As I posted on Friday, our destination today was to be Fairfield Park Boathouse & Tea Gardens. But even the best laid plans usually don’t last past the first engagement…
In what’s becoming something of a tradition, we started our ride at Federation Square. Despite our efforts to the contrary, Stephen and I were, once again, running about 10min late! It was a miracle we made it to #BUCMEL on time! (Yes, I think in hashags sometimes.) Stanley and Cory were already patiently waiting for us, but we still hung around for a bit to see if any other Bromptoneers might turn up.
After waiting for a further 10min the call was made to ride and we pushed off.
It wasn’t a fast start. We cruised slowly through the car show by 100mm at Birrarung Marr, checking out the customised cars and raising eyebrows (at least I was) at the Saint Side customised bikes. You’ve got to be dedicated to own, use, and maintain one of those! I mean, imagine polishing it!
Diversion over, we cranked up the pace somewhat. Definitely faster that our usual group riding pace but as there was just the four of us there was no reason to hold back. Stephen, in the lead at the start, set a good pace we could all stick to.
(Unbeknownst to us, Red was pedalling hard, trying to catch us up…)
Setting a pace too fast for taking photos (and ok, I was being lazy), we didn’t stop until the shared foot-cycle bridge at the end of Burnley Street, Abbotsford before taking a short drink break.
It’s a steep enough ride up through Dickinson Reserve, but coasting down Yarra Boulevard makes up for it. There’s one or two opportunities for a decent photo along here, too.
The trail just north of the Abbotsford Children’s Farm is, I think, some of the most scenic along the river, so I made an effort to take a few photos here. As I grip my phone in my right hand, my rather meaty thumb often presses the effects option on the screen and consequently I don’t have as many photos as I’d like.
And then came Dights falls. Having recently posted the route, I thought I had this one. I was in the lead, but then the call came to stop… I was going the wrong way…? Apparently the sign said the boathouse was the other way, you know, following the Yarra River?
I glanced at the sign as I passed it; it didn’t say Fairfield Park Boathouse, but I accepted (what seemed to be a 3:1 vote) that this could be an alternative route to the same place, and maybe it had changed name. How would I know? I’m not as ‘local’ as the other three are.
On a new track, but not exactly breaking new ground – the first time Stephen and I had ridden on a similar type dirt ‘bush’ trail was in south Hobart, but this track had more light gravel (small, not deep) and I’m pleased to say the Brompton did really well.
Back on bitumen we passed a driving range before crossing the Yarra on Kanes Bridge. I did a bit more head scratching at this point (I didn’t remember needing to cross the Yarra) but the others were already across and hey, plans don’t last past the first engagement – especially on MBC rides! Besides, no one else had joined us…
(Meanwhile, Red turned left after Dights falls and pedaled on to Fairfield Park Boathouse, hoping to catch us there…)
Definitely time for food and drink! We had a frozen berry thing while Cory and Stanley really indulged…
The place looked like the photo on the Fairfield Park Boathouse website so I thought nothing more about being in the wrong spot… until Cory said he had messages from a couple of others asking where we were. Uh…
“But this is the one I thought we were coming to.”
“It’s still a boathouse.”
“And it’s on the Yarra.”
Lewis had planned to join us at the Fairfield Park Boathouse because it was closer for him than Fed Square, and Red could follow the directions our group hadn’t.
Whether it was our greater number, or persuasion, or the way we’d settled in at Studley Park Boathouse quite comfortably, it eventuated that Lewis and Red joined us at the other boathouse on the Yarra River here ’bouts. Red came complete with a tale of climbing stairs and scaling walls… I’m not sure what route they took, but I’m glad we weren’t going that way over to Fairfield Park Boathouse!
Here’s (a) the original plan, (b) what we did, (c) what I thought we might have been doing, and (d) the solution to the problem that Red and Lewis (were?) volunteered to do:
A couple of coffees, bike inspections, and general chat later it was time to get underway again. A little slower this time. We were just a little tired from the first leg and Red is having issues with his new gearing, I think. We back-tracked through Yarra Bend Park to join Merri Creek/Capital City Trail. I didn’t mind going a little slower. I think this a beautiful track to cycle along.
After Rushall Station we rejoined Capital City Trail. I didn’t realise I’d switched from no effects to a monochrome setting (that happens when you can’t see what you’re doing). But I don’t mind how this has turned out.
Stephen and I farewelled the others at Green Park; I’m not sure where the others split off.
Despite our poor attention to detail this ride, we still managed to enjoy a ride to a boathouse on the Yarra, and on the whole it was very pleasant.
Apologies to Lewis and Red, and a big “Thank You” for coming along. We hope your first MBC ride hasn’t put you (or anyone else) off coming along on future rides! We’ll try to know where we’re going next time. 😉
Thanks once again to both Stanley (@stanleytankh) and Cory (@baudman) for allowing me to use some of their photos in this post.
Finally, here is a short (3min) video that Stanley has put together of today’s ride.
At this stage our next ride is likely to be 29th November. Stay tuned for more or join the conversation on our Facebook page.
Happy riding 🙂