A summary of what our Bike Education program is about?
The Victorian Blue Light Youth Camp provides a program that assists schools with their bike education program and particularly for the community ride where students may be going onto the road for the first time.
At camp we are also lucky enough to have fully functional traffic lights, road signs and lines that also provide a realistic version of conditions that cyclists will need to navigate.
During the stay at camp our bike education staff will highlight the necessary behaviours to be responsible while on a bike. After the initial discussion the staff will examine the riding environment with the students and whether these are hazards or things that can be controlled e.g. following the road rules, lights and signage at camp.
Students will be checked for correct helmet fitting and provided a bike for their stay at camp.
Bike education staff will then observe the cyclists ensuring they are capable of potentially riding on the road at camp without endangering themselves, other riders or other road users.
On the road?
For students that are grade 4 and above they may then receive the opportunity to go out onto the road. This is not guaranteed though and will be determined whether the group or individuals have those capabilities to not place themselves at risk. That determination is done as mentioned above while observing them ride at camp. Not listening or following instructions and breaking simple road rules like staying to the left will result in individuals or the group not going onto the road. The bike education staff though will work hard though in trying to achieve the community ride with the group.
Risk management of every ride is paramount to ensure the safety of staff, group leaders and the whole group. There will be two bike education staff from the camp provided on every community ride. Occasionally we also have police take part in the ride as well. Additionally there must be 1 group leader (teacher/parent) on a bike with the group (who is over the age of 18) to every 10 students.
The bike education staff from the camp will be in a vehicle at the front and another vehicle at the back of the group. These vehicles provide a visual awareness to other road users as well as the brightly coloured vests that all riders must wear. Local traffic is well adjusted to seeing the students out on the bikes but awareness of poor riding behaviour can still lead to risks. All teachers and drivers will have radio contact with each other to ensure that risky behaviours are stopped immediately e.g. not riding to the left, riding two abreast and alarming bike control.
The objective is for everyone to be a better rider than when they arrived at camp. For some that may be able to just ride on two wheels and our staff will assist non-riders. For others it is the education in being a responsible road user and understand the environment they are riding in. It has been said responsible bike riders make good car drivers e.g. they understand different surfaces can impact them whether they are riding or driving, they know the road rules, they identify dangerous situations quickly and can appreciate all users on our roads. It is important and also frightening a little to understand that grade 5 students on bikes will be on the roads in 5 years in cars. Bike education is paramount in their life-long journey as a road user.
More about the different riding environments………………….
Bike Riding at Camp
The camp is lucky to have a fully functional set of traffic lights and road signage to provide a real road setting for educational purposes. Furthermore to our bitumen road we have an additional 700 metres of riding on gravel within safety of the camp grounds. Understanding the different surfaces and how they impact on bike skills, such as traction, uneven surfaces and riding in large groups provide a good learning experience.
- Cost: Free and is included as part of your overall camp price.
- Availability: Riding at camp may be completed at any time during your stay unless weather conditions do not permit it. At camp riding is suitable for children of all ages.
- Equipment: The camp has in excess of 250 bikes of different sizes to cater for the needs of groups. There are approximately 50 adult bikes and over 200 bikes for children. Riders need to provide their own helmets which need to meet Australian standards.
- Camp Staffing: An assessment is completed by staff when first riding on camp for the suitability of groups aged grade 4 and up to then commence road riding. Camp staff will also be available to assist teachers with anyone having issues with balance, braking or changing gears. Other free time riding on camp will be taken by teachers/group leaders.
Bike Riding in the Community (roads or bike/foot paths)
As part of a bike education program many groups attend camp to do riding on the local roads and trails around Maldon as their community ride. With always two camp bike education staff members who are in two very visible vehicles, radio contact with group leaders and an intimate knowledge of local roads we can provide a life-changing experience for children adjusting to riding safely in their community. Note that some of the rides listed below may not be suitable for some groups.
- Cost: Free and is included as part of your overall camp price.
- Availability: This is a programmed activity for grade 4 and above and its timing and destination will be arranged as part of your overall program in camp. Prior to riding in the community an assessment is completed at camp to ensure the group has the necessary skills to reduce the risks of riding in the community. The assessment of the camp staff is final in analyzing whether a group has the capabilities to ride in the community. The ride is also dependent on the weather. Note we will ride in rain but not thunderstorms or gale force winds.
- Equipment: The camp has in excess of 250 bikes of different sizes to cater for the needs of groups. There are approximately 50 adult bikes and over 200 bikes for children. Bright vests will be also given out for safety reasons to make riders highly visible. Riders need to provide their own helmets which need to meet Australian standards.
- Camp Staffing: There will be 2 camp staff in the vehicles (one at front of the group and one at the back) to assist your group leaders. You must provide 1 group leader to every 10 children for groups where the age is 18 and under.
- Community Ride Destinations: There are a number of different destinations we ride to depending on the needs of the group or their ability. Maldon is hilly so it provides a varied environment to ride in under many different conditions, such as the road surface. For a detailed account of our rides, please click on this LINK. Our rides are included in the table below and provide detailed information on location, challenges, risk management and general commentary.
