Items filtered by date: May 2022

East Gippsland’s Rail Trail is proving a drawcard for international cyclists. 
Riding from Melbourne to Cairns by bicycle is not for the faint-hearted but in recent times Bairnsdale Warmshowers hosts, Maya and Malcolm Mathieson, have had two Japanese cyclists stay on their way to start riding the rail trail from Bairnsdale to Orbost.
Warmshowers is a worldwide non-profit hos-pitality exchange service for people engaging in bicycle touring and there are now about a dozen hosts in East Gippsland, including eight between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance.
They offer a free bed, or a camp spot, for cyclists to stay.
Often the hosts themselves have travelled by bicycle in other parts of the world, as the Mathiesons have, while living in Thailand.
The Mathiesons most recent guest was Mei Murakami, from Japan, who took a couple of nights to avoid the rain before setting off on the popular rail trail in East Gippsland.
Mr Mathieson said he and his wife know what every cyclist needs, which is most often a washing machine, a warm shower and a good night’s sleep.
Mei will take three months to reach Cairns caring a 17-kilogram rucksack with all her possessions.
Like most touring cyclists she travels as light as possible and her major expense is fuel - not the sort most travellers use, but in the case of cyclists, food.
The cyclists also support local small busi-nesses as they ‘refuel’ at any possible stop.
The East Gippsland Rail Trail is unique in Australia as it passes through the forests of East Gippsland and highlights old rail bridges.
Recent upgrades to the trail have improved the surface in sections, but it’s hoped more funding will be forthcoming to improve facil-ities, and the surface, all the way to Orbost.

IMAGE: Mei Murakami, from Japan, was recently in East Gippsland cycling the rail trail and stayed with local Warmshowers hosts in Bairnsdale. (PS)

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