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Greetings from Down Under

Padge
Pico de Orizaba

Hello Team Strava, I am in Melbourne, Australia and have often thought we live in one of the best bike riding locations imaginable, especially for road bikes. Apart from our Beach Rd and the Yarra Boulevard which are favoured by road bikes, there are also about 2000km of dedicated bike paths, hills to climb at the edge of our city in the Dandenongs for both gravel and MTB and even single track around the Yarra River and other parks, and a dedicated MTB course at Lysterfield. I also rate Adelaide as a brilliant place to ride, especially with the Adelaide Hills only 15 or 20 minutes away from the CBD but I was wondering where else in the world people think are fabulous for riding? Where is the all 'round cycling capital of the world you think?

 

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Soren
Denali

Hi @Padge so nice to hear from you. I'm pretty opinionated and believe that Girona is the cycling capital of the world, but other European cities like Amsterdam, Ljubljana, Stockholm are quite impressive too, as far as infrastructure goes. You've definitely sparked an interest for me to check out Melbourne and Adelaide for a cycling vacation ๐Ÿ‘€. I love all trails, paved and dirt alike. Curious what others have to say here.

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7 REPLIES 7

Soren
Denali

Where to begin...? I have bookmarked all of the abovementioned races/places/routes! Thank you so much for the thorough reply and all the links. This is fascinating. The Indian Pacific Wheel Race sounds amazing, although I'm not sure I'd want to follow the rules so strictly. I'd much rather prefer to follow the route and be open to anything that presents itself. I think starting in the desert and making your way across the Nullarbor plains, wine districts, great ocean road, and the victorian alps sounds like a grand route. Have you done it yourself?

What kind of bike would you recommend for that, gravel? 

We have rail-trails here in the USA as well, there's just so much to explore!

 

Padge
Pico de Orizaba

The Indian Pacific Wheel Race (IPWR) is essentially a road bike-packing ride although you can ride whatever you want. One guy did it on A FIXIE!! And then decided he may as well keep going and rode 15,000km right around Australia! Extraordinary effort. A couple rode a tandem this year. That was an outstanding effort, especially getting across the Nullarbor because the water stops are up to 180km apart. And while I haven't ridden it, it is on my bucket list. It has been an inspiration for me.

If you wanted to go on a desert adventure, then you'll need to do the Race To The Rock (https://www.curvecycling.com.au/blogs/blogs/race-to-the-rocks-2022 ) which is a race starting from a different part of Australia to Uluru (Ayers Rock - https://parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru/) in the middle of Australia. It is absolutely stunning and is meant to be the largest monolith in the world. These are absolutely MTB or gravel bike rides, again, all self-supported, bike packing adventures, one leg. Search for #racetotherock on Instagram to see some epic pics. Curve Cycles (who sell awesome custom built titanium gravel and road bikes in Melbourne), are the force behind both the IPWR and the RTTR.

Another epic 1000km ride is across the Australian Alps from Canberra to Melbourne, The Hunt 1000 (https://hunt1000.huntbikes.com) which uses in part the National Bicentennial Trail (https://www.bicentennialnationaltrail.com.au), a 5,500 km off-road trail from Healesville about an hour out of Melbourne through New South Wales, Canberra (our capital) and right up the Great Dividing Range (which stretches right down the east coast and turns west into Victoria) to Cooktown in Far North Queensland. It was set up by an Australian horse riding and clothing legend, RM Williams, as a horse riding trail to commemorate the 200th anniversary of European settlement in Australia (which is now controversial because there is a growing push for our government to recognise the rights and traditions of the First Peoples, our indigenous Aboriginal people as the rightful owners on land never ceded; we are the only western nation to not have a treaty with our indigenous population and they are not recognised in our constitution). After it was established, many people have since biked or even walked it. There are custodians of sections of the track where you need to check in with them before attempting each section, as they have local knowledge and can warn you about hazards and change of conditions. In the high country there are huts, some of them old cattlemen huts, that you can stay in. Some of the track is just walking track so you will need to get off and walk your bike up and down it, some of it is through state forests and back roads which you may share with logging trucks and local traffic, but it is essentially getting right away from it all for weeks. It is also absolutely epic.

