Paraparap via Pollocksford: Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Seven cyclists set off from Rippleside Park.  While the gender balance wasn’t 50/50, at least there were two girls – Karen and Helen.  Shane, David F, Barry, Mike C and Doug made up the peloton.  After a gentle climb up Church Street to McCurdy’s Road, the riders swept down Highland Street to Fyansford and followed the Hamilton Highway west to Pollocksford Road.

The weather was cool and the winds south westerly.

It was good to see that a large, wheel-eating pothole on Pollocksford Road has finally been repaired.  As ride leader Helen approached the bridge over the Barwon River, she was very concerned to see Barry about to cross with a vehicle coming the other way.  This is a reminder to leaders to give warning of known hazards.  Luckily, prudence on Barry’s part averted a potential risky clash.  The long ascent to Barrabool Road is one of the best in the district.  There are two short sharp steep sections, a long gentle ascent between an avenue of trees and a final push to the top after the road turns south.  The riders regrouped at Barrabool Road for a photo.

Shane, Mike, Barry, Karen, David, Doug

Shane, Mike, Barry, Karen, David, Doug at intersection of Pollocksford and Barrabool Roads.

After turning west along Barrabool Road the cyclists continued to its end at the Princes Highway before crossing over and continuing south on Considines and Church Roads.  The intersection of Larcombes Road marked the furthest outward point.  Turning back to the east the riders followed quiet roads to Anglesea Road, and a coffee stop at the ultra-popular  Freshwater Creek Cake Shop.

The route back to Geelong followed more quiet roads – Dickens Road, Ghazeepore Road, a short section on the Waurn Ponds Creek bike path, and then into Highton and Belmont before crossing the Barwon on the MacIntyre Footbridge.  The river path to Swanston Stret was very quiet after Saturday’s congestion.  The circuit concluded with the cyclists riding up Swanston Street (not temped to a second stop at the newly opened Little Creatures Brewery) and along the waterfront.  By this stage the gender balance had changed considerably – with only the two girls left.

The whole circuit was 75km, the roads (apart from two short sections along bike lanes on highways) very quiet, and there was, like all good ‘lazy cyclist’ rides, a tail wind to help push the riders home.

Take care:

  • Highland Street – steep fast downhill – The top few hundred metres of the road is now quite corrugated.
  • Lack of sealed shoulder on Hamilton from Fyansford to the Geelong Ring Road flyover.
  • Crossing of Princes Highway – short unsealed section during works to duplicate the road.  Fast traffic – care required while making the crossing.
  • Care needed crossing Cape Otway Road (fast traffic).  Paraparap ride map

Waterfront path still closed: your help needed

The lower Waterfront (Bob McGovern) shared path is still closed – more than three months after erosion was first identified.

Still closed after winter storms!

Still closed after winter storms!

It takes combined action to get results.  Contact your ward councillor, the mayor, Darryn Lyons, or the city council directly to ask for the path to be repaired and reopened.

To publicise the issue, write a letter to the editor at the Geelong Advertiser or comment online.

The path closure is an inconvenience to all path users and an embarrassment for our city.  Visitors walking the bollard walk between Cunningham Pier and Rippleside Park are confronted with this evidence of a city that would rather post a sign that fix a problem.

On Ya Bike! – Allan’s Mystery Ride

Seniors Month is almost over and after four successful On Ya Bike! rides led by Rod, Peter, Stella and Paul, the final ride of the series is Allan’s Mystery Ride next Wednesday.

This will be the longest in the Seniors Month series – a circuit of around 70km.  Allan has chosen an interesting (but mysterious) course, on sealed roads and paths.  We do know that there will be a coffee stop somewhere along the route.  With Allan’s excellent planning, and his fisherman’s eye for the weather, it’s likely that there will be a tail wind to bring us home.

If you’d like to join us, the ride leaves at 9AM from Rippleside Park, Rippleside.  You need a roadworthy bike, a helmet and the bike fitness to maintain around at 20kph on-the-bike average speed over 70km in normal riding conditions.

Keep those pedals turning.

That other ‘Around the Bay in a Day’

ATB2013-INdented-Head-rest-areaThe serious boys and girls were out today – cycling around that other bay – Port Phillip Bay.  (Riders entering the Indented Head Rest Area – 120km down, 130 to go.)

