Thousands to attend annual ride

April 29, 2022 BY

Around 3,500 riders will take part in this year's ride. Photos: SUPPLIED

ONE of Australia’s premier cycling events returns to the region this Saturday with 3,500 riders registered to take part.

The Great Ocean and Otway Classic Ride is back again with unprecedented amounts of cyclists ready to undertake one of the nation’s most spectacular and picturesque courses on the cycling calendar.

“We can tell there is good energy from the 3,500 registered riders,” director of O2 Events Jordan O’Neill said.

“The last two events have been around 15 to 20 per cent up on pre-pandemic rider numbers, which perhaps demonstrates more people are cycling and using events to set goals.

“The Surf Coast is a great place for the ride as riders plan trips that feature the event and stay multiple nights, supporting local businesses during their trip.”

The course, starting and finishing in Torquay, exhibits the sheer limestone cliffs and undulating farmlands that returning riders have come to love along the Great Ocean Road and within the Otways.

Riders can also expect up to 90km of road closures in the course’s mainstream 145km ride, with options for riders to undertake the 60km Recreational Ride or the more challenging 204km Amy’s Ride.

Riders completing the latter will travel inland riding through the Otways town of Forrest before travelling down to Skenes Creek.

From there, cyclists will take in the full Great Ocean Road experience travelling through coastal towns such as Lorne, Aireys Inlet and Anglesea.

“Visit Victoria has the Great Ocean Road as the most visited Victorian Tourism Asset. It’s a big drawcard for road cycling also,” Mr O’Neill said.

“The rides vary in their level of difficulty to challenge experienced and beginner riders in a safe and managed environment.

“Each of the distances of the event starts inland to see riders climb some small and larger hills to then progress back along the Great Ocean Road to Finish in Torquay.”

The increased rider activity also bodes well for local accommodation businesses according to a spokesperson at Ocean Edge Holiday Rentals.

“It’s great to have the event on, Torquay is really busy that weekend with so many staying in town for the ride,” the spokesperson said.

Road closures are to be expected in Torquay on the day.

The Esplanade between Beach Road and Gilbert Street will be closed from 5.30am to 9.30am and between Zeally Bay Road and Gilbert Street from 9.30am and 5pm.

The Great Ocean and Otway Classic Ride supports the Amy Gillet Foundation, to educate and advocate for safe cycling. Organisers are encouraging all participants to fundraise.

For more information on the event including road closures or to register, visit <b>www.greatoceanotwayclassic.com.au</b>