Ringwood to Federation Square – Sunday, 27 August 2017

It’s nearly spring; time to get a little more adventurous! And with Around The Bay now only weeks away (8th Oct) a few of us might be looking for longer and slightly more challenging rides.

With this in mind, our end of month ride for the August will involve catching a train from Richmond Station to Ringwood Station (next to Eastland Shopping Centre) and then riding back to the city.

Where: The ride itself will depart from Ringwood Station (adjacent to Eastland Shopping Centre)
When: 11:00am from Ringwood Station
Duration: Approx 3hrs (including a lunch stop)
Distance: Approx 32km

Getting to Ringwood Station
If you plan to catch a train out to Ringwood Station, please note that you may need to change trains/platforms at Richmond Station if you’re entering the network from the city or a different line. There are two service options to get you to Ringwood on time:

  1. Lilydale service
    Departs Richmond Station (platform 9) at 9:59am
    Arrives Ringwood Station 10:38am
  2. Belgrave service
    Departs Richmond Station (platform 9) at 10:19am
    Arrives Ringwood 10:58am

Let’s aim to meet in the second carriage (from the front) of the train. 

If you aren’t planning to catch the train to Ringwood Station, we will meet you at the passenger drop off point at the front of the station on Railway Place.

The ride route
The ~32km route follows Eastlink Trail (along the M3) for much of the way. There are a couple of fairly steep hills at the start, but it’s mostly a gradual downhill ride back.

As usual, the pace will be determined by the group as a whole; nobody will get left behind.

We may stop for lunch at a cafe along the way, or at the FAIRFIELD boathouse again.

I would encourage everyone who has signed up for Around the Bay this year to start preparing for the event (if you haven’t already) – joining our next few rides between now and 8 October may help you feel more confident on the day.

In addition, I would also ask that anyone intending to join a ride please give me a heads-up by commenting below, or indicating your participation on the Facebook event. Request to join the Melbourne Brompton Club, and sign up for events once you’re a member.

Until then, happy Bromptoneering!  : )

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When the path forward is shared

It’s now four months since my commute has changed from wholly on-road riding to mostly off-road share paths. This has resulted in a decidedly more relaxed and pleasant ride now, but an inconsiderate pass (overtake) by someone the other day got me thinking…

When speed seemed to matter

Getting caught up in the race to the next red light used to be important. Riding to work used to be for exercise and fitness. Looking back I’ll admit now that I had small-wheel syndrome more often than what I would have admitted to then.

Avoiding being overtaken was not just a symptom of small-wheel syndrome though. Riding fast also meant I feel safer when merging with traffic, and I was over-taken by other cyclists less often. When you’ve got one eye watching for people in parked cars who might be about to open a door on you, an eye watching the path ahead for glass/obstacles/people in front signalling, an eye on the traffic to the right and an ear on the traffic over my right shoulder (yes, I can count, and no, I don’t have three eyes)… the last thing I felt I needed was another cyclist deciding to overtake me in the bike lane at an inopportune time.

Life in the slow lane

In April my employers relocated to a new office, which meant find a new route to ride to work. Slightly nervous about my first commute heading up Main Yarra Trail, my plan was simply to take it easy. Having heard first- and second-hand stories of crashes on this trail, my pessimistic prediction for my new route was that I’d be riding head-on into a peloton of cyclists coming into the city, each one intent on achieving as many Strava PB’s as possible.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case. Instead, two other factors really stood out; firstly, my need to adopt and adapt to a consistent paced ride from the stop-start one I was accustomed to (there aren’t any traffic lights along Main Yarra Trail!), and secondly, the need to both look out and slow down for pedestrians.

Role reversal – who’s the aggressor now?

Previously, despite a fair degree of confidence, I was often conscious of my vulnerability as a bicyclist when riding in traffic. All it would have taken was to be clipped in passing…

Now the shoe is definitely on the other foot. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable ‘road’ users and bicycle riders are the people whizzing by their right shoulders. Although I’m now on a shared path and not a street or road, the same rules and guidelines still apply.

For the number of times that I shook my head at an impatient driver and thought, “Couldn’t they have waited just 5 seconds?” I would be a complete hypocrite if I did not now extend the same courtesy to pedestrians on the path – regardless of the fact that, as a bicycle rider, I am also obliged to do so.