The table below features all our destination rides and there characteristics:
|Description||Distance||Elevation||Online Map||Street Map||Risk Assessment||Comments|
|South German Mine||3km||27m||Link||Link||Link||The shortest of the rides. Partly bitumen road, dirt road and then a gravel walking track. A ride that provides riders of all standards a learning opportunity of what to expect on the harder rides. Additionally a chance to do some free time riding outside of the camp on the gravel walking track. Suitable for Grade 4 and up.|
|Maldon Cemetery||6.9km||123m||Link||Link||Link||The undulating ride takes cyclists onto the main road, residential roads and then gravel roads. A hill at the beginning but once you go over that you have a nice downhill section along the scenic dirt road. On the way back though the incline will be a test. At the destination the children and adults alike are amazed of the history and imagery of the hardships local families endured since the 1850’s as they search for the youngest and oldest person at the cemetery. There is also a hike as an available option from the cemetery through spectacular volcanic rock country among the Nuggetty Ranges. Suitable for Grade 4 and up.|
|BMX Track||4.1km||38m||Link||Link||Link||A ride that goes on the main road through Maldon past the train station before going onto dirt roads. Groups then have the chance to take on the fun rustic local BMX track, which is loads of fun for even the most inexperienced riders before a short-cut back to camp over a challenging hill. Suitable for Grade 4 and up.|
|Muckleford Station||9.0km||52m||Link||Link||Link||This ride is only available only and when the steam engine is running unless the group rides back (9km one way). Groups will ride out via the Castlemaine/Maldon Rail Trail to the Muckleford rail station. If the train is running, groups can then place their bikes on the train and enjoy the historic steam engine trip back to Maldon station. There is a cost of approximately $10.50 per person for the train. Note that the trip to Muckleford is more down hill. If returning by bike to Maldon you have 124 metres of elevation to contend with. Suitable for Grade 4 and up.|
|Carman’s Tunnel||4.1km||33m||Link||Link 1||Link||The ride is the way we make our way normally to Carman’s Tunnel, which is another one of our offsite tour opportunities of historic Maldon. See details of that activity on our activities page and the interesting mining experience you will learn about. Furthermore even if not doing the Carman’s Mine Tour there is a 2km track at the North British mine. It provides a beautiful walk or ride it (for advanced riders) to appreciate the time back to the gold diggings and the natural environment they encountered. Suitable for Grade 4 and up.|
|Butts Reserve||4.9km||66m||Link||Link||Link||A ride all on bitumen via the main street of Maldon before heading through the residential backstreets. A picturesque reserve that has shelter and toilets awaits with some great rock formations from the volcanic days of Mt. Tarrengower and if you choose a short hike could be arranged from this area. Suitable for Grade 4 and up.|
|Mt Tarrengower West via North British Mine Trail||17.6km||156m||Link||Link||Link||A new ride to be introduced in 2019 for our strongest riding groups. It will take you to begin via the North British Mine trail. Then to the southern side of Mt Tarrengower before you reach the spectacular Western side of the mountain. At its base you will find some massive rocks and boulders from the volcanic times of its history. Some further hiking on foot and you reach more of its rocky past and the great views of Cairn Curran Reservoir. Suitable for Grade 5 and up for advanced riders only.|
|Baxters Track||11.5km||139m||Link||Link||Link||The ride of 12km goes onto both bitumen and gravel and is one of the longer rides. On arrival damper making has become a favourite of groups as you experience the natural environment around Maldon. Once out in the natural habitat there are some possible activity options. Yabbing (Sept to May) and damper making are paid activities but there is also the option to explore more, gather resources and do a bit of hut building. Suitable for Grade 5 and up.|
|Red, White and Blue Mine||22.4km||242m||Link||Link||Link||Our current longest ride out to the historic Red, White and Blue Mine in the Muckleford State Forest. Taking the same route to begin with as Baxters Track it commences on the Maldon Newstead Rd before going onto the good condition gravel tracks. The destination is the interestingly named Red, White and Blue Mine, a poppet head, dam and natural recreation setting. Great place for a lunch stop before the 11km ride back. Suitable for Grade 5 and u nut note the distance of the ride.|
|Darky’s Hut||Link||Link||Link||The destination is 4.8km, with the last 1,600 metres completed by walking the bike up a descent incline. At the destination point we find a very rustic miners hut (Darky’s Hut) for shelter on the site of a gold mine that has now has the site filled in. The summit being part of the beautiful Nuggetty Ranges. Riders will then walk their bikes upon leaving to a lower point where the terrain and gravel road smooths itself out. This activity has both riding and walking and is most suitable for our fitter groups. Suitable for Grade 5 and up.|
|Gold Dredge & Dragline||6.5km||52m||Link||Link||Link||A short ride but is only for our very safest riders as it goes onto roads with a higher speed. The rustic old gold dredge and dragline provides a backdrop back to the later mining explorations in the area. On arrival and depending on water levels, there may be the opportunity for damper making (cost involved for that activity). Hut making is another activity that may be an option in exploring the natural environment. Suitable for Grade 5 and up for advanced riders only.|
Have a look of an example of an Educational video:
- Instructional video
Please stop back
Photo – one of the many rides. This one on the gravel going along the rail trail towards Muckleford
Photo – Our bike rides destinations sometimes lead to lots more. A small hike from Butts Reserve provides magnificent views
Photo – While this ride provided a chance to find a fortune at the ride destination