Melbourne Cycling

West Gate Bridge climb

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The Westgate Bridge is considered a bucket list climb as cyclists only have two opportunities to climb this iconic bridge each year.  The Westgate Bridge is part of the M1 Freeway, and usually cyclists are prohibited from using the bridge.  MS Australia (MS Melbourne cycle) and Bicycle Network (Around the bay in a day) have special permission to close off two lanes of the bridge for their events, which are amongst Australia’s biggest recreation rides.  Attracting riders from all around the country.

The irony of this climb is that both events are quite flat and tend to attract non-climbers, and those that love a bit of vertical may not know what they’re missing out on.  These events, you are always guaranteed to see carnage as riders drop off left right and center.  Whilst only a short climb, you need to pay it respect as it’s quite a tough climb.  The winds out on the bridge can be ferocious.  Hate to break it to you but if the wind isn’t behind you this can be one extremely difficult climb.

Image taken by Steve Burns

The Westgate Bridge once offered some of the best views of the city and surrounding suburbs.  Since anti-suicide fencing was erected to both sides of the bridge, there isn’t much of a view to be seen.

West Gate Bridge climb

  • The climb to either side of the bridge is quite steep
  • Try to get a good run-up leading up to the climb
  • Do your homework before the event to determine which way the winds are blowing
  • The road surface is usually in good shape, but keep an eye on the road just in case
  • Both events attract thousands of riders.  If you don’t want to get caught stuck behind slow climbers, you will need to try to position yourself at the front of the group leading up to the climb
  • What goes up must come down, and you’re guaranteed a fast and furious descent down the far side of the bridge.  Keep an eye on your speedo as you can get booked for speeding.
Image by Claudio Jofré Larenas

City side

Distance:  1.5 km
Average Gradient:  4%
Maximum Gradient:  7%

Click here for the link to the Strava segment.

Western side

Distance:  1 km
Average Gradient:  4%
Maximum Gradient:  7%

Click here for the link to the Strava segment.

About the bridge

The Westgate Bridge took 10 years to build (1968 – 1978), and drivers were charged a toll to pay off the cost of the bridge.  Overall 10 million dollars was raised through these tolls, until 1985 where it became free to drive across.

The Westgate Bridge spans over the Yarra River and is a vital link between the CBD and Melbourne’s western suburbs.  The bridge is 2.5 km in length and rises up to 58 meters above sea level.  The Westgate Bridge is Australia’s third longest bridge.

Myers Creek Road (Healesville)

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Length: 6.7 km
Average Gradient: 6.5%
Total Ascent: 437m
Climb Category: 2
Surface: Sealed

Click here for the link to the Strava segment.

The Myers Creek Road climb follows the Myers Creek valley, which the road is named after.  This is a stunning climb, which winds its way through Paul’s Range.  A temperate rain forest which is full of Mountain Ash, and fern gullies to either side of the road.

This is a challenging climb as the gradient continually fluctuates, and has one of those coarse road surfaces.  This gets you working that little bit harder.  The average gradient for this climb is highly deceptive as the road will hit sections in excess of 15%.  Myers Creek Road will feel a lot steeper than its average gradient suggests.

Start: Enger Myers Creek Road (Healesville) off the Maroondah Highway.  The climb begins approximately 3 km up the road.

You will want to pace yourself as this is an unforgiving climb that is not pleasant if you end up cooking yourself too early.

As you near the top of the climb, the road opens up and to your right you will see the peak of Mt St Leonard.  You will see a very distant phone tower, and if you are ever feeling adventurous.  There is an extremely steep climb up a gravel 4WD track up Monda Road to reach there.

Myers Creek Road is one of the best roads to climb in the Yarra Valley.  Offering stunning scenery and quite a challenging climb. This climb is located a short distance north of Healesville and can be combined with several of the areas other great climbs. Such as Chum Creek Road, Panton Gap or Badger Creek Road.

Finish: Corner Myers Creek Road and Monda Road (Toolangi)

At a glance

  • If you’re coming down from Melbourne, heads up that it is always considerably colder in & around Healesville. Best to check local forecasts
  • Narrow, windy roads
  • Stunning rainforest
  • Little traffic
  • Challenging climbing
  • Toolangi Pub situated at the end of Myers Creek Road

During fire season

Paul’s Range 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.

