Just like the Tour de France devotees in the French Alps, Don and Heather Atkins provided some enthusiastic support for riders at Mount Misery during the Bass Coast Cycle Challenge.

THE Bass Coast Shire’s reputation as the regional cycling hub of Victoria received a shot in the arm on Saturday with the successful running of the second Bass Coast Cycle Challenge. The event attracted 360 riders, 80 up from last year, and they took part in the 121km, 85km, 53km or 42km rides. One of the organisers, Gavin Slavin from the Bass Coast Barracudas was thrilled with the result and predicted the event would continue to grow in coming years. “We’ve had a really good turn out from riders from the local areas and Melbourne, even people holidaying here from Queensland and South Australia. “The weather last year was shocking so it’s good so many people have come back. “We’ve also had more family entries this year which is great.” Gavin was also impressed with the level of support from the local business community, service clubs and the SES. “The Red Elk Cafe opened up early and Foodworks have been great. “Wheel Heat in Wonthaggi is providing mechanical support out on the course with a couple of support vehicles making sure everything’s OK, while Crossover Cycles have donated $1000 in prizes.” The event raises funds for a driver and cycling safety program which will be run at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, and involve students from Newhaven College and Wonthaggi Secondary College. It’s run by Road Safety Education and has the support of the RACV and carservice.com “It’s about building relationships between drivers and bike riders. “We want to develop the concept to the point where you’d have signs as you drive into the area that says ‘Bass Coast, home of safe cycling’. “We want the area to be known as somewhere that is safe for cyclists.” The event raised $10,000 for that purpose, and also for local service clubs and the SES who supported the event. Saturday’s ‘Challenge’ was just a taste of what’s to come next week when the Great Victorian Bike Ride rolls into the area. Some 4000 riders will pedal through the Bass Coast Shire, stopping at San Remo where the nine-day tour through Gippsland will conclude.