Green Wedge

Bowden Spur Road

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Distance: 3.9 km
Average Gradient: 9%
Elevation gained: 350 meters
Surface: Hard packed gravel with some loose gravel
Traffic: Minimal

Click here for link to the Strava segment.

Bowden Spur Road is a steep, unsealed climb which takes you up the south side of the Kinglake Ranges. This climb will take you through the Kinglake National Park and is quite brutal at times. This is a climb which would suit those that love gravel grinding, or love taking on the challenge of a very difficult climb. It also offers some of the best views you are likely to see by bike in the northern suburbs, and on a clear day you can see the Melbourne CBD.

Start of the climb: From Strathewen turn onto Bowden Spur Road. You have the option of either taking Bowden Spur or School Ridge Road to get to the climb.

There is quite a bit of very steep, undulating climbing to get to the base of the official start of the climb. Don’t be surprised if your legs are feeling it before you even get onto the climb.  The surface is quite hard-packed, with some loose gravel which is easy enough to ride around without too much difficulty.

You’ll come to a cyclist sign to the left hand side of the road. This is the official start to the climb, which you’ll probably figure it out for yourself as the road goes vertical from here.

Start of the climb

This area was cleared in order to build power lines, to prevent the risks of fires. These power lines follow the road. This has left the road exposed to the elements.

Please do not attempt this climb in extreme weather such as heavy winds & on hot days.

The power lines join onto the power station at the top of this climb.

The climb starts with a long, straight steep section of road. The area around it has been cleared to reduce the risk of fires and is quite exposed. It can be quite a daunting climb given how stark the terrain is.

At the top of the first straight there is right-handed switchback before the road flattens out and there are some impressive views of the valley bellow (minus the power lines of course). The gradient will get steep again and this is a climb that will be a grind. The road isn’t always maintained and expect the road to get rougher the higher you climb. With stretches of corrugated surface.

There are two very impressive and incredibly steep switchbacks. These offer some impressive views which you may need to distract yourself from the grind.

After the final switchback you will round a bend to the left before the road straightens on for the remainder of the climb. You will see a mobile phone tower to the right hand side of the road which you can use as a beacon to signify the end of the climb.

This ends at the intersection at Whittlesea-Kinglake Road.

End of the climb

At a glance

  • Two very impressive hairpins
  • Narrow road
  • Spectacular views
  • Notable for power lines that cross the road on their way up the hill
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife
  • You can see the Melbourne CBD on a clear day
  • The road surface becomes rougher the higher you climb with long corrugated sections
  • Tire selection is essential, and you will want to run a minimum of 28mm tires
  • You will want to be running a compact
  • Toilets available in the Mountain bike carpark at the top of the climb

How to get there:

Bowden Spur Road is located in the town of Strathewen which is located 50 km to the north east of Melbourne.

Mountain Biking

At the top of the climb is the Bowden Spur Mountain Bike park which was opened in 2012. It has a number of downhill mountain bike trails which offer a 233 metre descent. These trail have dirt jumps, rock gardens, bomb holes, flowing earth berms and has large sections of off-camber riding. . The tracks are extremely difficult and recommended for experts only.

There is a designated parking area for these tracks approximately 200 meters from the intersection of the Kinglake-Whittlesea Road.

Bowden Spur Road

During fire season

Bowden Spur Road is in a fire district. Anyone entering parks and forests during the bushfire season needs to stay aware of forecast weather conditions. Check the Fire Danger Rating and for days of Total Fire Ban at www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Tikalara Park climb Melbournes toughest climb

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Distance: 200 meters
Average Gradient: 9%
Maximum Gradient:  close to 40%+
Difficulty: Extreme
Surface: Horrible
This climb is also known as “The Wall”

Click here for link to the Strava segment.

 Heads up that this is arguably Melbourne’s toughest climb.  It should only be attempted if you have a very high fitness level and don’t mind walking your bike.

This climb was once the steepest bitumen road in Australia, and part of the hill climb circuit. They first raced cars here on 12 March 1951.  The circuit consisted of a 967 meter loop featuring an insane climb half-way through.  The last race was held there on 6 December 1987. If you truly consider yourself a hill climber you will want to give this one a go.  The climb is part of the Tikalara Park, which is a large area of preserved land in the Yarra Valley parklands. The park consists of wetlands and bushland, and is just off the main Yarra Trail.  Which is one of Melbourne’s most popular shared bike paths.

The park has a variety of paths including paved footpaths, gravel tracks and wooden boardwalks.

Start of the climb is just off the Parkway (Templestowe).  After you cross the bridge there’s a sign on the left hand side of the road for the hill circuit climb.  Follow the trail and its only a short ride to the base of the climb.