2017 Melburn Roobaix

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The Melburn Roobaix has been running since 2006, and easily one of Melbourne’ most iconic cycling events. It is hosted by FYXO who have embraced the spirit of one of Europe’s most popular one day bike races.  The Paris-Roubaix which is renown for its challenging cobblestone sections.  The Melburn Roobaix explores the bumpiest sectors of cobbled lanes and alleys.  As well as the lesser ridden bike routes.  Hoping to introduce riders to hidden parts of the city and offering a sense of adventure.

Sector 9

There were thousands who showed up to the Hawthorn Veledrome to take on this years event. One thing that always stands out are the large number of riders who come along and dress up in costumes and ride the craziest of bikes.

 You kinda feel out of place if you’re not dressed up.

You are given a rider pack with an assortment of goods to complete the ride.  Along with many a keepsakes and a map.  My orientation skills are on par with how well I know my way around the city.  Pretty much non-existent.  I had a look at the map and already felt lost.  Maybe I could follow someone who knew where they were going…..

The first road out of the veledrome was short and steep, and the course offered a surprising amount of challenges along the way.  The Melburn Roobaix isn’t a race.  It’s an adventure and you want to take your time soaking up the sights and sounds that Melbourne is famous for.  I was taking it easy, constantly pulling over taking photos but as the ride wore on, the crowd was thinning out and found it harder and harder following riders. After each sector there was a familiar site of riders pulling over.

Searching through their maps.

My mountain bike ate up the cobbles.  Between the bikes suspension, and wide tires I was really gliding seamlessly across them.  I kinda rued not bringing the road bike which would have offered a much different experience.  There were twelve sectors of cobble all up.  Each with their own reputation and own name:

  1. Hem
  2. Bon Vent
  3. Sur Shackell
  4. Wallers
  5. Bavarder
  6. Halpin-en-Hunter
  7. Biere a l’Avance
  8. Coup Droit
  9. Pas de Marche
  10. Tres Rade
  11. Muur d’Elm
  12. C’es Facile

I loved hitting the cobbles!

It wasn’t all that easy trying to find the right racing line.  Just when you were seamlesslyg gliding across what seemed a perfect line.  You would find a pothole or small bit of road traffic to dodge.  With so many riders around, you always had to be mindful of the terrain and what was around you.  As the lane ways were pretty narrow.

I was pretty much lost after the first street.  Occasionally I would come out on a road that I recognised.  But largely I was a tourist rediscovering my own city, and was lucky to join a couple of riders who seemed to know their way around.  It helped to break up the ride chatting away. Particularly as the second half of the ride really wore me down.  They had certainly come up with a challenging route for the 2017 edition.

After a brief visit to the Beer temple, we eventually we made it out to the Brunswick Veledrome.  Its a joy to do the iconic lap of this historic venue, and I ended up doing several laps.  Soaking up the sites and sounds.  There were a number of riders already ahead of us.  Everyone with a smile on their face.

Brunswick Veledrome

Many thanks to Andy White and FYXO for putting on such a great event.

If you find yourself riding past a cobbled alleyway.  Consider to make a short detour and explore the hidden parts of Melbourne.  You never quite know what you will find……

Bikes by Steve

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Steve Gardner is a friend of mine who I met many years ago.  He is a spray painter by trade.  Cyclist by life.  Combining these passions Steve has decided to start up his own business; custom spray painting bicycles.

I sat down with Steve to ask him about the new business venture he’s putting together.

Steve has spent his life working in the auto re-finishing trade, and has worked in the industry a total of 23 years now.  He has a passion for riding and like many of us lives and dreams bikes and told me “After painting a couple of bikes for friends I could see a way I could make a difference with my skills.  Spray painting is both a hobby and a passion of mine, and there aren’t that many places in Melbourne where you can go to get a custom spray paint job on your bike.” – SG

Let’s face it, we want the best for our bikes, and getting a custom spray paint for your bike is the ultimate way of looking after the one you love.  Before contacting Steve, give some thought to what you want your dream bike to look like.  Once you’ve decided on the colour you want, then contact Steve to discuss your options.

Steve only uses the highest quality sprays, predominately using PPG.  Ceramic clear is also an option.  The process involves a full rub down and removing any chips and scratches from the frame.  Applying a 2-Pac primer and multiple colours, logos stripes, etc. followed by a flow coat.  The end result is that you have a bike that all of your friends are envious about.