Overtaking safely

So how should you safely, and considerately, overtake a pedestrian or bicyclist on a shared path?

  1. Give way to pedestrians
    “Pedestrians” includes people on foot, as well as on wheeled devices such as skateboards, scooters, wheelchairs, and motorised mobility devices.
  2. Give adequate warning
    You cannot predict how people will react to the sound of a bicycle bell behind them, even if they’re on a well-used share path. I’ve seen people freeze, move to the left of the path, move to the right of the path, look around in panic, or continue on seemingly oblivious to my presence.
  3. Slow down
    After sounding your bell, the next most important thing to remember is you that you should “slow down when overtaking pedestrians” (ref) and also “manage your speed so you can slow or stop safely” (ref). If a person reacts unpredictably, the last thing you want is to crash or come off your bicycle when trying avoid running into the person.
    When approaching to overtake, I will usually ring my bell about 2 seconds in advance of when I will start to overtake the person, and also give a verbal warning (e.g. “passing on your right”) when nearly level with their right shoulder in case they haven’t heard my bell.
  4. Give adequate space
    Warning people that you’re about to overtake is one thing, being respectful of personal space while doing so is another. If the share path is divided into two lanes, overtake in the right-hand lane, as you would if you were driving on the road. If no lanes are marked, still use the right hand side of the path to overtake.
    If it is not practicable to use the righthand side of the path to overtake, either due oncoming bicycle riders, pedestrians, limited visibility, some other obstruction, or narrowness of the path, reconsider whether you should in fact be trying to overtake at this point.
  5. Make sure you have enough time to overtake
    The same rules apply on share paths as on roads: don’t start overtaking until the righthand lane is clear; ensure you have time to safely overtake the person in front of you before you become an obstruction to oncoming pedestrian/bicycle traffic; don’t overtake on bends or just before a crest of a hill where you can’t see oncoming pedestrian/bicycle traffic and they can’t see you.

Refresh your knowledge of the rules for road and share path use here.


All the above applies doubly when overtaking people walking dogs, or even riding close by dogs off the leash. Although our furry friends are known for their superbly keen senses, it’s surprisingly easy to sneak up on them when you’re on a bicycle. They are also highly unpredictable! Slow down, use your bell, and be ready to stop.

Be Happy and Brompton on!

Being considerate and patient around pedestrians and slower riders will ensure a safer and more pleasant experience for all concerned. If you’re worried that this will make you late for work, try allowing more time for your commute.

I personally find the best way to enjoy my ride to work is simply this:

: )

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MBC ride to the Melbourne Tram Museum – 12 August 2017

Trams are synonymous with Melbourne; after all, they have been operating continuously around our city since the late 1800’s despite their rise and fall (and recent rise again) in popularity elsewhere. Where better than Melbourne to have a tram museum?

The Melbourne Tram Museum’s next Open Day is 12 August. As the museum in Hawthorn is just a relaxed 30min ride along Main Yarra Trail, this probably won’t be the ‘official’ August club ride, but a bonus ride. All friends are welcome to join.

Ride details
Starting location:  Federation Square
Starting time:  12:30pm (i.e. half-past midday)
Duration:  ~30min riding each way, about 1-2hrs at the tram museum
Cost:  Admission to the museum is a gold coin donation

Please bring a drink and a snack if you think you will need sustenance before we return to the city. There is no café attached to the museum. (There are bathroom facilities.)

If you’re not sure why to expect, why not also check out our previous visit to the Melbourne Tram Museum.


Bromptons to Beer  (Friday 4 August)
A bit of an impromptu thing, but it could become regular… a few of us are also catching up for a Friday night beer, to discuss life, Beer and all things Brompton.

First stop is Mountain Goat Beer at 80 North Street Richmond from about 5pm. After one beer, the conversation moves a few streets away to…

Moon Dog Craft Brewery at 17 Dukes Street Abbotsford for another beer. If you can’t meet up until about 6pm, you might be best to head directly to Moon Dog.

The aim is to have a quiet drink with friends, not to go on a boozer or pub crawl. However, if you find you’ve had one or two too many drinks at the end of your night out, the good news is that your Brompton will have no trouble riding with you in the cab/uber/tram/train on your way home.  : )

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Outer Circle Rail Trail – Sunday 30 July 2017

UPDATED! Change of starting location (due to Run Melbourne)!!

