Maribyrnong River Trail – Footscray Park to Brimbank Park

Our November club ride was our most adventurous one to date, coming in at about 45km for the return trip from Footscray Park to Brimbank Park.

T’was a cloudy day, but not cold, or windy. Lovely for a ride, in fact. We had a few new Bromptoneers along this month; luckily, because a few of our regulars weren’t able to make this month’s ride, although Cory came to the meeting point to see us off.

It looks like Cory's giving us a pep talk, but it wasn't quite like that...

It looks like Cory’s giving us a pep talk, but it wasn’t quite like that…

Whereas this is exactly what it seems ;) Cory demonstrating a #BromptonLift

Whereas this is exactly what it seems 😉
Cory demonstrating a #BromptonLift

As the whole ride followed the Maribyrnong River, I didn’t anticipate it to be a very hard ride – just a long-ish one. According to Strava we cruised along at a very comfortable 13.5kph (almost 8.4mph) average speed on the ride upriver. (Unfortunately I mustn’t have set the app properly for the ride back and I didn’t get a record. We followed the same route, though.)

While not as scenic as the Merri Creek Trail (ok, I could be biased), the Maribyrnong River Trail is very popular, and along the first few kilometres we had plenty company from other cyclists, joggers, walkers and the occasional dog.

It's no surprise that this stretch of the Maribyrnong River is used by rowing clubs

It’s no surprise that this stretch of the Maribyrnong River is used by rowing clubs

After crossing the footbridge near the end of Chifley Drive we were more or less on our own except for an occasional cyclist.

Crossing the footbridge at the end of Chifley Drive across to the north bank of the river

Crossing the footbridge at the end of Chifley Drive across to the north bank of the river

Crossing a creek - I had no idea what was on the other side yet...

Crossing a creek – I had no idea what was on the other side yet…

The zig-zag climb up to the park off Prospect Street was steep and sudden (and felt higher than the 25m Strava says it was) but we all made it without getting off our bikes. We stopped here for our first group photos since starting out… and to rest our legs for a bit.

Since everyone was keen to keep going, we set off to explore further. A few longer zigzags riding downhill and we were in Steele Creek Reserve – and hellooo sand!

Canning Reserve was somewhat... unexpected

Canning Reserve was somewhat… unexpected (not so sandy right here)

Not keen to ride up and down what looked like dirt bike tracks, Stanley whipped out his phone and shortly set us on the right path – towards the river. That was something of a relief! A much better track; gravelly, but compact, with just some minor sections of loose top soil/sand.

Back on a more solid path. Kind of.

Back on a more solid path. Kind of.

The most surprising aspect of this ride (not having ridden this trail before) was that two-thirds of it turned out to be on a gravel track – not just the short section through Steele Creek Reserve (which continues into Canning Reserve) indicated on Google Maps, which was much sandier than the rest of the trail.

There's some good bird watching along the river. This is a chestnut teal (duck) resting on the rock in the middle of the creek

There’s some good bird watching along the river. This is a chestnut teal (duck) resting on the rock in the middle of the creek

Chestnut Teal

Chestnut Teal

Aside from one short section, that’s how the trail continued for the rest of the way to Brimbank Park. Some parks we rode through are very popular – like Thompson Street Reserve, where there were numerous groups enjoying picnics or fishing in the river – and we continued to pass the occasional cyclist, sometimes in small groups along the trail.

Taking a short stop at Thompson Street Reserve

Taking a short stop at Thompson Street Reserve

Brimbank Park was even more popular than Thompson Street Reserve (possibly due to the availability of more car parking spaces). It’s a really lovely park, down below the Keilor Plains, in the valley carved out over millennia by the Maribyrnong River.

We had arrived at Brimbank Park! Now to find the cafe!

We had arrived at Brimbank Park! Now to find the cafe!

(If you’re interested here is a link to more information including history, fauna and flora of the area on the Maribyrnong River.)

The only question now was – where was the cafe? I was convinced it was up the top of the hill, as I remembered there being a big bump right at the end of the elevation graph when I plotted our route in the lead up to this ride. So, we rode up the rather steep path only to find…

Nothing.

We rode all the way up that hill, just to find... nothing.

We rode all the way up that hill, just to find… nothing.

But it was an awesome ride down again! And if Strava is to be believed, I got up to 50kph (31mph).

At least we got there in the end, and by the time we arrived it was definitely lunchtime. Thank goodness Leaping Lizard Cafe does unexpectedly good food! The even cook (not just re-heat) it there themselves! We were all quite impressed.

Leaping Lizard Cafe at last!

Leaping Lizard Cafe at last!

Good things come in threes

Good things come in threes

Here are some maps of our route from Footscray Park to (eventually) Leaping Lizard Cafe, Brimbank Park:

Sufficiently sated, rehydrated and rested, it was time to head back the way we’d come.

Since we were re-tracing our path downstream the return ride felt just that little bit easier. Even negotiating the sandy paths of Canning Reserve seemed just a little more straight forward than before.

I can’t remember who saw it first (it wasn’t me) – and I’ve no idea how we missed it on the ride up – but we just HAD to stop and take a photo of the giraffe in this backyard on Chifley Street.

How did we miss this giraffe on the way up? - #Melbourne #Brompton Club Ride Nov 2015

How did we miss this giraffe on the way up?

Don’t worry; it’s neither an escapee from Melbourne or Werribee Zoo, nor someone’s idea of an easy way to trim the neighbour’s trees back. It’s not alive, but it does look pretty realistic at first glance!

And soon enough we were back to where we started – Footscray Park.

The official ride may have been over, but now it was time to ride home! What better way to finish off a great day?

Before you leave us, Stanley has once again put together  short clip from our ride, so be sure to check it out:

MBC rides coming soon:

Ride to Mountain Goat Brewery is this Friday evening 11th December 205. If you’re over 18yo and turn up on a bike (not just a Brompton) you get a free beer. Sound good? Follow the link for more details.

MBC’s Christmas Celebration! Next month’s ride has been brought forward to next Sunday, 13 December. We’re asking everyone to ride to the Australian Native Garden section of Royal Park (in Parkville) for our last get together of the year. Not exactly a group ride, but a gathering of Bromptons all the same. Bring your Brommie and a plate of something yummy and share some festive fun. Follow the link for more details.

Should you have problems with the above links or have any further queries please leave a comment below if you need more information. We hope to see you all soon.

Happy riding everyone! 🙂

Advertisements

About Dayna

I'm interested in nature, hiking and photography - but these have been somewhat overwhelmed by a new passion... my Brompton folding bikes! You can follow me on Twitter: @daynaa2000 or @Brompton_MEL Or find me hanging out most Saturdays at Velo Electric & Folding (http://velocycles.com.au/folding-bikes/) or on a Melbourne Brompton Club ride! (https://melbournebromptonclub.wordpress.com)
This entry was posted in Club Rides, NEWS and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Maribyrnong River Trail – Footscray Park to Brimbank Park

  1. Jane says:

    Once again, this looks like a whole lot of fun, Dayna! I’m impressed by the Brompton’s performance on gravel roads. Glad you found a cafe in the end! Cool giraffe sighting. 😉 Well done on you people organising these trips. How wonderful are Bromptons! Nice to see cycling clubs which don’t have to involve owning a racing bike and competitiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dayna says:

      Thanks Jane 🙂
      Bromptoneers can be as competitive as anyone else, really (or maybe I’m just speaking for myself…) but on a group ride we try to cater for everyone and concentrate on enjoying the day. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Ride to Brimbank Park – Sunday, 17 September 2017 | MELBOURNE BROMPTON CLUB

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s