If you have a retro, steel or alloy frame, Steve can bring life back to your bike. He can reproduce any of the original colours and source original style decals. If paint removal is required these will be soda blasted. Re-chroming is also available.

Steve wants to do a job that he would be proud to call his own bike.

If you want to find out more then get in contact with Steve on 0404 883 214.

I want to provide a service for those that want something different from their friends.  Someone who wants the personal touch.  One who has a passion and love for their bike”. – SG

Bikes by Steve:

Steve Gardner

French Island adventure

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Imagine the excitement of boarding a Ferry on an adventure across the bay.  You’re off to a secluded island that offers over 100 km of roads and tracks to explore by bike. There is no electricity. No water supply and only a small population of permanent residents, with no tourist vehicles allowed.  French Island is a true cycling paradise!

It was an early wake up in order to be down to Stony Point at 7:20am to catch the ferry.  I was accompanied by Geert & Brad, who were eager to see what French Island had to offer.  This Island is the largest coastal island of Victoria, and is located in Western Port bay.  French Island boasts Australia’s biggest population of Koalas.  With 70% of the island listed as National Park.  This consists mainly of coastal mangroves, swamps, heath, grasslands and blue gum forests.

The island is quite isolated and we had to wonder; “do they speak English on French island?“.

We set-off down Coast Road to the north, which is a relatively flat 12 km stretch of dead straight road.  Surprisingly this road ended up being quite an ordeal. Stretches of the road were soft and sandy.  You would be riding along and suddenly the bike would sink inches into the ground and often go sideways on you.  There was often little traction, and wheel spin was common.  I brought my mountain bike, with nice and thick tires.  It was hard going but I could manage o.k.  Geert’s CX managed most of the carnage, but he was still battling the bike at times.  Brad was the unlucky one, riding on 28 mm tires, which was like skating on ice.

Thankfully there was only the one spill and Geert managed to get a score of 9/10 with his crash landing.

When we made the turnoff for Red Bill Road I discovered that I had dropped my Go Pro.  We had to backtrack 4 km to find it which was a major relief.  This unexpected detour cost us a fair bit of time, and we needed to revise the route.  Geert and I had mothers day functions to get back to, and could not afford to miss the 1:20 pm ferry.

Off the main road our adventure began.  We had a map of the island and were soon to learn that a road on the map could mean literally anything.  Red Bill Road was more of a walking track than a road, with a narrow bumpy line that had us dodging a number of objects.

We headed towards Mount Wellington, the highest point of the island.  Whilst mountains are usually big, this one stood a tiny 92 meters above sea level.  A used car salesman must have come up with the name.

#notarealmountain

We had scoffed at how little climbing there was on the island.  I admit that I failed to take into account that most of the climbs up the island tended to be on sandy surfaces which are 10 x harder than normal climbing.  The path ahead of us was very dodgy, and completely covered in sand and all uphill for the next kilometer. With no traction it was impossible to climb.  We had no option but to go bush bashing and ride over some horrible terrain.  Our legs were on fire, and I was experiencing some heavy labored breathing.  “What’s the gradient Geert“, I asked.  “2%” was the reply.  We were dying trying to climb a 2% gradient, on a climb which stretched on for over a kilometer.

We all collapsed in a heap at the top gasping for breath.  Over the other side the path just seemed to get worse.  This would have been challenging hiking on, let alone ride on.

I was loving every single minute of our ride.

 

Eventually we made it back to the main road.  This felt so smooth after all that we had been through, and made our way to the tea rooms.  This is a farm in the middle of the island where we were treated to some scones, and got chased around by dozens of hens and took a short break.  No visit to French Island is complete without visiting.

From here, we headed north and came upon what appeared to be a dead end.  We pulled out the map, which told us that the road continued on for at least 3 more k’s. We went bush bashing again and rode on what kindly could have been called a goat track.  With several more sandy sections that we had to ride off the path to avoid.

The Pinnacles

Time was running out, but we felt we had enough time to visit the Pinnacles, which had one of the best lookouts on the island.  With limited time, we pushed as hard as our tired legs would carry us.

We came to a climb up to the Pinnicles and Geert and I had a little pissing contest to get to the top.  I started to take off on Geert, which was short lived as I came around a bend to see a snake inches from my front wheel.  I squeezed the brakes as hard as I could to avoid riding over it.  Years ago this guy told me a story “my mate deliberately rode over a snake, and it got caught in his rear wheel and got flicked up and bit him on the ass!“.   Thankfully the snake was facing away from me and slowly slithered across the path.

