Bendigo's pedal power hits web

BENDIGO’S Jason Stirling might have tired legs after riding across Victoria, but his joint project, the Cycle Atlas, will come to fruition this week after months of mapping the best and most popular bike routes across the state.

Mr Stirling wants to see more Australians riding bikes so has co-created the free online guide with Melbourne-based David Fletcher. 

The pair have spent months developing the site and cycling more than 3000 kilometres to test and recommend 50 routes. 

The  guide features rides from 5km to 180km and includes colour-coded difficulty ratings, photos, videos and even recommended cafes so the rider can know exactly what each ride is like. 

“To select the rides, we’ve basically drawn on the knowledge of friends and other cyclists all over Victoria and asked them to give us their favourite places to ride,” he said. 

“Over the last three months we have travelled all over Victoria to the majority of those places to test the rides for ourselves.

“We’ve still got a long way to go though, so we need people to send in their own favourite rides and add to the collection.”

Mr Stirling said Bendigo had many premier rides, including the Bendigo Creek Trail for casual riders and the Mount Alexander Loop for those wanting more of a workout.

Mr Stirling first discovered cycling while at university, where he said he spent more time on his bike than he did in class. 

He said it was an obvious step to share his passion for the sport.

“Cycling is such an amazing sport because of the camaraderie, the good health and the greener planet it creates,” he said. 

“The project itself came about when we realised that finding the best places to ride isn’t as easy as it should be. 

“Unless you know someone who cycles locally or you can somehow get hold of an old cycling guide, there is no easy way to find a ride that suits you.”

And the pair’s passion goes deeper than just a love of sport – with an aim to create a better society for all. 

“With complex problems such as obesity, mental health issues and climate change hampering our society, cycling seems to be an obvious resolution,” Mr Stirling said. 

The guide will be launched in Melbourne tomorrow at 6pm at the Great Provider on the St Kilda Marina.

To view the site, go to cycleatlasproject.com

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