A bike please Santa - the champs are almost here in Ballarat and it's time for us to ride | From the Press Box with Melanie Whelan

PEDAL POWER: Cycling Australia Road Nationals return next week Santa, this time with an even bigger festival feel for Ballarat and Buninyong. We want to join in. Pictures: Lachlan Bence and AAP
PEDAL POWER: Cycling Australia Road Nationals return next week Santa, this time with an even bigger festival feel for Ballarat and Buninyong. We want to join in. Pictures: Lachlan Bence and AAP

Dear Santa,

We would really like more bikes for Christmas, please.

We are really keen to get the New Year off on a good roll and some trendy pedals would make for an awesome start.

Cycling is getting real big here, Santa, and we hope as many people in Ballarat can get involved as possible.

Road nationals launch the Ballarat sporting calendar in a huge way and this year Cycling Australia chairman Steve Bracks promised we would have the nation’s green-and-gold jersey battles here for at least three more years.

So, we know we have been pretty good for this reward, but we need to keep pedalling for the championships. We need to get on our bikes.

Retro-fits would be a cool option too – if the elves have a few old spokey dokeys still in their workshop cupboards. Handlebar streamers would really help us make a statement.

The upcoming championships are all about more everyday and beginner cyclists getting involved. Spokey dokeys and streamers may be a fun incentive.

We have another big sporting year ahead and want to start stronger than Richie Porte’s legs powering up Mount Buninyong.

Western Bulldogs are coming back for two more in-season AFL matches. We had a pretty awesome party when they first stepped on Mars in August.

We might not have had the streamers bursting from the stadium rooftops like we asked from you last year, but we still put a very Ballarat-themed party.

But we did have the Bulldog puppy we requested in our 2014 Santa letter – thanks so much for the follow-up. He does not live at the town hall, nor is he named Roughie in honour of our Bulldog footballer Jordan Roughead. 

THANK YOU: Our Bulldog puppy Caesar has a bigger ambassadorial role than we had hoped. He is Western Bulldogs' official mascot and parades every home game.

THANK YOU: Our Bulldog puppy Caesar has a bigger ambassadorial role than we had hoped. He is Western Bulldogs' official mascot and parades every home game.

Even better. Our Bulldog puppy’s name is Caesar, he lives in Ross Creek, and he is Western Bulldogs new official mascot.

We can hardly wait to watch him grow into his role more next season, hopefully even some more guest appearances about town. It is like Sia keeps singing in her new Christmas album, puppies are forever not just for Christmas or, in our case, not just for a one-off Bulldog arrival party.

We no longer have Roosters in Ballarat though, Santa. Our football landscape has changed dramatically with the Roosters’ demise and boot from the Victorian Football League.

Sia

AFL Goldfields is tweaking leagues a little bit, too. And women’s football continues to boom as the AFLW aims to ensure a second season builds on the hype and good impression of the first.

We are lucky to have amazing new surfaces across the City, including new ones unfolding at City and Eastern ovals, and we know this will undoubtedly help improve the standard of our game across all divisions.

Maybe if you could consider another animal-themed present for us with a state league presence? Male and female? It gives all players a higher standard to aspire playing on our home turf.

For the same reason, it is important to keep cycling pathways alive so bikes would be a really awesome gift.

Yours in festive spirit,

Melanie

(on behalf of Ballarat)