I love snakes, but prefer not to be bitten by one.  Especially on the ass.

Soon we saw the lookout at the Pinncacles and came across a wall of sand.  There was a 15 meter climb, over 30% in gradient.  The path was completely covered in sand.  There was no way we could possibly hope to get up there and we all had to get off and walk.

The French Island adventure

The views up the top were impressive, but time was getting away from us.  We had 40 minutes to get back to the ferry.  If we missed it, the next one wasn’t for 3 hours and we couldn’t be late.

There was a downhill section to look forward to and I pushed off, taking it easy on the descent.  I rounded the first bend and almost rode over another snake.  This one was a red-bellied black snake which I knew was venomous.  The little sucker was facing me and reared up and hissed at me.  I stopped inches from it.  The foot closest to the snake was still locked into the pedal.  I hoped that my mountain bike shoes were too thick for its fangs to bite through.

No I didn’t want to test out this theory.

I remained as still as possible, and quite relieved when it decided to make a quick retreat.

Time was running out getting back to the ferry, and I brushed off the two snake encounters.  Then of course I punctured.  The tube had enough air in it that I could continue riding on a flat tire, so I pushed along for another k or so.  Still able to manage 15 – 20 km/h.  Eventually I stopped and with limited time to get back, stopping 10 + minutes to change a tire I was working out in my head on the math.  Do we fix the tire or do I continue on a flat tire?  We put some air in the tire which seemed to be enough for me to ride back on.

Half a k later, the tire went completely flat, and we no longer had enough time to pump up the tire.  I had to ride on the rims and was able to do so for awhile, but fatigue and exhaustion set-in and eventually had to get off and walk the last 2.5 km.

We had to push and managed to make it to the ferry, which was hell with 5 minutes to spare.  Why hadn’t I stopped to pump up the tire?

Whilst much of the ride we traveled through scrubland.  French Island has a number of hidden rewards worth making the trek worthwhile.

French Island is an adventure like none other.  Its about riding the roads less travelled, and getting back to nature.  Getting out to do a ride which most never knew existed.  French Island is the least visited National Park in the country.  The island is completely isolated with no electricity, no water and no sewerage.  Residents need to be 100% self-dependent on generators, water tanks and septic tanks.

We saw so much, yet there were still large parts of the island left to explore.

An excuse to return for another adventure. That’s what I like most about cycling.  The world is your playground and you are only limited to your imagination.  Brad, Geert and myself had the time of our lives today and hope that our ride may inspire you one day to take the ferry out to this great little island to discover it for yourself.

We were excited to visit  Quiet roads, beautiful coastline, and a sense that you’re discovering a place that few ever get a chance to visit.

It’s a wonderful thought.

If you want to ride French Island, you can check out our Strava route for the day here.

Brad put us to shame by riding a lazy 86 km home from French Island.  All up he rode an impressive 160 km for the day. He  said that “it was a good idea at the time. It was tough going most of the way home and felt every one of those kilometres. Thanks for the invite to French Island. Next time on bigger tires!“.

French Island adventure

The Dandenong Ranges steepest climbs

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For the mountain goats  who love their climbs to be super steep.  Have you ever wondered what the steepest climbs in the Dandenong Ranges are?  Would it be Terry’s Avenue, Mast Gully Road or perhaps Inverness instead?

I have put together a list of 10 of The Dandenong Ranges steepest climbs, on sealed roads.  Each climb has a gradient which will peak in excess of 20% and anyone who can get up one of these deserves the utmost respect.

 

Kia Ora Parade (Upper Ferntree Gully)

Distance: 400 metres
Average gradient:  15%
Maximum gradient:  24%

Click here for link to the write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment.

Kia Ora Parade offers the steepest start to any climb in the Dandenong Ranges with a pinch that hits 24% at its base. Ironically, Kia Ora is a Maori word for greeting, or welcome.  On this street it means pain.

Roma Parade (Upwey)

Distance: 200 metres
Average gradient: 23%
Maximum gradient: 24%

Click here for climb write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment

This is one of the hardest short climbs that you can do in the Dandenong Ranges.  This climb starts at the base of the court, and given the steepness of the gradient, you have to do this one from a standing start.  The only way to climb this is by riding sideways just to clip in on this one without falling flat on your arse.  Whilst only 200 metres in length, the gradient never dips under 20% and this is one scary little climb.

