Last Sunday’s Joint Ride with Geelong Touring Cyclists was our first chance to check out the newly sealed shoulders on Murradoc Road.
There were seven riders – Pam and Harry from GTC and David (J and F), John, Kelly and Helen from Cycling Geelong.
It was cool and the wind was mainly southerly. After early morning rain, the roads around Geelong were wet, but there was little or no rain during the ride itself.
At Drysdale, the riders turned right onto Murradoc Road. After around a kilometre the new lane starts. The lane is around 1.5 metres wide. The surface is fair only – stony and quite rough. Would motorists accept this? I doubt it. However, despite this, the improvement in cyclist safety is wonderful. The slow ascent (slow for Helen, anyway) to the top of the hill (Mt Bellarine?) felt much more secure. The ascent to St Leonards was bumpy, especially at speed, on the new lane. After crossing Portarlington-Queenscliff Roundabout the old, very narrow lane resumes. Vegetation has reduced this to around 50cm in many places, with a killer rumble line dividing cyclists from fast motor traffic. The surface of the narrow sealed shoulder was better, however, than the new section.
With a short detour around Bluff Road, the riders enjoyed a most welcome coffee stop at Cafe Ink in St Leonards.
The ride to Portarlington was fast – with a strong southerly wind making for a pace of 30+kph. This helped tired legs regain a bit of strength before the ascent of the hills between Portarlington and Drysdale. Pam and Harry disappeared into the distance (we met up with Pam again at Drysdale). Kelly was suffering the effects of ‘football knee’ and, as usual, Helen was slow on the hills.
Back in Geelong, Kelly’s sore knee was forgotten as thigh cramps made cycling difficult, but, ever stoic, he managed to ride through the pain back to North Geelong and home to Corio. Total distance Rippleside to Rippleside – 84km.