Return for group cycling

By Robert Muir

Twenty-five members of Corowa Rutherglen Amateur Bicyclists (CRABS) took off on their bike ride last Saturday morning in groups following last Friday’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions by the Victorian Government.

After two months of being allowed to only ride in pairs or individually, the keen cyclists completed their usual 65km trip round trip to Chiltern and back. 

“It was wonderful to be back in group format, with two groups of 10 and another of about five,” cyclist Louise Bennett told The Free Press. “It’s very social and always safer riding as a group.”

CRABS occasionally ride further distances, to Beechworth/Yackandandah/ Wangaratta and can number over 20 riding in summer, down to under six in winter. “It gets pretty cold on a bike when it’s seven degrees! Water bottles have frozen!” Louise said.

Rides take place Saturday mornings and Tuesday mornings (sausage roll ride!), leaving from Corowa at 7.00am and meeting at Rutherglen at 7.30am but can be a little later due to the cold weather.

“The ride takes about 2 and 1/4 hours but we have to stop for coffee at Rutherglen on the way home so that adds some time!” Louise said.

Louise joined CRABS 25 years ago after taking up work as a physiotherapist and starting her own business about 20 years ago - Wahgunyah Rutherglen Physiotherapy and then, moving to Corowa, renamed it Physiofix some 15 years ago. 

The moving of her practice to opposite the Corowa Hospital about five years ago has proved a very successful move, with a great location and bigger rooms which have enabled her to offer more services.

“CRABS had been going before I joined,” Louise said. “Some of the founding members are still riding - Graeme Brown and Digger Briggs are both still keen cyclists.

“We have riders from Corowa, Rutherglen and surrounding areas, with a wide range of backgrounds. All good people and we have a laugh! 

“Coffee is the most important part of the ride and there is always some good banter at the end of the ride over coffee!”

Louise’s love of cycling had its origins at university. “I became a keen cyclist with other friends from uni, competing in a few road races in Melbourne and some cycling legs of the local triathlons but I’m really just a keen road and mountain biking cyclist who enjoys the outdoors, and socialising and riding with others.”

Some lighter moments witnessed by the experienced CRABS members relate to when new riders join the group.

“It can be interesting!” Louise said. “Especially when they get cleats (clip in pedals) and at the end of the ride try to unclip - they’re usually tired and forget to unclip and it usually ends with them falling off, taking someone else out or someone catching them - quite amusing!”

CRABS used to have a rider Briony who did some fund raising rides overseas. To help her out, CRABS would organise a ride where they would get dressed up such as Batman, Superman, Ballerinas and Where’s Wally, and received some interesting comments from passing drivers.

CRABS has a great and interesting history, and would welcome any new members.