyclists - or even why a wide ranging study of attitudes to cycle holidays in Victoria found that France was better known as a cycling destination than Victoria.

So come and be a part of a growing number of people, of all ages shapes and sizes that are discovering the simple joy of getting on a bike and riding it through the countryside, enjoying good food, and good company while doing so. And come and do it in Gippsland!