Friday, March 29, 2013

Launching the Torquay TrailRider

Bells Beach surf in the background. State MP Andrew Katos
in the suit and Lucille Marks in the chair
 (Photo: Kerry Petty) 
On Wednesday 27th April, the Bells Beach surfing tournament was deserted because of the weather. Amidst the temporary structures built  for the surfing audience the Torquay TrailRider was launched. 

This is the fifth in Australia and the first that will be available in the midst of a place where people live. Along the coast from Torquay is the Surf Coast Walk and the beautiful Otways National Park.

In the words of the guest of honour, MP Andrew Katos, so many opportunities to "connect with nature"

Pick it up from the Torquay Sport and Recreation Centre. (Directory

Friday, March 22, 2013

Volunteer Sherpas (desperately) needed

I have been spoiled where Sherpas are concerned. My young, fit, healthy and above all generous family have taken me to some extraordinary places. So this week in the Grampians, with total access to their TrailRider but only two "uprights" has been a novel experience. We have really, really needed to be able to tap into some kind of volunteer network.

All dressed up and nowhere to go. Bellfield Reservoir
with Sam,and Rachel taking the picture! For interesting
TrailRiding you need more than two Sherpas

In this region it turns out that Gilda McKechnie, the local Rural Access Worker has been putting up posters to solicit helpers but we didn't know in advance and there have only been three offers solicited anyway. We considered sneakily hijacking the crew who take Kelly out one a week (to her great delight!) and in the end have a generous offer from Blake at the Brambuk Cafe but it is all happenstance.

What is needed, statewide, is a network of fit outdoorsy types who love the idea of sometimes being a Sherpa, do it from time to time, learn the ropes, and who, above all can  be contacted in advance by someone who is contemplating an outing.

This sounds like it needs a co-ordinator. Someone who would register volunteers, hook them up with some training and be a clearing house for Sherpa requests and availabilities. Is a day a week too little? Answering the phone or the email would be an always-open kind of thing. 

Thoughts from readers on this topic would be incredibly valued

Shire Council Chairs (x2)

Having TrailRiders available near to where people live is critical to reaching the largest possible audience of frail and disabled users. 

Chairs that are "in the community" as opposed to a possibly remote Park are more accessible to Riders and importantly to Sherpas. Gathering together a team to go down the street for an outing is less of a big ask than to go off to somewhere distant.

Two Shire Councils in Victoria, Moorabool (Bacchus Marsh) and Hepburn (Daylesford) are launching TrailRiders that will be available in those two towns. In Daylesford the chair will be kept at the Visitor Information Centre and in Bacchus Marsh at the Lerderberg Library and can be borrowed there, free of charge for up to seven days.

These two chairs will be launched at the beautiful Quarry Street Reserve in Trentham at 10:30am on Thursday 11th April.

There will be morning tea and a chance to try out the chair - don't forget to bring a bike helmet.

Checkout the Directory to see how to access either of these chairs.