Mast Gully Road (Upwey)

Distance: 1.5 km
Average gradient: 13.5%
Maximum gradient:  27%

Click here for link to climb write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment

Mast Gully Road was named due to the fact that trees were felled in order to make mast poles for sailing ships.  Mast Gully is rated as one of the hardest climbs in the Dandenong Ranges.  Offering one of the hardest ends to a climb in the Ranges, which peaks at a scary 27%.  This climb will test every fibre of your body and is a battle of body and mind against Mast Gully Road.

Lacy Street (Selby)

Distance: 400 metres
Average gradient: 17%
Maximum gradient: 32%

Click here for climb write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment

There is the Charlotta Tye Memorial Church located appropriately at the base of the climb.  You may need to pray to get up this one.  The majority of this climb is gravel, which is super steep and super bumpy.  When you come around the first bend.  There’s a small stretch of road which was so steep that they needed to pave it.  The paved section is quite botchy and peaks at over 32%.

Terry’s Avenue (Belgrave)

Distance: 3.2 km
Average gradient:  8%
Maximum gradient:  20%

Click here for climb write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment.

This road is made up of two separate climbs, with a descent in-between.  Both climbs would make the top ten of this list.  Terry’s Avenue is one of the nastiest looking climbs in the Dandenong’s.  The first pinch out of Belgrave is on the wrong side of 20% and continues skywards for 800 metres.  This is considered one of the hardest climbs in the Dandenong Ranges.  Which has brought tears to many a poor fool who’s had to get off and walk their bikes up this monster.

Invermay Road (Monbulk)

Distance: 1.1 km
Average gradient: 10%
Maximum gradient:  24%

Click here for climb write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment.

Also known as “Inver(dis)may” this climb is beauty and the beast rolled into one.  There are some truly incredible views which if you’re lucky will distract you from the pain that you’re in.  There is a short pinch half-way up this climb which averages close 20% for 300 metres that will bring tears to your eyes.

Hughes Street (Upwey)

Distance:  1.8 km
Average gradient: 8%
Maximum gradient:  24%

Click here for climb write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment.

You’ll need a Hughes effort to get up this super steep backstreet.  This climb takes you through the quiet suburbia through Upwey and out through the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

The whole climb is tough, but there’s one small section that will be etched into your mind forever.  The pinch past Olivette Avenue is pure evil.  200 metres @ 17%, and enough to put fear in even the toughest of climbers.

McCarthy Road (Monbulk)

Distance:  500 metres
Average gradient:  22%
Maximum gradient:  24%

Click here for climb write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment.

If anyone bothered to place a call to the Guiness Book of Records, this road could well and truly break a record.  With an average of 22% for 500 metres.  McCarthy has arguably one of the steepest average gradients for a residential climb in Australia.  If you’re averaging over 6 km/h on this sucker you’re doing well.

Inverness Road (Mount Evelyn)

Distance:  2.5 km
Average gradient:  9%
Maximum gradient:  27%

Click here for link to climb write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment.

Inverness Road is part of the Crucifix, and considered the toughest of the four ascents.  It has arguably the toughest finish to any climb in the Dandenong Ranges. You’ve got to climb over 2.5 km of insane climbing to get to the steepest part of this climb.  Which peaks at 27%.  Not for the feint hearted.

Talaskia Avenue (Upper Ferntree Gully)

Distance:  100 metres
Average gradient:  17%
Maximum gradient:  33%

Click here for climb write-up
Click here for link to Strava segment.

If you go and look at this climb I can assure you will think twice about climbing it.  Whilst only short this climb peaks at 33%, and offers the Dandenong Ranges steepest paved road.  This climb is conveniently located next to the Angliss Hospital.  It’s comforting to know that if you fall on a climb like this you won’t have far to get yourself to hospital…..

What do you consider the Dandenong Ranges steepest climbs

Click on the links below to be directed to the write-up.

Sherbrooke Road Everest

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Sherbrooke Road is one of the most stunning roads in the Dandenong Ranges. It’s a very popular tourist destination with places such as Grant’s picnic ground, the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens & George Tindale Memorial Gardens.  With some of the Dandenong Ranges most popular wedding venues such as Poets lane and Marybrooke Manor, this road attracts a large number of tourist traffic.

