Northern Bike Paths: Sunday June 24th, 2017

We’re past the shortest day and winter has set in with strong cold winds and grey skies.  Only two riders appeared at Rippleside for the start of a short circuit on a few of our norther paths.  Karen had been foiled by an incident which closed North Shore level crossing.

Richard and Helen (ride leader) set off north around the waterfront to the School Road path near GGS.  This leads to the Ted Wilson Trail.  Along the trail ride numbers increased by 50% when Lynton (somewhat sleep deprived) joined the ride.  The route followed Ted Wilson Trail to Church Street.  It was then a quick wind-assisted descent to coffee at Soft Cafe in Minerva Road.  The cafe was warm, coffee good, and conversation flowed.  It was difficult to get back into the cold and onto bikes for the ride home.  At this point riders went their separate ways, with only Helen completing the circuit along the Cementworks Railway path to Douro Street (via a stop-off to visit Coralie in rehab. at Grace McKellar) and then back to Rippleside Park via the Margaret Street overpass.  By this time the skies were stormy and the wind gale-force.

However, this was a most enjoyable ride – short enough and easy enough that it can easily be accomplished by most riders.

Next week’s ride is the annual Ted Wilson Memorial Ride, led by Maree Burn.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Riders on last year’s Ted Wilson Memorial Ride

Barwon, Bay & Burbs: Sunday January 3rd, 2016

This weekend is windy.  Strong easterlies may deter fishermen, but not the fourteen intrepid cyclists who pedalled this morning’s easy ride.  David J, Kelly, Ric, Allan, Sandra, Colleen, Roger, Rosemary, Wendy, Laura and Neil, John M and Richard were led around the circuit by Helen.  150103 Barwon Bay & Burbs_0508ACR edit

160103 Barwon Bay and Burbs

Allan Marshall instigated this popular ride in the early years of the club, and it’s still a great circuit.  (Allan tells me that the original circuit takes in Boundary Road and Eastern Park.)  Today the route was slightly shorter.  From the Breakwater the route passes the Race Club and Show Grounds, before joining the waterfront at Garden Street.

As it was too early for The Boathouse to be open, the riders had coffee overlooking the bay at The Wharfshed Cafe.  (Coffee is some of the most expensive on offer in Geelong – $4 for small and $5.50 for a large cup.)

The return route was along the waterfront to Rippleside, across the Margaret Street overpass to the start of the Cement Works Rail Trail in Douro Street.  This path is one of the oldest rail trails around, and is alongside the railway that was used from 1926 until the at least the 1970s.  The extensive lines within the old cement works included a 1.3km tunnel, used to transport limestone from the Fyansford quarry to the cement works.  (Photos below.) Originally the trains were powered by steam, but by the 1970s cement was transported down the line to join the tracks at North Geelong by diesel locomotive.  The path is mainly now used for recreation but was once a useful commuting trail for workers and school children.  At least one family of Fyansford children rode single speed bikes up Hyland Street (12% gradient) then along the Cement Works Railway path to school at Bell Park High School.  (There were no family taxis in those days!)

Today’s riders rode down Hyland Street, which has recently been upgraded (though the gradient stayed the same).  Allan showed his former racing skills passing all at high speed on the smooth downhill.  Roger left the ride at the bottom of this ascent, determined to ride back up.  “I came down at 56kph.  I’ll go back up at 6,” he quipped.   With the upgrade a bike lane has been added to the ascent, making this much safer than in the past.

A leisurely ride along the river soon brought the riders back to the start.  It was good to see so many regular Saturday riders enjoying a slightly longer Sunday ride.  Keep your eyes open for more easy-medium Sunday rides.

Thanks to all riders for braving the elements, and to Rosemary and John for being our tail end Charlies.

Back at Balyang…  The riders go their separate ways.

Two photos showing the Fyansford Railway Tunnel.