This month we’re re-visiting a ride that we did earlier in the year; Melbourne’s Outer Circle rail trail.

Not quite as well-known as the Capital City Trail (which is a full loop), only a small section remains of the Outer Circle train line. As the trail’s name implies, we’re going to have to travel out into the suburbs to get to it; but thankfully not too far.

Where: Meet at Federation Square now meeting at Melbourne Museum (Nicholson St side) or East Malvern Station.
When: ~10:00am Melbourne Museum, ~10:40am East Malvern Station
Duration: 3-3.5 hours
Distance: ~40km

From Federation Square the Melbourne Museum, we will follow Main Yarra Trail upriver to Burnley, then cross the river to Kooyong. From here we will follow Gardiner Creek Trail south-east to Malvern East. Gardiner Creek Trail is quite pleasant, pretty flat, and easy to follow.

Roughly opposite the East Malvern Train Station we will pick up the Outer Circle Rail Trail and turn north again. The trail leads us through the suburbs of Ashburton, Camberwell, Deepdene, and Kew East, passing several “ghost stations” along the way. There are a couple of hills on the route, but we will take them as they come!

A nice stop for lunch might be at the Fairfield Park Boathouse, on the Yarra River. From here we will take Merri Creek Trail back to Green Park, and Canning Street south back to the city.

Here’s also a link to the map on Google. I realise the Google estimate for the route is 2h 20m but while we average about 15kph, when you add a stop for brunch/lunch, photos… it’s better to allow for a longer duration than need to rush.

When we did the ride in January it was a stinking hot day, but if the weather is not delightfully warm and sunny this time around (it is winter now, after all) please bring appropriate attire. Kindly also ensure your tyres are adequately pumped and your chain is lubricated.

Hot and tired after riding the Outer Circle Rail Trail in mid summer! Phew!

: )

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MBC calendar of events – 2017 (updated)

It’s been a little while since our calendar of events was first posted – in we’ve done a LOT in that time! – so probably time for an update.

If you would like to offer some suggestions for new routes or change of dates, please do so in the comments below

– – –

Sun 30/07 – MBC Club Ride: Outer Circle Rail Trail (Starting Fed Square, 10am)

– – –

Sat 12/08Melbourne Tram Museum (Admission is a gold coin donation)
Sun 27/08 – MBC Club Ride: (Train to Eltham (TBC) and ride back to the city via Main Yarra Trail

– – –

Sun 24/09 – MBC Club Ride: Castlemaine to Maldon (by VGR steam train) and return (by Brompton)
(Grand Final Friday 29/09)

– – –

Sun 08/10Around The Bay  Most of our MBC members will probably do the 50km option, but a few riders may join some of the Velo Cycles team and complete a longer course option. Last year we had two ‘teams’ (fast vs social) who completed the “50km” route (which, due to the bad conditions on the date, turned into a 60km route).

Sun 29/10 – MBC Club Ride (details TBC)

– – –

Melbourne Cup Day (Tues) 07/11 – suggestions welcome

Sun 26/11 – MBC Club Ride (details TBC)

– – –

Sun (TBC) – MBC Xmas/End of Year Party

– – –

Please note that the above is a draft only and any events organised by Melbourne Brompton Club (“MBC”) members are subject to change. I will do my best to advise in advance ride details on this blog, but for the most current information and conversation, please request to join our FaceBook group.

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Sunday ride to Williamstown

It’s been a little while since we’ve had a quiet, social ride just to ourselves… so I was wondering; are you free this Sunday, 9th July?

The Plan is to meet at “Cow Up A Tree” (Docklands) at 10am and ride around to Williamstown. A pretty cruisey affair, and great if you’ve just bought a Brompton, joined the group, or haven’t been riding much since it’s turned a bit nippy of a morning.

A stop for brunch/lunch at a cafe is definitely on the cards so bring something warm for when we stop.
If we decide to catch the punt back across to Fishermans Bend on the return leg (as we have previously) you’ll need $5 for the fare. 

As always, the route is subject to change on the day as decided by consensus agreement between whomever turns up.
Looking ahead to our end of month ride, the suggestion penciled in for Sunday 30th July is to venture out of Melbourne to Castlemaine (not far from Bendigo). There we catch the Victorian Goldfields Railway (steam train) to Maldon for lunch before riding back to Castlemaine.