Another long off road bikepacking trail is in Western Australia, The Munda Biddi Trail (https://mundabiddi.org.au) running from Albany in the south through the bush to Perth, the capital of that state and the most isolated capital city in the world. This one is on my bucket list, too!


So, these are only some of the great bike rides in Australia and there are plenty of others and lots of day rides and events in every state. One thing I have to say is that the cars and trucks aren't always respectful and some of the roads don't have adequate shoulders of the road to give you the extra width outside the normal traffic lanes but I guess we aren't alone in the world there, especially watching the videos posted on Cycliq's webpage (https://cycliq.com/videos/). If you pass through Melbourne, let me know and I'll show you some local spots! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Thanks Padge! So much great information. You've made Australia a top of my bucket list destination, there seems to be no shortage of all sorts of trails and challenges. Hope you can knock off a few of these off of your bucket list, too!

Padge
Pico de Orizaba

When you get to Melbourne, be sure to let me know ๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Padge
Pico de Orizaba

@Soren the best time to visit Adelaide is during the Tour Down Under (https://tourdownunder.com.au) which is a total festival of bike riding and the first ride of the UCI Calendar. It is fabulous. There are thousands of bike riders riding out to various stages that all start in and around the Adelaide CBD; there are two wine regions (Barossa and McLarenvale) right on the doorstep of the city; there are great restaurants and cafes around Adelaide and the surrounding suburbs; and finally the second last stage up Wilunga Hill is sensational and not as nutty as the big climbs on the Tour De France but you get the crowds and finish at the top of a 'climb' - not exactly the Pyrenees but, you know, the riders get tired and it's a battle. The riders love it because they get to stay in the same hotel in the middle of town, they can go out at night and not be mobbed and the whole vibe is really relaxed and fun.

Melbourne's appeal is that it is known for very strong cycling, coffee, sports and art cultures. We call it the Sporting Capital of the World because there are so many iconic events here, such as the Australian Tennis Open (one of the four Grand Slams), The F1 Grand Prix, the Melbourne Cup horse race (we have a holiday for it!), the AFL Australian Rules Football Grand Final (our version of football, with 100,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, we have a holiday on the day before this, too!), the Boxing Day Cricket Test (normally 60-80,000 for the start of the five-day cricket test against visiting cricket teams, the biggest being The Ashes against England), and also we had the 1956 Olympics here, plus a Commonwealth Games in 2006 with another in 2026.

There are thousands who ride Beach Rd (https://tempocyclist.com/2022/05/09/beach-road-melbourne-cycling/) every Saturday and Sunday mornings, mostly to the Mordialloc Pier and turn around (plenty of cafes and great coffee all along the way) but some ride down the Mornington Penninsula (another wine region) to the peak of Arthur's Seat (https://theclimbingcyclist.com/climbs/mornington-peninsula/arthurs-seat/) for the coffee and a view before riding back, around 150km in total. And then there's The **bleep** Ride (http://www.hellride.com.au) which is not for the feint of heart. Out about 25km to the East we have a popular ride called the 1 on 20 (https://theclimbingcyclist.com/climbs/mt-dandenong/the-1-in-20/) that takes you up into the Dandenong Ranges with a ton of riding options, including riding The Wall (https://theclimbingcyclist.com/climbs/mt-dandenong/the-wall/) and other delights. Again, plenty of coffee shops, bars and cafes up in those hills.

To the north east we have the Kinglake Ride (https://theclimbingcyclist.com/climbs/kinglake/kinglake/) which is a rite of passage for any serious bike rider.

Between Melbourne and Geelong (about 75km away, further around Port Phillip Bay) there are the You Yangs, an old volcanic outcrop, with some excellent MTB facilities (https://www.youyangsmtbinc.com.au/trails/).