The Tikalara Park climb

The climb to the base is over loose gravel, with a couple of bumpy sections.  You’ll find a sign indicating the start of the climb, and the surface changes.  The climb itself is on bitumen, which has significantly deteriorated over the years.  You may have to work your way left to right to find a decent riding line.  The first 100 meters gradually gets steeper and steeper as you round the bend.

When you round the bend I will guarantee you will shit yourself.  There’s scary, and there’s scary.  The Tikalara Park climb is something on a whole new level.  It just gets steeper and steeper, and its hard to tell how steep it gets as the segment is too short, & there’s no way you will take your eyes off the path to look at your Garmin.  I would guestimate that it peaks over 40%.

This is a climb that if you go too hard, you will end up cooking yourself and have to get off and walk. If you go too slow. You won’t have the ascendancy to climb and you will have to jump off and walk.  A word of advice that if either of these situations occur.  Try not to fall over……

Please don’t try this one if getting off and walking your bike humiliates you!

This climb is nicknamed ‘the Wall’.  You’ll work out for yourself pretty quickly.

2/3 of the way up is winch corner, and you will see a rusted winch just off to the side of the path.  Its tempting to go and tie a rope to the winch to pull yourself up.  For many, that’s the only hope you will have of getting up to the top.

You may not be able to get up this one but how would you know if you never give it a go…..

End of the climb. Hopefully before you fall over.

What to expect

• This is a shared path. Please be courteous to walkers
• Keep an eye out for wildlife in particular Kangaroos
• Rough uneven surface
• An incredibly high level of fitness is required to even attempt a climb of this difficulty
• Toilet, Café & Picnic areas available nearby

How to get there

Access is off The Parkway or Arlunya Place (Templestowe), or the main Yarra Trail if you felt like taking the bike track.

Pigeon Bank Road (Kangaroo Ground)

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Length: 500 metres
Height gain: 85 metres
Maximum gradient: 27%
Average gradient: 17%
Surface: Sealed
Terrain: Residential/Forest
Traffic: Light

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

When it comes to extreme climbing. I’m a big fan.  When you find a climb which peaks at 27% and averages 17% you know it’s going to hurt like a MF!  Pigeon Bank Road which is part of the Green Wedge area. And is considered one of the icons of the north and a climb which has to be seen to be believed.

Beginning of climb; intersection of Pigeon Bank Road and Yarra River Court.

Sadly photos rarely do justice for how hard a climb can be

Pigeon Bank Road climb

The base of this climb is in a valley.  You have the chance to hit some incredibly high speeds on the descent leading up to the climb. You’ll be flying at an incredibly high speed which will help you get up a fraction of this climb before gravity sinks in.  Pretty quick you’re legs will be reminding you that you are trying to ride up a wall.  The first 300 metres is extreme, with the gradient sitting between 20 – 27%.  Do whatever you have to.  Beg, Scream, deliver the mail.  No matter what your level of fitness is I can guarantee that you will be entering the pain cave!

The last 200 metres the gradient eases up to a nice 10% – 15% average.  If you’ve cooked your legs on the really steep part this is going to hurt something special.  If you’ve still got legs, sorry to break it to you but this is going to hurt something special.  An incredibly high level of fitness is required to get up a climb like this and would only recommend this to riders who feel comfortable climbing gradients in excess of 20%

How to get there

Pigeon Bank Road is located approximately 33 km north-east of Melbourne and you can access the climb from either Menzies Road or Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road.

**Please use extreme caution on the descent**

Gold Memorial Road (scenic ride)

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Distance: 2.9 km
Gradient: 2%
Elevation: 54 metres
Surface: Part gravel
Traffic: Light

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Warrandyte State Park

This scenic ride will take you through the heartland of Melbourne’s closest State Park; the Warrandyte State Park.  The area has a diverse species of wildlife. Unfortunately vegetation in the area was almost totally cleared during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Most of the vegetation seen today has regrown since then.  Much of the hilly area is characterized by open, forested country, with an under story of native grasses, creepers, Orchids and other Wildflowers.

The area also has historical significance as this was the site of Victoria’s firsts Gold find.  This was at Andersons Creek in July 1851.

Gold Memorial Road

The road is steeped with history and you make your way through the Warrandyte State Park.  The road gently rises and is one of those rare roads which you will want to take as slow as possible in order to soak up the sites.  There is much peace and solitude to the area and you’ll find yourself wanting to return for some more.

Part of this road is gravel and you will find a fair bit of loose rock on the road, and expect some corrugation.  You should be able to find a riding line and it is doable on 23 mm tires.

Just after you pass Hussey’s Lane the road rises and there is 350 meters of climbing to get back to the main road.

The experience

Gold Memorial Road is part of the green wedge area and a hidden gem.  If you haven’t experienced this road I can highly recommend it.  There is plenty of great riding in and around this area.