This ride may be weather-dependent. A large portion of the ride is through a forest area on unsealed gravel tracks, and can get quite boggy.  

As always, if you wish to contribute a ride suggestion, please feel free to comment below. 

Happy Bromptoneering!

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Brompton Circuit – Get in the saddle and go!

Cory's M6L at Brunswick Velo

Cory’s M6L at Brunswick Velo

As a part of celebrating the 200th birthday of the bicycle, Bicycle Network are having a party at Brunswick Velodrome, (off Harrison Street in Brunswick East, or accessible via the Merri Creek Trail) on Sunday, June 11th from 11am until around 2pm..

There will be heaps happening, including something completely Bromptonesque.

Any Bromptonauts can rock up and participate in a ‘fun event’ we’re calling the ‘Brompton Circuit‘.  It’ll be a Le-Mans start, run and grab your bike, unfold, and then do a circuit of the velodrome.  It all depends upon how many we get, but if there’s more than around ten they’ll probably have multiple starts in waves – it’s mainly just to show off the wonder of the Brompton, than racing for glory.  So don’t be concerned if you’re worried about people taking things to seriously. Dress up, dress down, just bring your Brommie. We’ll all be winners on the day!

If you can make it, and you’re Facebookish, please add your name to the list on this event. Otherwise, we’ll see you there!

(Oh, and if you don’t mind hanging around after the ‘Circuit’ event and talking to people about Bromptons in general, head over to the Velo Cycles/Velo Electric & Folding marquee).

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Brompton bicycle 6-speed rear wheel removal and gear adjustment in pictures

You unfold your Brompton only to discover it has a flat rear tyre. You can get yourself and your Brompton home easily enough (public transport, a lift from a friend or family, taxi, uber) but what then? If you don’t have the skills or confidence to change your rear tyre, are you simply going to leave it until you can get to your local dealer? What if that’s not within 24hrs? You might need your Brompton before you can get it fixed by someone else.

I dunno about you, but even a day without my Brompton is just not worth contemplating.

Learning how to remove and refit your rear wheel and adjust your hub gears may be daunting at first, but once you’ve done it successfully for yourself, it’s quite straight-forward.

Now before you scroll straight to the comments to tell me this; yes, I know Brompton have You Tube videos showing you exactly how to do this. If you haven’t viewed them yet, it’s worth having a look:

Removing and refitting a rear wheel

Adjusting the three-speed gear hub

Keep in mind the 3 Speed Gear Adjustment also applies to your 6 speed Brompton because the video is only referring to the internal hub gears.

So why am I bothering with this post? Too much spare time? (That could be part of it.) But the main reason is I meet so may Brompton riders who claim they are not ‘mechanically minded’, yet they all acknowledge the value in at least knowing how to change a rear tyre should they ever have to. Although I find removing my rear tyre and adjusting the gears bothersome (because it generally means I’ve got a flat) it’s definitely not the feeling of dread or helplessness that it means for some.

This post is – hopefully – a slow walk-through of the steps required to take off your rear tyre, put it back on, and adjust your gears so they function properly.

NOTE: I am assuming you know how to check your tyre and patch your tube if you’ve got a flat. If not, watch this. Not everyone does it exactly the same way, but it’s a good one to follow if you don’t have prior experience. The Brompton toolkit comes with easy to use patches. Tucked away inside your frame,  the toolkit will be there when you need it.


You will need a 15mm spanner. The one in the Brompton toolkit is very handy. If you’re at home you might have another one you prefer to use.
A clean rag or paper towel to place parts on. I always carry a few folded paper towels in my bag – very handy for putting parts on or, indeed, wiping your hands afterwards.

In the photos below I’m using a bicycle stand. If you don’t have one (or you’re out and about) I prefer to work on my Brompton like this, as opposed to upside-down and resting on the gear levers:


Step 1: Completely deflate your tube (if it isn’t already completely flat)

Step 2: Make sure your hub gear is in third (i.e. highest gear using the right-hand gear lever)

When your hub gear is in third, the indicator chain should be slack like this:

Step 3: Loosen this lock nut just enough so that you can unscrew the barrel nut (tubular thing) above it.

Step 4: Don’t move the lock nut too much as it’ll be a guide for later. Completely unscrew the barrel nut, disconnecting the indicator chain (the bit I’m holding) from the gear cable as shown.

