Thirteen bike riders – amongst them a father/son combination, current Year 10 Paradians and Old Boys who completed their schooling as far back as the early 1960s – recently braved the elements to complete the annual bike Ride from the Preston to Bundoora campuses.

In what was the first event convened by the Old Paradians in 12 months since last year’s ride was staged just prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns, riders set off from Clifton Grove en route to Bundoora – bypassing the ‘Old Bluestone Pile’ and The Boulevard legs to minimise risks given the persistent rainfall.

Bernard Flinn joined the ride at Spark Reserve in the shadows of the old Flowerdale campus, after which Paul Schofield led cyclists on a brief detour to Flowerdale where he conveyed his own memories of the place as a former student.

The peloton then made its way along the Darebin Creek trail and was greeted at the end of Parade Drive on what was the College’s Open Day without hitch. Amongst those welcoming the riders was the former Old Paradians’ Association President and 1974 College Captain Lewis Derrico.

Brendon Leverett, a first-time participant in the ride, welcomed the event which brought together Old Paradians spanning seven decades to the present.

“This is the first time I’ve ventured out with the Old Paradians on the ride and I thoroughly enjoyed,” said Brendan, a former IT worker of 37 years experience who 18 months ago embarked on a career change and became an undertaker for Bell Funeral Services in Preston.

“It was a good ride. It was terrific to hear a few old stories along the way, particularly at the Alphington campus which I didn’t go to,” Leverett said.

As with Brendan, current Year 10 students Emile Grech and Manesh Kusalakumar (pictured) were also first-time participants, having become aware of the ride through the Parade College newsletter.

“Manesh and I really enjoyed cycling on the different tracks, we enjoyed meeting the different people in the group who went to Parade in different times and I rate the ride a solid 10 out of 10 because of who involved everyone was,” Emile said.

Manesh welcomed the opportunity to mix with Old Paradians across seven decades – from the final year student of 1962 Bernard Flinn through to the most recent Old Paradian Adam De Beer – a final year student of 2020 now in his first year as an apprentice in carpentry, and featured in the main picture with his father Deon at the start of the ride.

“This ride was a great way of bringing Paradians and Old Paradians together,” Manesh said.

“It was a bit wet today but we all pulled through because we kept together as a team.”

The Old Paradians’ Association extends its sincere appreciation to the following cyclists who took part in this year’s bike ride – the eighth since the first was staged in the association’s centenary year of 2014:

Paul Davies (1966), Deon and Adam De Beer (2020), Peter Dynes (1984), Bernard Flinn (1962), Peter Gilmartin (1968), Emile Grech (Year 10), Manesh Kusalakumar (Year 10), Brendon Leverett (1980), Dino Rebellato (1978), Paul Schofield (1991), Bill Scott (1963) and Warren Stirling.