Gold Memorial Road at a glance

  • Narrow scenic road (two-way traffic)
  • Consistent gradient throughout the climb
  • Meanders through the Warrandyte State Park
  • Gravel section can get dusty throughout the warmer parts of the year
  • Cafe at the top of the climb
  • Joins onto one of the area’s best climbs.  Husseys Lane

During fire season

This climb is in a fire district. Anyone entering parks and forests during the bushfire season needs to stay aware of forecast weather conditions. Check the Fire Danger Rating and for days of Total Fire Ban at www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

 

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Skyline Road (gravel)

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Distance:        8.3 km
Surface:         Gravel
Traffic:           Minimal

Click here for the link to the Strava segment.

The adventure

Skyline Road is a gravel road which extends from the Bend of Islands to Yarra Glen.  Its a road which is one for the adventure seekers and will offer you a Roller coaster of a ride.   You will be challenged with climbs.  Lots of them.  They aren’t long but they’re steep with the gradients ranging between 12% – 18% in gradient.  Getting up them is extra challenging as you’ll face traction issues as you’re climbing on loose gravel.  Getting down them has its own challenges.  The descents are very steep and you will need to take care dodging loose gravel.  They will require all of your descending skills to safely get down.

The road surface is fairly consistent throughout (see image above).  You’ll find the road is littered with loose gravel.  There is a limited racing line you can ride on.  Whilst the road is not in the greatest shapes, it’s a road that you could get away with riding 23 mm tires.  We would recommend that you use appropriate CX tires though.

Skyline Road will treat you to some stunning views of the Yarra Valley on the approach to Yarra Glen.  This a quaint little country town is set amongst the rolling hills of the Yarra Valley.  This is one of Australia’s most renowned winery regions (please don’t drink and ride).

Its quite a tough climb to get here is hard but its well & truly worth it.

Skyline Road (gravel)

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Skyline Road (gravel)

  • Loose gravel surface
  • CX or Mountain bike recommended
  • Technical descending
  • Stunning views of the Yarra Valley
  • Quite roads free from traffic
  • Incredibly challenging climbs
  • High level of fitness recommended

Green Wedge Cycling

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Green Wedges are the non-urban areas of metropolitan Melbourne.  These sit outside the Urban Growth Boundary and were first identified in the 1960’s. There are 12 Green Wedge areas in and around Melbourne.  These span 17 Local Government areas which collectively form a ring around the Melbourne metropolitan area.

The use and appearance of land in each green wedge area is unique. The landscape ranges from the Mornington Peninsula coastline, to the open basalt plains of the west, to the highly scenic countryside of the Yarra Valley.

Green wedge areas contain a mix of agriculture and low-density activities such as:

  • major infrastructure that supports urban areas, including:
    • Melbourne and Moorabbin airports
    • the western and eastern water treatment facilities
  • major quarries used in the building industry
  • cultural heritage sites
  • biodiversity conservation areas
  • water catchments

About one third of the total green wedge area is public land.  Including national parks, other parks, reserves, and closed protected water catchments.

These areas are great to ride around.  You get a chance to leave the urban landscape of Melbourne and escape back to nature.  There will be less traffic, less pollution and you’re guaranteed some pretty amazing scenery.

Please click on the links below to be directed the climb write-ups:

Link to climb write-up Location Distance Gradient % Category
Skyline Road Christmas Hills 8.3 km 2 N/A
Sugarloaf Reservoir Christmas Hills 1.1 km 6 4
Humevale Road Humevale 7.6 km 4 3
Pigeon Bank Road Kangaroo Ground 500 metres 17 4
Bowden Spur Road Kinglake 3.9 km 9 2
Glenvale Road North Ringwood 400 metres 16 4
Hussey’s Lane Warrandyte 1.4 km 4 4
Everard Drive Warrandyte 1.5 km 4 4
Gold Memorial Road Warrandyte 2.9 km 2 N/A
Melbourne Hill Road Melbourne Hill Road 1.3 km 5 4
Green Wedge Cycling

If you’d like to see a new climb added to the green wedge area, please get in touch.  There are a world of great climbs out there that we all would love to discover at some stage.

Husseys Lane (Warrandyte)

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Distance: 1.4 km
Gradient: 4%
Category: 4
Elevation: 64 meters
Surface: Good
Traffic: Light

Click here for a link to the Strava segment.

Husseys Lane is a climb which embellishes the heart of the Green Wedge area.  It is a real pleasure to climb and will leave you wanting to come back for more.  On paper Husseys Lane may not seem a challenging climb with a 4% average over 1.4 km.  Whilst short, there are a number of undulation changes which make this climb much harder than it looks on paper.

The climb starts at the intersection of Gold Memorial Drive & Husseys Lane.