Step 5: Unscrew and remove the indicator chain from the hub and place somewhere clean. The end should be greasy, not dry – do not wipe it clean. Try to keep it clean as you don’t want to introduce anything (dirt, grit, water etc) into the hub.

Tip: If the grease on the end of your indicator chain appears dry (assess this without touching it), take your Brompton into your local dealer to have a look at your next opportunity. 

Step 6: Remove the nut (15mm spanner) while holding the chain tensioner (the black thing with the moving arm) in place. Do NOT lose the washer. (I’ve done that. Your Brompton will not work without it.) Put the washer and the nut on your clean rag / paper towel.

Step 7: Firmly hold chain tensioner in both hands and gently disengage the chain tensioner from the frame and the chain (you might need to wiggle it a little). Be prepared for the long arm of the chain tensioner to spring back – the internal spring is quite strong. You don’t want to lose your grip and have it fly up into your face.

[No picture because I’m using both hands to remove the chain tensioner]

Step 8: Loosen and remove (on each side) the 15mm nuts that hold the rear wheel on your bike.

Step 9: If the washer unhooks while you’re taking off the nut (see right photo), just slip it back into place until you’re ready to remove the wheel. The washer in the left photo is still in place.

Step 10: To loosen the washers, jiggle or bump the wheel gently from underneath.

Because your tyre is completely flat, the wheel should just slip out from between the brake pads and from the forks once the washers have been released. If you have a new tyre, or a Marathon/Marathon Plus tyre, you may need to pinch the tyre near the brake calipers to squeeze the tyre gently past the brake pads.

Disengage the chain from the sprockets and your wheel is free. If the chain wants to ‘stick’ to the sprocket (and you’re not twisting it) you should give your chain a clean and lubrication when you’re done with the rear wheel.

These are the parts on my clean rag/paper towel once the wheel has been removed:


Step 11: Repeat Steps 8 to 10 in reverse order to refit the wheel to your rear triangle/forks. The nuts should be tightened very firmly – you don’t want your wheel coming off, but at the same time you want to be able to undo those nuts again should you need to.

Step 12: Inflate your tyre and put the valve cap back on. Now is a great time to do this especially if you’ve just repaired a puncture; occasionally a patch doesn’t hold and it’s better to find out now, not after you’ve put everything back together again!

Step 13: Your first time re-fitting the chain tensioner can be an interesting experience; just remember that the axle goes through the round hole in the chain tensioner:

Which means that long arms needs to be turned around to point in the same direction as the short arm. Use two hands to get it in position as the internal spring is quite strong. Then follow the next six photos as captioned below:

Step 14: Replace the remaining washer and nut which hold the chain tensioner in place. You may have to lift the washer slightly to help it centre around the nut properly before tightening the nut with a 15mm spanner. Don’t over tighten – this nut is simply holding the chain tensioner in place and does not need the same amount of tightening as, for example, the nuts holding the wheels on do.

Once secured, try gently turning the pedals to make sure the chain moves freely in both directions before moving on to the next step.

Step 15: Guide the indicator chain into the hub through the nut and twist (to the right) until fully re-threaded into the hub.

Loosen/unwind the indicator chain by half a turn (180 degrees) and ensure the chain links are positioned to easily bend up towards the gear cable. Also check that the chain is moving over a flat surface – I’ll loosen the nut just slightly in the picture below to achieve this:-

Step 16: Screw the barrel nut back onto the indicator chain

If the two parts won’t reach, check which gear you’re in. You need to be in third (hub) gear. To demonstrate, the photo below was taken in first gear – clearly the two parts aren’t going to connect:-

Step 17: Tighten the barrel nut to roughly where the lock nut is. (Don’t get too excited and tighten the lock nut yet.)

Step 18: Change to SECOND hub gear

Step 19: Use a torch (phone, front bike light) to check how far the rod part of the indicator chain is sticking out. Brompton’s Technical Guide say you should see 1mm of rod when you’re in 2nd gear. In my photo I’m a little over 1mm so I need to loosen the barrel nut slightly.

Screenshot from Brompton’s Technical Guide showing the adjustment of the indicator chain in second gear for proper gear adjustment

Step 20: Adjust the barrel nut until the indicator chain is correctly tensioned.

