As 2021 gets underway and the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the COVID lock-down approaches, it is appropriate that I report to you about this organisation’s response.
Given many of our riders are on the plus side of the promised three score and ten, and with health challenges, your committee were left with little option but to suspend our operations.
In the now nearly 12 months since then, risk levels may have fluctuated, however at no point has it been safe to contemplate running a full group ride cycling event. Individual riders have continued to get out there, and some of our sub-groups have been able to manage local group outings. Planning however, for when we are able to contemplate an official VetRide event has not ceased, including some preliminary discussion with Bicycle Network, around the possibility of a jointly, veteran and public, commemorative ride, during the Anzac day period. As an example:
… and in the morning you will remember them;
as you ride with the spirit of Anzac
As dawn breaks and in the light of the Eternal Flame, your day will start from the Victorian home of commemoration, the Shrine of Melbourne.
Warming up as you head along Birdwood Avenue, the cavalcade of pedal will pass by Simpson and his Donkey, the Memorial to Silence, the Drivers and Wipers Memorial, Edward Honey and Edith Cavell Memorials, before saluting John Monash and the entry to Government House.
After finishing back at the Shrine, you will have the opportunity to ….
In terms of our continuing support for current serving and younger veterans, we have also commenced talks with some of the previous organisers of the Soldier On Cycling group. This was a nationwide group of riders numbering in the hundreds, and I am pleased to report that their approach is much the same as ours, in that they are keen to rejuvenate their activities in unison with VetRide.
To our North our VetRide Queensland group continue to be active and some interstate collaboration is being undertaken as they formulate plans to enlarge their membership. The Federal Member for the Townsville area is a veteran, Phillip Thompson OAM MP and his kind offer of assistance will be relevant, for contact with the military bases in his Townsville area electorate; and beyond.
There are three current serving members on our committee and we rely upon their expertise, with regard to relevant strategic planning for the future. One suggestion has been that we engage more substantially with mountain biking; and with that in mind some investigations have begun into the possibility of an event to be run at Lysterfield Park. I have made initial contact with the Lysterfield District Trail Riders (LDTR), who maintain the many trails there, host events, rides and training etc.
Lysterfield Park contains some natural bush and forest that was the common landscape for much of the Melbourne area before white settlement. Lysterfield Lake was used to supply fresh water to the Mornington Peninsula before the construction of Cardinia Reservoir in 1975. The Park is a significant area for an amazing variety of birdlife – 172 species recorded – attracted by the different types of food and environments provided by the woodlands, forest, lake and grassy open spaces. There are ten trails (see Trailforks) totalling 20km in the park, ranging from 200m to 6.3km they vary from easy to extremely difficult. Track surfaces vary with hardened surface and widely variable and unpredictable natural features and terrain.
Under the rules of Incorporation we are required to hold an Annual General Meeting, which for us would normally have been held at the end of 2020. Because of COVID we have not yet conducted the AGM, however have applied to Consumer Affairs Victoria for an extension, and pursuant to the rules, our Secretary will advise of the date in due course.
In the interim, we await progress upon the roll out of the vaccine and the presumed accompanying safe environment, for the holding of group activities. Until then, please let your committee know of your thoughts, and any suggestions you may have for the future.
Peter Liefman OAM BA LLB
VetRide Incorporated President