A BUG’s Life

An entomological study into the ‘life cycle’ of the Fraser Coast Bicycle Users Group

In 2003, the former Hervey Bay City Council called a public interest meeting and held this at the CWA building in Bideford Street, Torquay. Two council representatives chaired the meeting and approximately 15 persons attended. The meeting heard that a BUG didn’t necessarily have to have wings! One attendee, an aircraft pilot chose to disagree!  From this public meeting, David M became the group’s first president and Mark P was elected the group’s first secretary. As the Hervey

Bay BUG we were off and buzzing!

A sign-on BBQ day was held soon after at the Botanical Gardens in Elizabeth Street where, in spite of Cary’s cooking, seven dedicated cycling enthusiasts placed their signature on the line and handed over their money. Mary-Ann P was coerced into being the first treasurer.

 Funds were tight in the early days with members contributing funds to maintain the minimum bank balance in order to avoid bank fees. The president and secretary were heavily involved on the public speaking circuit back then, spreading the word on the newly formed BUG. Mark gave one presentation to Hervey Bay Rotary and so impressed were they that $150 to cover the incorporation fee was quickly forthcoming. Being incorporated was essential in order to gain insurance for our office bearers as we had big plans to run many future events.

The first annual event was established. The Saturday morning ride at Christmas terminated at Mark and Sue’s place.  All five riders turned up. This Christmas gathering tradition has continued ever since even though the locations have varied over the years.

 Due to personal reasons, David M stepped down during this first term and Dave Mac took over. Meetings during this first term were held in a small meeting room at the council library, near the university in Pialba. This was better than the public phone box we thought we would have to use.

Our group was small, the meeting room was also very small but it was cheap. In fact, it was free – courtesy of the council.

 One of our main aims then was to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of council, identifying maintenance issues and areas of concern for cyclists. These were detailed in monthly reports prepared by the secretary and dutifully despatched to our engineering contact at council, Craig.

 As the library needed to make room available for paying tenants, we were asked to move on and so our next location was the old Seagulls clubhouse on Bideford Street. However, within 12 months this was also required by another commercial concern. As our membership had grown to around 50, and we were now just able to financially ‘pay our way’, we were offered a space in the Arts and Crafts Centre.

Getting the word out there continued to be high on the priority list. Mark continued to be heard as a regular monthly guest on local community radio. Dave Mac and his disciples ran cycling instruction courses at the library during the school holidays.

 It was now 2005, which saw Craig joining the group and becoming the next president  – in spite of member concerns that his name was not David.

 Survival was now assured and establishment issues were a thing of the past. Expansion was the new priority. Get the word out. The Saturday morning signature ride was growing steadily to a point where the coffee shop at the end of the ride found it difficult to cope. To overcome this problem, graded rides with staggered finishes were introduced. During this time, members started to make a statement out on the Esplanade in the first official club ride jersey.

 The Maryborough branch was established with their signature Sunday morning ride and, reflecting the cosy togetherness that is at the core of the group, we changed the name to the all-encompassing, Fraser Coast Bicycle Users Group.

 David J became president in 2007, thus seeing a return to the long established standard of another David at the helm.

 The first River to River ride took off as well as the Woodgate Ride. Members also participated in Bicycle Queensland events including the 9-day Cycle Queensland. Around 20 of our riders took part in this event and other members acted as volunteers.

 In 2008 the club took on the project of advocating for the conversion of the old abandoned rail corridor between Maryborough and Hervey Bay into a sustainable transport track. Long time sponsors Cardno (a local engineering company), the other cycle groups in the two towns and with input from experienced rail trail experts, the project has continued to gain support.

‘Revolutionary Women’ also took off and became another form of training program directed solely at teaching around 20 of the softer gender some of the more ‘blokey’ issues of cycling. This has been organised by some of the experienced ladies of the club with instruction given by a qualified female trainer.

Road cycling was not the only type of cycling activity the members became involved in. Members and their mountain bikes became active within the Bicentennial National Trail organisation. Members re-surveyed sections of the BNT around Mt Perry and beyond. Former president and foundation member Dave Mac was appointed a director of this body.

 2009 saw Peter W elected as president but we just called him ‘David’. In May of 2009, planning commenced on the next club ride attire complete with sponsors. Later in the year how smart members looked in version two. It was the real deal, the full set – the jersey with matching nicks and gloves! The new kit was showcased at the BQ ride that year.

 Shortly after this, in 2010 the third branch of FCBUG was established in Howard. There were 8 riders on the inaugural ride and members from Howard have regularly joined in events with Hervey Bay members.

 At the AGM in August of 2010, members heard the words ‘president’ and ‘David’ in the one sentence. Hands shot up to vote only to discover that in our eagerness, we had missed the word ‘Vice’. To simplify things, Peter B was elected president to follow on from last year as we were just starting to get the hang of this new name by now anyway!  Membership grew steadily and most ordinary monthly meetings were well attended. In this year, an average of about sixty cyclists joined in the Saturday morning ride in Hervey Bay. Enthusiastic members started to ride during the week in ‘unofficial club rides’ with some riding every day of the week.

2010 was a very busy year as the club purchased the Bike Fit Kit for approximately $2,500. This fit kit is a collection of precision measuring tools and tables developed over 20 years of research using a wide cross section of bike riders, from recreational to the elite level. It has been of great advantage in assisting our members in buying the correct size bikes and having the bikes fitted to ensure the most comfortable riding position for them.

By 2011, the membership had grown still further. The number of BUGS riding on a Saturday ride necessitated splitting our riding groups to gather at two venues for the after ride coffee and chat. The council had accepted the FCBUG submission for the development of the rail trail between Hervey Bay and Maryborough with a budget of around $10 million. Also in 2011, the Mountain Bike Youth Mentoring Program commenced. The aim of the program is to give the young people positive experiences and the opportunity to engage with positive role models whilst participating in physical activity. The program has involved 10 volunteers and has assisted up to 25 young people with regular rides being held at Toogoom.

 Ernie P became president for two years 2012 and 2013. Through Ernie’s leadership, the club resumed its quest to promote cycling within the community. Thanks to council and the Department of Transport and Main Roads for the provision and maintenance of cycling infrastructure on the Fraser Coast.  Saturday rides continued to be very popular. The number of riders and the skill and fitness level of members, dictated that there was now a need for 6 different ride groups and routes at varying speeds and lengths each Saturday morning. After much hard work by a sub-committee, members were highly visible in their new sky blue, red, green jerseys on these Saturday rides.

Towards the end of 2013, Dennis, Lorna and other helpers had now reached a very creditable milestone. Over 300 members and their bicycles had been measured and correctly fitted to their bicycles. This has included members from Hervey Bay as well as Howard and Maryborough.

 Promoting cycling in the community has continued to be important to the club’s ethos. The club polo shirts were introduced in 2013 enabling members to promote the club while attending community events. FCBUG members have been helpers for the scooter convoy and the annual cycle count. For a number of years now, members have teamed up with the Hervey Bay Community Centre and the Sunrise Rotary Club in assisting with the staging of the Tour de Bay community ride. This event is a major fundraiser for the youth mentoring program hosted by the HB Community Centre. FCBUG members enjoy participating in this event as cyclists or as volunteers.

 The never ending story will continue……… watch this space…