Each year we have the Around The Bay bike ride in October (https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/rides-and-events/around-the-bay/) with about 15,000 attempting to, well, ride around Port Phillip Bay, the maximum distance being 250km, an option of 210km and distances of half or smaller sections of The Bay from 100km to 30 km.

Another popular ride is the Otway Classic riding down the iconic Great Ocean Road in April, with distances between 60 km up to 200km (https://www.greatoceanotwayclassic.com.au)

Then there is the annual Great Vic Bike Ride (https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/rides-and-events/great-victorian-bike-ride/) in late November which normally attracts around 3-5,000 riders for a nine day ride. That is a lot of fun if you are into touring. All your gear is carried by trucks and it is fully catered. This year it is along the Great Ocean Rd (https://visitgreatoceanroad.org.au) which is really popular and for the bike ride they normally close the road for sections so you can just ride, check out the view and not worry about getting splattered.

Anyway, I'm probably biased but I love this city for bike riding. I REALLY love going to Adelaide for the TDU but for variety, culture, food, coffee and general living, this is home.

Soren
Denali

Hi @Padge so nice to hear from you. I'm pretty opinionated and believe that Girona is the cycling capital of the world, but other European cities like Amsterdam, Ljubljana, Stockholm are quite impressive too, as far as infrastructure goes. You've definitely sparked an interest for me to check out Melbourne and Adelaide for a cycling vacation ๐Ÿ‘€. I love all trails, paved and dirt alike. Curious what others have to say here.

Padge
Pico de Orizaba

Oh, apart from my list about Adelaide and Melbourne in my first answer below, if you are into multi-day MTB rides, there is the 900km Mawson Trail (https://www.southaustraliantrails.com/trails/mawson-trail/) riding from Adelaide to one of the most spectacular places in Australia, The Flinders Ranges (https://southaustralia.com/destinations/flinders-ranges-and-outback). I haven't ridden it but it is on my bucket list, for sure. In Victoria, we have a stack of riding trails of various difficulties. My favourite is the Goldfields Track (http://www.goldfieldstrack.com.au) which is about 220km joining two gold mining towns of Bendigo and Ballarat. I recommend riding from Bendigo. Then there are a network of disused railway lines converted into riding and walking tracks called Rail Trails (https://www.railtrails.org.au) which are all over Australia but we have beautiful trails in Victoria. The best ones are The Murray to the Mountains (https://www.railtrails.org.au/trails/murray-to-mountains-rail-trail/), Great Southern (https://www.railtrails.org.au/trails/great-southern-rail-trail-tarra-trail/), East Gippsland (https://www.railtrails.org.au/trails/east-gippsland-rail-trail/) and a very popular one closer to Melbourne, the Warburton or Yarra Valley Rail Trail (https://www.railtrails.org.au/trails/lilydale-to-warburton-yarra-valley-rail-trail/). We have pour version of mountains called the Victorian Alps and there are options for road, MTB and gravel rides (https://www.ridehighcountry.com.au) with the Seven Peaks being an annual riding challenge to ride the seven highest mountains in out state (https://www.ridehighcountry.com.au/7-peaks/) and the iconic The Peaks Ride  which is like  Around the Bay but with 4000m of climbing (https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/rides-and-events/peaks-challenge/) So, yeah, we have some cycling options in our state.

And if yo want THE ultimate cycling challenge, the is the extraordinary one leg, unsupported ultra endurance bike race The Indian Pacific Wheel Race (https://www.indianpacificwheelrace.com) from Perth in Western Australia to Sydney, New South Wales via Adelaide, the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, the Alps and Canberra before finish on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Regrettably, one of the greatest ultra endurance bike riders in the world, Mike Hall, was tragically killed while riding an official IPWR a few years ago (follow the tag #BeMoreMike), so the ride is now self organised by riders each year who are tracked via GPS and are followed by Dot Watchers on a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/IPWR.DW). The record is about 16 days to ride the 5,500 km but some take as long as eight weeks or so. It is truly epic.

 

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