My eldest son Arif graduated last December with a Masters in Architecture. Attending his graduation was a high point of 2013. Naturally my Ritchey Break-Away made the trip with me to Melbourne.
I have read a lot about the social cycling scene in Melbourne. Much of it on the always-excellent Cycling Tips blog. So I was keen to experience it.
I managed to ride every day I was in Melbourne. The first was on the day I arrived. I assembled the Ritchey and went on a very short ride along Beaconsfield Parade from Albert Park to the St. Kilda Pier. I rode along the bike paths that are separated from the roads.
I rode along the pier up to the St. Kilda Pavilion. The kiosk sits at the end of the pier, more than 400 meters from the shore. The kiosk was destroyed in an arson attack in 2003. Thankfully it was reconstructed to the original 1903 plans, utilising some of the salvaged components, such as the cast iron roof, decorative cresting and weather vane. The kiosk was reopened in 2006.
I went further afield the next day, still sticking to the bike paths that wind beside the beach. I was just south of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club when I turned around. I had to get back to Albert Park in time for dinner with my hosts Nico and Jules.
It was a particularly windy day, and the kite boarders were out in force.
I soon learned that cyclists out for some fresh air and the view use the bike paths. If you wear Lycra you use the bike lanes on the roads. Safety is one consideration. The bike paths are also used by walkers, joggers, and skate boarders. So riding at anything more than a gentle pace on a the bike paths would be dangerous. Another consideration is the difference in surfaces. The bike paths are made from a variety of materials. Concrete blocks and slabs, wood planks, and asphalt of varying quality. The bike lanes offer a smoother and, more to tyne point, faster surface for cyclists.
The ride of the week was with Arif. We covered 50 km or so on the road to Rickett’s Point and back to Arif’s apartment in central Melbourne. We stopped on the outward leg for a very nice breakfast at the Brown Cow Cafe in Hampton. Early birds get the bike racks.
Arif and I didn’t pick the best day for a longish bike ride.
The heat made the ride back to central Melbourne a challenge. This stop to refill our bottles was at the Foreshore Reserve. I am not sure if Arif is smiling or grimacing.
There were lots of people on the beach, despite it being by far the hottest day of the week. I can’t imagine that it was any cooler inside these cabañas.
My long solo ride was on day four, to Chelsea. That ride also included a food and coffee stop at the Brown Cow.
The views along the east bay are spectacular. Especially in cooler weather!
I had one last ride on day five. You guessed it. To the Brown Cow in Hampton for a coffee, and back. It was a Saturday. So I had lots of other cyclists for company.
Cycling in Melbourne was a treat. The infrastructure is generally excellent. There are lots of places to stop for a drink and a bite. Including the BP station near St. Kilda Marina, where Arif and I took advantage of the air-conditioning on that 38° C day.
My Ritchey Break-Away is coming with me again the next time I visit Melbourne.