There is a descent leading up to the climb which you can use to get a good running start.

The down sight to getting a flying start is that at one point in time the vertical will catch up with your legs.  An experienced climber will sense when to ease back into a rhythm.  There is always the risk that if you overcook yourself in the first section of a climb like this, what originally seemed like an easy climb……….

The road surface on this one is quite course, its the type of surface that makes you work extra hard.  700 meters into the climb you hit a slight descent & you can really pick up the speed here.  Just be mindful that the last 400 meters of this climb are the steepest.  You may want to keep something in reserve.

The climb finishes shortly before you reach Knees Road.

Although short, you will really enjoy this climb.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro.  This is a rare climb which will suit riders of all abilities, and a really good one to test yourself on.  This is a great training climb, which you can learn a lot from.   You can really get a good understanding of how to better pace yourself up a climb like this.

Glenvale Road (North Ringwood)

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Distance: 300 metres
Gradient: 16%
Category: 4
Elevation: 54 metres
Surface: Paved
Traffic: Minimal

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

This photo isn’t on an angle.  The road literally goes vertical!

Glenvale Road climb

Glenvale Road is one of the hardest backstreet climbs you will find in Victoria.  And one for the pure hill junkies.  There is quite a steep descent leading up to the base of the climb.  You maybe able to hit speeds in excess of 60 km/h at the base of this climb.   What goes down.  Must come up……

Glenvale Road is a solid wall of pain.  The gradients in on the ugly side of 20% and incredibly steep.  Good luck getting up this one without walking.  Much blood, sweat & tears have been shed on its steep surface, and this climb has brought many a rider to tears.

Sugarloaf Reservoir climb (Christmas Hills)

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Sugarloaf Reservoir
Location: Christmas Hills
Distance: 1.1 km
Gradient: 6%
Category: 4
Elevation: 69 metres
Surface: Paved
Traffic: Minimal

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Sugarloaf Reservoir climb

The Sugarloaf Reservoir is 456 hectare park nestled in the Christmas Hills and was developed during the late 1970’s, to help supplement Melbourne’s domestic water supply.   The park is a popular picnic spot and offers wonderful views, hiking, fishing & sailing.  Sugarloaf Reservoir supplies the northern, western and central suburbs of Melbourne.

Its a great place to ride around & offers a challenging climb into the Reservoir.

The climb starts right from the intersection of Eltham Road & Simpson Road.  You’re welcome to sing the Simpsons to spur you on.  Given the severity of this climb don’t think it would do you much good.

The first 600 metres are very steep.  Averaging over 9%.  Its saving grace is that it is a pretty consistent gradient

The road flattens out until you reach the gates to the Reservoir Park and then the road goes skyward again

After the climb enjoy a cruise around the Reservoir Park after.  The views are simply stunning

Opening times

Gates open at 8:30 am and close at 7:00 pm during daylight saving. Outside of daylight savings, the park closes at 5:00 pm.  The park is open every day of the year.

Details:
  • Dogs and other pets are not permitted in the park
  • The park offers great bush walking, picnicking, bird watching, sightseeing, sailing and shoreline fishing
  • Picnic tables and seats onsite
  • Information Shelter
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Toilet
  • Sealed carpark

Humevale Road (Humevale)

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Distance: 7.6 km
Average Gradient: 4%
Elevation gain: 267 meters
Traffic:Light traffic
Terrain: Bumpy
Category: 3

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Humevale Road is located approximately 7 km north-east of Whittlesea, and is one of the best climbs in the Kinglake area.  Whilst not overly challenging, this climb offers a very consistent gradient, quiet country roads and stunning scenery.  Being in an area heavily forested a number of roots have pushed up under the road.  This has caused long sections of bumpy & uneven surfaces on the road. Overall this makes for a bumpy ride, yet this only adds to the allure of this climb.

Start of the climb

Humevale Road climb

This climb starts shortly after you cross the one lane bridge next to Parkers Road.  This is a climb which has a fairly consistent gradient throughout.

The Black Saturday Bushfires ravaged this area in 2009.  The vegetation has grown back quite well and its easy to fall in love with the scenery.

The climb is dotted with switchbacks. Although it is a long climb you can easily break your climb into small sections.

The climb finishes when you hit the intersection at Whittlesea-Yeah Road.

End of the climb

What to expect

  • Very little traffic
  • A gentle consistent gradient
  • The road surface can be quite bumpy, however quite suitable to ride on a road bike
  • A number of switchbacks throughout the climb
  • Stunning scenery
  • A great pissing contest with your mates

Humevale Road is a great climb to introduce to beginner climbers.

Humevale Road

Location

The climb is located 60 km north of Melbourne, and 7 km north-east of Whittlesea.

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