Step 21: Once I’m happy it’s right, I’ll tighten the lock nut (use two hands to make sure the barrel nut doesn’t move). I only ever make this finger-tight, but I do it up as tight as I can with just my fingers. I never use pliers or any other tool to tighten the lock nut as I may not have tools available when I need to loosen it.

Step 22: While your Brompton is on the stand (or resting on it’s back), test all the gears (including the derailleur) to make sure they’re working smoothly.

Step 23: Take it for a test ride. Even when using my bike maintenance stand, no matter how well I think I’ve put it back the way it was, I never get it quite right. When I’m out on the street and need to adjust my gears, I find putting my Brompton into the ‘parked’ position makes is the most convenient and stable way to go about this task.

So if you’ve followed all the steps above but those gears aren’t quite working correctly, here’s how to troubleshoot adjusting your hub gears…


  1. Double check that you can see 1mm of rod (using the peep-hole of the nut that your indicator chain slides through) whilst your Brompton is in second gear (refer back to Step 18).
  2. Remember how the indicator chain looks in each of the three gears:
    -> Tight in first gear
    -> Some play in second gear
    -> Loose in third gear
    If you’re having trouble moving down gears, you should tighten your indicator chain, and
    If there’s a lag when changing up gears, you should loosen you indicator chain.
  3. Make sure you’re in third gear before trying to adjust your indicator chain, or there will be too much tension on the indicator chain to allow you to do this properly.

Keep in mind that you may only need to turn the barrel nut on the indicator chain only half, or even a quarter or a turn to achieve the desired result. If you find you’re not able to get into ether first or third gear at all, you will need to tighten/loosen the barrel nut a whole turn (or perhaps two) before fine-tuning it.

: )

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Melbourne Brompton Club – ride calendar May to June 2017

While we try to have a MBC social ride at least once a month – usually on the last Sunday of the month – there is nothing currently planned for April.

To make up for it, we are piggy-backing on three family-friendly events in May that are open to the public.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

“BAD” by name, but not by nature. The Ballarat Autumn Day Ride is open to all bicyclists.

Registration fees are very reasonably priced, at $30 for an adult early bird registration (this increased to $40 from 27 April). There are also concession and family registration options, and lunch can be pre-purchased as long as you register prior to 27 April. Click here (or above) to register to ride.

There are two route options; 50km and 100km – I expect most, if not all, of Melbourne Brompton Club will chose the 50km option. The route is not expected to be excessively hilly, and you can ride at your own pace.


The ride starts early on Sunday, so if anyone is planning to make a weekend of it and wants to catch up for dinner at The Forge on Saturday night, let me know by Saturday, 29 April.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Ballarat Tweed Ride – 2016

Tweed rides are a lot of fun! If you don’t have actual tweed to wear, search online for inspiration and maybe visit a few op-shops to help you get close to the right look. They also tend to be easy rides because the vintage bicycles – while fabulous to look at – are not the sturdy or comfortable ride your Brompton is.

The Grainger Museum is within the grounds of the University of Melbourne. The event website provides a map as well as written details on how to find the museum.

Start time is 9am. Registration is free. Attendance is indicated via the ride’s Facebook page, which confirms this the 2017 event will follow “the same format as last year, starting at the a Grainger Museum in Royal Parade, Parkville, riding through the parklands and behind the zoo to the river, them along the river into Dockland, into the city along the Yarra and finishing at the Mitre Tavern in Bank Pl”

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Melbourne Tweed Ride (official photo)

Previously held on the same weekend as Mother’s Day, this year the Ballarat Tweed Ride is at the end of the month, amongst the Ballarat Heritage Weekend (“BHW”) festivities.

There is no registration fee, and as yet nowhere to indicate your participation, but keep an eye on the Facebook page for further updates. The start time (10am) and starting location (the street behind the art gallery) are the same as last year. This even is very easy to do as a day trip from Melbourne by car or train, or stay the weekend and check out some of the other BHW events while you’re there.

The 2016 Ballarat Tweed Ride was quite short, but there was an unofficial ride around the lake afterwards. As per my comments above regarding the Melbourne Tween Ride, the group is not riding at a fast pace due to the social nature of the activity and the tri/bicycles themselves.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Exiting the last (and easiest) cobblestone section

In contrast to the social, family-friendly, fun rides in May, riding Roobaix is designed to be a challenge. The tag line isn’t “The Hell of The Northcote” for nothing. However, unlike the Paris Roubaix which inspired this event, Melburn Roobaix ISN’T a race… but it does still have a number of cobblestone sectors which, on a cold (and possibly wet) mid-winter morning can be very slippery. The official route will take you down dirt tracks which are likely to be deep and slippery mud by the time you get there. There will be steep streets, tree roots and traffic.

