BikeLife: Meet Geoff O’Sullivan – Move for Mental Health Ambassador and founding Bike Bendigo President
October normally means long days preparing for the Bendigo Cycling Classic for local fitness coach, Geoff O’Sullivan. But – due to COVID – the Classic has been cancelled and he has instead become an Ambassador for Bendigo Health Foundations’s ‘Move for Mental Health’ fundraising challenge.
“As a local fitness coach and a regular cyclist, I know the importance physical health plays on our mental health,” Geoff explains
This October, he’s aiming to raise funds and ride 1,000 kms to promote local mental health services.
“I think this is a great way for people to launch their physical health as we come out of Winter and the COVID restrictions are eased,” Geoff adds.
As a child growing up in Knowsley, Geoff was one of those kids who would ride everywhere because it was his only form of transport. He and his friends had great fun, built their own bikes and learnt how to repair them when they had to.
“I still love riding my bike. Through cycling I’ve gained health, fitness, a wide range of friendships, plus a huge smile,” Geoff explains.
We asked Geoff to select his three favourite places to ride in Bendigo and his responses highlight the range of cycling experiences on offer here.
His first pick is a road ride from Bendigo to the South side of Mt Alexander via Sutton Grange and back: “It’s always a challenge with such beautiful scenery,” Geoff says.
Next he chose the mountain bike trails in Maiden Gully, Kangaroo Flat and Spring Gully bushland areas.
Finally, he chooses the O’Keefe Rail Trail (between Bendigo and Heathcote), which runs partly through his family’s land. “We are very proud to help support the efforts of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group in keeping the trail suitable for all users,” Geoff says.
In 2014, Geoff was involved in the formation of Bike Bendigo and elected as the founding President.
“I was joined by Shaun Quayle, and later by Steven Abbott, Rob Kretschmer, Lindsay Clay, Helen Cronin and a few others in the early days,” Geoff recalls.
“[One of the first projects] we worked with the City of Greater Bendigo on was to produce a map of road rides and information for local and visiting riders.”
Looking to the future, Geoff believes Bendigo needs more bike paths for commuters and social riding. “We need to match up the Bendigo Creek Trail through the CBD and the Bendigo Bushland Trail (BBT) also needs development. I am working alongside the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group on this BBT project, too.”
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