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Part 1: Along The Yellow Dirt Road to Mildura

Another milestone has been reached this week after a long and arduous trek into Mildura, Bernie’s only stop in the gorgeous state of Victoria. Bernie has finally made it over two state borders in the last few days; crossing Victoria and now entering New South Wales. Bondi beach is so close now we are sure he can just about taste the salt air and hear the seagulls in the distance!

His travels to date have been long, windy, scorching hot, and filled with ‘bumps in the road’ (pardon the pun) with Bernie’s bike suffering from the elements. Unfortunately, Bernie has limped into Mildura with another broken wheel. On his Sunday ride from Morgan to Renmark in South Australia Bernie had two flat tyres and stressed tubing. Luckily, thanks to some quick thinking from the Neighbourhood Watch Australasia support crew and the Fresh Produce Department at the local Coles supermarket, Bernie was given a helping hand in no time! Nick from Coles, Berri is an avid cyclist himself and when the call was put out to connect the immediate community to help Bernie, Nick didn’t waste any time. He had all the parts already on hand and graciously drove 20kms to meet Bernie in his hour of need. Nick, we cannot thank you enough for your neighbourly spirit and cycling know-how!

With Bernie’s bike back on track he set off again onto Mildura. Understandably apprehensive about the condition of his bike, Bernie has been keeping a close eye on how the bike handles the road, any bumps or knocks, and the fragility of the frame at present.

Mildura is an amazing milestone for our Green Machine, Bernie. When he finally arrives in town he will be met by wide eyes and big smiles from the children of Mildura South Primary School – what better welcoming party could you ask for?! It is fitting that this will also be Harmony Day. We are sure the children will have lots of questions about Neighbourhood Watch, connecting communities, how to respect one another, and the importance of happiness and harmony for all. Stay tuned for Part 2: Along The Yellow Dirt Road to Mildura to read all about Bernie’s warm welcome to Mildura South Primary School.

For the Neighbourhood Watch Victoria and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia networks, Mildura holds a very dear place in our hearts. Last year, Mildura Neighbourhood Watch won the most acclaimed Program Initiative of 2016 with their Junior Neighbourhood Watch Program, awarded a Certificate of Merit. A founding force behind Mildura Neighbourhood Watch is volunteer extraordinaire Helen Worcester and Leading Senior Constable Joe Clarke. Both Helen and Joe have been heavily involved in the planning of Bernie’s ride into Mildura. Helen has been awarded Volunteer of the Year herself, and has been a part of Mildura Neighbourhood Watch for over 29 years! We cannot thank them enough for their continued commitment to and love of their local community.

It seems the community spirit runs through the veins of locals in Mildura. After Bernie’s initial battles with his bike over the weekend, his support crew phoned ahead to Hodgson Cycles and Hobbies. The team there gave Bernie’s bike a full service without charging him a cent – it goes to show just how much the Australian spirit encompasses the core values of mateship, supporting one another, and lending a hand when it’s needed. Thank you to the entire team at Hodgson Cycles and Hobbies. Because of you, we are able to keep Bernie on the road!

Bernie will rest for the evening in a comfortable bed after spending sleepless nights in his tent. You have certainly earned a good night’s rest after almost three and a half weeks of riding. As he continues on his journey for another one or two weeks, Bernie grows more and more dedicated to connect communities, meet new people, share stories, and celebrate in the Australian spirit. Show Bernie your support no matter where you are in Australia or overseas! Follow along with Bernie via the NHWA Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter – share stories with #journeywithbernie #ridetoconnect2017 #nhwkeepingyousafe

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