So if you’re up for a challenge register online ($80 per rider, includes insurance) and let us know you’re coming along. The start is frequently at Hawthorn Velodrome and last year the finish was in a park near Brunswick Velodrome (because that was obviously the perfect weekend to start resurfacing the velodrome…)

Dress up or dress sensibly. In the end, it’s all for fun.

And either way, you’re gonna get dirty.

: )

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February MBC Ride – Bellarine Rail Trail – Sun, 26 Feb 2017

Meaning “elbow” in a local aboriginal language, Bellarine is the region neighbouring Geelong, the peninsular forming the south-western side of Port Phillip Bay (the Mornington Peninsular forms the south-east side).

The "elbow" of the Bellarine Peninsular juts into Port Phillip Bay from the west.

The “elbow” of the Bellarine Peninsular juts into Port Phillip Bay from the west.

Bellarine Rail Trail map (source geelongaustralia.com.au)

Bellarine Rail Trail map (source geelongaustralia.com.au)

Our end of month ride is a multimodal adventure along the Bellarine Rail Trail (pictured above), which connects Geelong and Queenscliff.

The plan is to catch a train from Southern Cross Station (Melbourne) to South Geelong, then follow the Bellarine Rail Trail (“BRT”) to Drysdale, roughly half way along the route. From there we’ll catch a heritage (steam?) train the rest of the way to Queenscliff where we’ll stop for lunch and photos. We’ll retrace our route, departing Queenscliff at 3pm on the heritage train, and riding from Drysdale back to Geelong.

‘The Plan’ in detail

Meet at 9:00am at the latest at Southern Cross Station. We will catch the 9:10am VLine train to Waurn Ponds. This train will take 1h 4min to reach our stop of South Geelong Station.

VLine train from Southern Cross Station to South Geelong Station

VLine train from Southern Cross Station to South Geelong Station

Arriving at South Geelong Station at 10:15am, we have two hours to ride 16km to Drysdale to catch the 12:10pm Bellarine Heritage Trail to Queenscliff.

The BRT’s fairly flat gradient is had some gradual climbs in places. There’s a very good gradient chart here – as you’ll see, there’s hardly any climbing at all, with the highest point we ride to (i.e. Drysdale) a mere 63m above sea level. We should have plenty of time to ride to Drysdale at a comfortable pace.

The town of Drysdale was originally known as Bellarine. Its Post Office opened in 1855, and the railway reached it in 1879. The station was closed nearly 100 years later, but while Drysdale may no longer be connected to Geelong by rail, it the station has since been re-opened and Drysdale remains a railway town thanks to the Bellarine Railway.

As mentioned before, we will catch the 12:10pm Heritage Train (which I think will be pulled by a steam engine) the rest of the journey (roughly 17km) to Queenscliff. Tickets may be purchased online prior to the day of travel, or at the station on the day. If you intend to join the ride, I recommend buying online as I’m not sure how packed the service will be and I don’t want some of the group to be left behind.

Heritage Rail tickets are $30 return for an adult. (We will return from Queenscliff on the 3:00pm train.)

The Heritage Train will arrive at Queenscliff at 1:00pm, which allows us 2hrs to have lunch, explore and take photos.

Departing Queenscliff at 3:00pm, the Heritage Train does the hard work in taking us back uphill to Drysdale as we sit back and digest lunch. The train arrives back at Drysdale at 3:50pm.

Given we’re now riding downhill, we could make good time and catch the 4:43pm train from South Geelong Station back to Southern Cross. If we’re not in so much of a hurry (or miss it) the next service is at 5:43pm. Both services take 1hr 11min to reach Southern Cross Station.

As this will be a full day out, please ensure you are adequately dressed and prepared for the weather. Bring a water bottle, suncream, sunglasses, a snack if you think you’ll need it as morning/afternoon tea. Please ensure you have checked your tyre pressures the day before, and that your Brompton is in good working order (as usual).

If you have any questions or comments please post them below. Hope to see you along next Sunday!
: )

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