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RIDERS OLD & NEW COMPLETE ANNUAL OPA BIKE RIDE

Pictured posing for posterity in front of the Melbourne city skyline are current Paradians and Old Paradians from as far back as 1966 - all of whom successfully completed the seventh annual OPA Bike Ride on Sunday (February 16).

Seventeen cyclists, including a father and his two sons, took part in the ride. They are from left to right: Michael Jackson, Max Ibic (Year 7), Robert Ibic, Joseph Ibic (Year 10), Kavindha Chandrawanka (2008), Damian Anthony (Year 10), Matt Donoghue (1989), Deon De Beer, Damian Cattenazzi (2008), Peter Gilmartin (1968), Tony Bianco, Paul Schofield (1991), Dino Rebellato (1978), Simon Rebellato (2017), Paul Davies (1966), Chris Natoli (1989) and Alex Haffenden.

The OPA’s annual 40-kilometre ride, which takes in the Yarra and Darebin Bike Trails, began at Parade’s Preston Campus at Clifton Grove and ended at Parade College Bundoora, by way of the Old Bluestone Pile at East Melbourne and the old Preparatory College at Alphington.

At the site of the Old Bluestone Pile, Paul Davies, now 71, shared his personal recollections of his formative years there and talked of his admiration for the teachers

In tranquil conditions, cyclists set off from Preston on the leisurely ride at 10am for what was a three-hour ride which in part took in St George’s Road, the Edinburgh Gardens, Victoria Parade and Yarra Boulevard.

Chris Natoli, who donned the No.71 Parade football jumper loaned to him by his old schoolmate and fellow cyclist Michael Jackson, completed what was his first OPA bike ride – “a sentimental journey as he put it”.

“The bike ride was great fun,” Chris said. “It was interesting to see the old school buildings along the way, including East Melbourne where my old man went.”

As for the body-hugging footy guernsey he wore for the ride, Chris revealed he did have his concerns. As he said: “At the start of the ride I was worried about how I’d get the jumper on. Three hours later I was wondering how the hell I’d get it off”.

The Old Paradians’ Association wishes to thank all cyclists who participated in this year’s ride, particularly Dino Rebellato and Paul Schofield who so capably kept the peloton intact.