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