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.

Overview
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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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)
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