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Epilogue, GVBR

This is the fourth Great Victorian Bike Ride that I have completed. The first, along the Great Ocean Road, was in 1991 with Cheryl from work, John, Krista in a bike seat (and Tim in utero). The ride was an exciting challenge for us, and we focussed almost entirely on the riding and the scenery, keeping almost entirely to ourselves (and staying at a number of motels in deference to my pregnant state).We enjoyed the experience enormously, although we (especially John) were a bit ambivalent about the crowds. We realise that you can't have the support level (food, water, rest stops, marshalls, paramedics etc) without the crowds, but it is always a bit of a tension.

In 1992, we had a bigger group to ride with: Cheryl and Cathy from work and Cheryl's Aunty Margaret, a fit and healthy older woman who had never ridden a bike further than the local shops before training for the ride. It was good to share the ride with a bigger group, but again we stuck pretty much to ourselves and enjoyed the riding and scenery enroute from Natimuk via Mansfield to Melbourne. Although we really enjoyed meeting Aunty Margaret, we (the Wise-Cassells) haven't seen her since.

Last year, Krista and I tackled the Great Ocean Road together, and it was a really wonderful experience (at least for me as a mother). The scenery was beautiful, the riding was sometimes challenging but mostly pleasant, and at the end of the day, we could enjoy the beach and the beachside atmosphere. I found the evenings a bit limited because I didn't really know anyone to hang out with after Krista went to bed. We met up with Lynne (who I met on Around the Bay) and her family later in the ride and it was certainly a pleasure to have some other people to share the end of the day with and to ride with and to link up with occasionally.

This year, Krista and I decided to go again, and fortuitously her friend Sophie was also going with her Dad. Sophie had another friend Nicola who was also going with her Dad. The ride itself was the hardest I've done, and the destination towns did not have the same appeal to teenagers as the beach towns along the Great Ocean Road, but Krista certainly appreciated having her own peer group to mix with during the ride and at the end of the day, and I really enjoyed the adult company to hang out with. David and Tim and I did not really know each other prior to the ride, so being tied together by our kids, we had that rare opportunity for a passing casual acquaintance to develop into a more meaningful, ongoing set of shared riding, parenting and eating experiences.

Hopefully next year, we can tackle the ride with a bigger family group including Lindell and John and (little) Tim, along with sundry other friends for all of us, so that the network of people with whom we have some connection expands sufficiently to afford the opportunity for ongoing friendships with new people within the context of existing friendships. This is something that didn't really happen on the first three rides, because the people we rode with were close friends already (or as with Lynne, the age of the kids was too disparate to have meaning outside of the ride itself) and so we stuck pretty much to ourselves. This year we also had a small entourage which stuck to itself but it was linked entirely by knowing Sophie, and so for the rest of us, it was an excellent chance to make new friends in addition to enjoying the ride itself. Thanks Sophie :-)

Epi-epilogue - I went in 2002 with some friends from work after Krista and the Greens pulled out for various reasons. I had a ball, but it was a totally different sort of experience.