Distances available varied.  The easiest were a Family Ride of 20km and a 50km ride that included a ride over West Gate Bridge.  Then there were several 100km options, a 135 km ride starting at Geelong, the Classic Around the Bay of 210 km and, finally, the challenge of 250km in a day, taking in a loop around the Bellarine Peninsula through Drysdale, Portarlington, Indented Head and St Leonards, including just a few undulations to get those legs working.

Most of the cyclists on the 250km route were ultra fit and ultra serious – millions of dollars worth of top end carbon fibre passed before our eyes, as well as a few beloved treadlies.

131020 ATB raleigh folder webThis old Raleigh folder was ‘the best’, with 3 speed Sturmy Archer internal rear hub, it beat the single speed this rider rode in 2012.  It was 9:46AM and he was cruising with only 130km to go.

Not all were quite so serious.  131020 ATBGeelong-Q'cliff returnwebOne of the more colourful riders

This single speed cutie may seem a little eccentric – but it carried this gent from Geelong to Queenscliff via Portarlington and back to Geelong – a distance of around 90km.

In all, at least 14,000 cyclists participated over all the rides.  The 250 route was limited, as far as I know, to 2,000 people, and sold out.  I find this wording from the Around the Bay website a little interesting:

‘The 250km ride starts in Alexandra Gardens and travels anti-clockwise around the bay through the Belarine Peninsula to Queenscliff where the ferry then transports riders to Sorrento before making its way back to Melbourne, to the finish line in Alexandra Gardens.’  (This is one amazing ferry!)

Riders came from all over Australia and abroad.

131020canberra girls2webThis trio came from Canberra and were looking fit and ready for anything after 120km.

Can’t get enough of a good thing?  A sense of deja vous

131020 ATB aiming for 300 - 2nd time through IH rest areawebThey rolled in at around 10:50AM looking cool and relaxed.  Their faces looked familiar.  ‘This is our second time through,’ one said.

Not content with 250 km in a day, they’d decided to ride an extra Bellarine Peninsula loop to give a total of 300km.  Bravo!

Congratulations to all the riders, and the hundreds of support volunteers without whom this sort of ride wouldn’t be possible.

Keep those pedals turning.

On ya Bike! Drysdale via the Bellarine Rail Trail

Over 30 cyclists braved the strong northerly wind yesterday to ride from Geelong to Drysdale on the Bellarine Rail Trail.  This was the third On Ya Bike! ride for Seniors Month, 2013.

The rail trail is sealed for some of this ride.  We hear that funding has now been obtained to seal this section of the trail fully.  OTB Drysdale 1 webJust a few of the cyclists enjoying a break at Cafe Zoo in Drysdale.

The experience of sealing rail trails has been shown to be a boost for tourism. The Bellarine Rail Trail is already popular with locals, and used by some tourists on holiday.  When it is finally sealed all the way from Geelong to Queenscliff, we can expect in influx of cycle tourists.

If you’d like to join us for the next On Ya Bike! meet us a the starting point, South Barwon Reserve, Belmont (entry from Barwon Heads Road) at 9AM next Wednesday, October 23rd, for a ride to Barwon Heads.

Ride to Work Day

Yesterday, Wednesday 16th, 2013, was Ride to Work Day all over Australia.  According to the Victorian Bicycle Network over 150,000 cyclists were registered to ride.

The Geelong gathering was in Gore Place, off Corio Street.  There were cyclists and bicycles in all shapes and sizes, all enjoying the beautiful hot spring weather – a perfect way to start the day with a free breakfast at a participating coffee shop around the city.  Then it was off to all points of the compass to start the day’s work.

Statistics are not yet in for the Geelong region, but looking at the number of cyclists cycling along the waterfront and then south of the city, there were hundreds more than usually cycle to work.  Let’s hope that some of them become regular commuting cyclists.

The more people ride bikes, the more aware other road users become of cyclists, and the safer cycling becomes.

On Ya Bike!

October is Seniors Month in Geelong.  Cycling Geelong is running weekly bike rides around the Geelong region.   The rides are recreational, and open to all – no age limit.

The third ride is this Wednesday (October 16th) starting from the Rail Trail, corner Breakwater Road and Carr Streets, South Geelong at 9AM.

Cyclists need a roadworthy bike and approved helmet.  The ride is approximately 40 kilometres.

There will be a coffee stop.  Image

Starters on last week’s On Ya Bike! ride to Lara.