The Great Victorian Bike Ride (GVBR) is a boon to many towns along its route but it is also highlighting the poor state of some of the region’s roads.
Residents along the single-lane Ayresford Road, which runs from near Terang to near Curdievale, said its inclusion in the bike ride route forced motorists to drive off the road on Tuesday onto the heavily potholed road verge to avoid cyclists.
An Ayresford Road resident, who did not want to be named, said the nearby community had been campaigning for years to have the road upgraded.
“This is a prime example that this road is a major link between the Grampians and the Great Ocean Road,” the resident said.
“We have been told that this isn’t a major road and doesn’t have the traffic count to be upgraded but then they put all these bike riders down there.
“The bikes are coming down here and it means the cars are forced on to the side of the road and having to go through potholes, some that are about five inches deep.”
Cyclists used the road to get from Mortlake to Port Campbell on Tuesday.
A petition was launched in September by Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan for Ayresford and the connecting Timboon-Nullawarre roads to be widened and upgraded. It collected about 500 signatures and has gone to state parliament.
Mr Riordan has also called for a road shoulder to be built on the Great Ocean Road (GOR) to cater for events such as the GVBR.
The GOR will be closed for a time between Apollo Bay and Lorne on Friday for the ride.
Mr Riordan said the GOR closure meant the event would “give with one hand and take with the other” in regards to visitor numbers to Apollo Bay and Lorne.
While the event would bring more than 4200 cyclists to the two towns, they normally received that many visitors each day who would be unable to get to the towns by car, he said.
He said the ride was one of several events that closed parts of the GOR and others in the Otways and “there was very little appetite” from those communities for the closures to continue.
Mr Riordan has called for the establishment of a Great Ocean Road Authority that would oversee an upgrade of the iconic road which he has said was “in crisis.” He said the authority would also keep in view the economic impact of road closures.