Geelong Circuit: Sunday 27th December, 2015

There’s nothing much lonelier than turning up to a ride and being the only one there!  Rippleside Park was pretty quiet.  A few joggers did circuits, egged by a personal trainer.  There were no cars, and no cyclists.  It was cool, partly overcast and the wind was light from the south west – perfect for a post-Christmas ride.  After a circuit of the park, there was the reward of another rider.  Richard’s Irish drawl, “Is this where the ride starts?”  After waiting the mandatory extra five minutes for stragglers (where are you John?) we set off to the overpass for the start of the old Cement Works railway path.  This was ultra-quiet, as were the usually busy crossings of Thompson Road, Ballarat Road and Church Street.  The drizzle made for a careful descent of Hyland Street.

Richard has recently completed a bike tour from Warrnambool to the Grampians and back to Geelong via Skipton, enduring a ride across gravel back roads in searing 35+ heat, so strength was not a problem.  The original route was varied to include Merrawarp Road and Cochranes Road, rather than going through Highton.  Richard’s Trek road bike has high gearing, but strong legs more than compensated on the climb to Ceres on Barrabool Road.  The cruise along Cochranes Road and the old highway cul de sac at Waurn Ponds was a dream.  The Baanip Boulevard bike path was new to Richard, and the wind was now assisting the pedals.  The eastern section of Boundary Road has become busier, with motorists using this route from the Ring Road and Baanip Boulevard to Barwon Heads Road.  Horseshoe Bend Road was quiet, and crossing Barwon Heads Road to South Barwon Reserve easily accomplished.  Here Richard met up with the riders from GTC, who’d ridden down towards Barwon Heads with leader John.  Our missing President, John M, cruised in whilst we were chatting.  He’d had a mechanical incident and missed the start.

Where was coffee?  With no coffee shops on the route so far (Narana isn’t open on Sundays, and most small shops closed for a well-earned four day break over Christmas) the best option was …

  • to do without and ride straight back to Rippleside,
  • to go along the river to Little Creatures;
  • to go to the waterfront.  This best option meant a return to The Boathouse (the venue of last week’s hot coffee stop).  There’s good coffee, friendly service, and excellent chips and potato cakes.  Today, the upper deck was saturated from early rain, so we enjoyed the covered lower deck.
John and Richard at The Boathouse

John and Richard at The Boathouse

The lower path is a delightful short but bumpy ride back to Rippleside.  51km accomplished, with a couple of hills and good company. 151227 Geelong CircuitClick the map to see the route on MapMyRIDE.

Please consider joining us for next week’s joint ride with GTC.  Check the Ride Calendar later in the week for the route (planned once we have a better idea of the weather forecast).  



Horseshoe Bend Roa


Barwon to Bay: Sunday, March 16th, 2014

After a windy night, only five riders (Laura and Neil, leaders, Tim, Stella and Helen) turned up to Balyang Sanctuary to ride to the waterfront via Fyansford and the Cement Works Rail Trail.   The river path was quiet, and there was some evidence throughout the ride of the heavy rain Geelong had experienced yesterday afternoon, with debris on the roads and paths.

At Fyansford, the steeper route along Highland Street was chosen with Stella and Laura opting for the bike path while Tim, Neil and Helen rode on the road.

Laura and Stella conquer the Highland Street bike path

Laura and Stella conquer the Highland Street bike path

Tim and Neil catch their breath at the top of Highland Street

Tim and Neil catch their breath at the top of Highland Street

The Cement Works Railway Trail is probably one of the oldest rail trails in Victoria – and is showing its age in many places.  However, it’s still an enjoyable way to link to the bay.  Take care when crossing Church Street, Ballarat Road and Thompson Road.   From Douro Street, the riders crossed the railway at Separation Street, the continued along the Separation Street extension east to join the Melbourne Road, taking the western side path to the lights at Mackay Street.  Pickers Coffee was an excellent stopping point.

From St Helens, the riders went their own way.  Helen and Laura checked out the monthly market outside Osborne House.

Thanks to Laura and Neil for an interesting and most enjoyable ride.