Wrapping Up 2023: Bringing You a Very Commuter Christmas

Nobody likes a bragger, but when it comes to staff Christmas parties, we like to think we do it best. This year was a gem, as all the staff headed out to Forrest on Saturday afternoon for a weekend of trails, campfires and canned pyrotechnics (you’ll see what I’m talking about, don’t worry!).

Will’s past life as a tour guide seemed to rev back to life along with the bus as he turned the keys in the ignition, and DJ Goth Whitlam hopped on the tunes for the drive up the freeway.

After dinner at Sandy’z Pizza, Winchelsea, we drove the final 50 minutes into Lake Elizabeth campsite. What a dream! The rain that had pummelled Melbourne all day had subsided, and we set up camp for the night amidst the sounds and smells of the Otway forest. 

Annie got a fire burning, and in no time the usual ring of Helinox chairs had formed. Night fell, laughter bubbled up into the canopy, and we reflected on how fortunate we are to share these friendships. Reuben had an interesting party trick to show us, involving a tin of sardines, some toilet paper and a spark rod…

Not all of us agree, however, on when the second day of a staff party should start. Resident naturalist Kia was up at 4:30 to raft her way across the lake in search of Platypuses (she found them!). Others were less adventurous. Rainfall on a tent roof has a way of making you want to stay snuggled up, after all. 

With a hearty camp breakfast in our bellies, it was time for the main event! Forrest’s wonderful network of MTB trails have recently been given a face lift, and the crew were keen to thoroughly inspect them. For… uhhhh… professional development purposes, of course. 

Verdict? They rip. Head down to Forrest to check them out for yourselves, but from these pictures you probably get an idea of what kind of time you’ll have. 

Meanwhile, Sime and I made our way up Kaanglang Road to put his newly built Curve Big Kev through its paces. There’s a lot to love about Otway gravel; smooth roads and thrilling descents make riding there a hoot of a time. 

There is one Commuter Christmas tradition that reigns above all others, however, and we dutifully returned to Forrest Brewery to answer its call. The Book Kris Kringle has been running for over a decade, and it really is a lovely custom. I’ve snagged such treasures over the years as Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, an Instagram guru’s self-help book, and a guide to wheelbuilding. This year, an anthology of culinary essays! Who’d have thought we were more than just a bunch of gear-heads?

Well-fed and with belts noticeably tighter, it was time to pile onto the bus and head home… until next year!

We’ll be closed for the holiday season, with our last day being the 22nd of December. If you need anything for your own adventures with your beautiful friends and family, come on by!

Santa’s jolliest little helper,

Finn. 

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Commuter Cycles acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional custodians of the lands and waterways in the area now known as Brunswick, and pays respect to their Elders past, present, and emerging, as well as to all First Nations’ communities in Australia.