No one has been crazy enough to Everest this road up until now due to the traffic.

Four riders, led by Adam Dawson organised to Everest Sherbrooke Road in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 29 April.  Adam convinced his mates David Louis, Andrew Coveney and Fabian Ariano to come and do their first Everest. This was Adam’s second Everest after he Eversted one of the Dandenong’s steepest climbs “Kia Ora Parade” last Haloween.

This narrow climb up Sherbrooke Road is quite steep. The first km twists and winds its way up to the township of Sherbrooke, averaging around 9%. Boasting one of the finest hairpins in the Dandenong Ranges.  This climb takes you through the Sherbrooke Forest, and is simply stunning. Its only downside is that you always expect to see water which trickles onto the road. This can be treacherous on the descent.

This turned out to be quite a challenging Everest. It rained relentlessly throughout the morning, soaking everyone to the skin. This caused the descent to be quite slippery, and everyone had their hands on their brakes on a road which never fully dried out. This cost time and energy spent braking extra hard into the corners. Adam said “A very wet day out on the bike. Unbelievable physical strength and mental fortitude on display from everyone.” When the rain eased up, the traffic set in, and there are only several points where cars could safely pass. More often than not cars would cut across the middle lane, regardless of whether a blind corner was up ahead.

Andrew commented that “between sunset to when I finished at 1:20 am there was only 2 laps when I wasn’t passed by a car”.

Fabian had Garmin issues, and Adam somehow copped four punctures. This cost him a tone of time.  No matter what was thrown everyone stood tall.  No one appeared to struggle on what is a tough little climb.  There was strength amongst the group, and everyone pulled out the ride of their lives.

The ride of the day easily went to Andrew. Not only did he have to battle the traffic, and the wet and cold miserable conditions. Andrew had a horrendous run of bad luck. After two major mechanicals his wheel bearing went. There was an O-ring missing from his front assembly which he thought let water get into the bearing killing it. Given its only 2,000 km old I won’t voice some of the colorful language used. This almost derailed his Everesting attempt, and at one point Andrew was forced to change over to a Mountain bike, whilst desperate repairs were being done to his bike. Through grit and determination he pushed through this and Andrew finished hours after everyone else finished at 1:20 am in the wee hours of the morning.

Sherbrooke Road is one of the last icons of the Dandenong Ranges to be Everested.  Their story is one of legend and each of the four riders can be very proud of what they ahieved. All up there have been over 1,600 Eversts completed, with the Dandenong Ranges still holding the record for the most concentrated amount of Everests in the one area. There have been over 30 separate climbs Everested in and around the Dandenong Ranges, proving its popularity.

Congratulations to all the riders and support crew that came along for the ride. I hope you can find the time to give them all Kudos as they all deserved it for such an incredible ride.

David Louis

  • Distance: 221 km
  • Elevation: 9,052 vertical
  • Riding time:  15 hours 13 minutes
  • Overall time:     18 hours 5 minutes

Link to his Strava activity.

Comments:

  • Noel Eastwood You can wear that grey strip proudly now. Congratulations
  • Clint Woodward Always knew you’d knock one of these out one day, congratulations David 🎉
  • Mr. T. Mighty impressive lads!! I think the decent would’ve been just as exhausting. Not an easy task on that road with the moss and traffic playing havoc. Congrats to all you blokes; David, Andrew, Fabian and Adam.

Adam Dawson

  • Distance: 244 km
  • Elevation: 10,039 vertical
  • Riding time:  17 hours 17 mins
  • Overall time:     20 hours 49 mins

Link to his Strava activity.

Comments:

  • Clint Woodward Nice combo to hit 10000m on and another Nongs icon ticked off. Great work!
  • Adrian Dickinson Well done Adam. Great achievement. ..way better you than me 🙂
  • Paula McGovern Any excuse Adam not to change nappies!!!!

Andrew Coveney

  • Distance: 213 km
  • Elevation: 8,848 vertical
  • Riding time:  16 hours 40 mins
  • Overall time:     22 hours 59 mins

Link to his Strava activity.

Comments:

  • Adam Dawson Unstoppable. I would have chucked it in at halfway with the luck you were having.
  • John Van Seters Now that’s one heck of an effort after all the mechanicalls thrown at you, well done Andrew, that’d some grit and determination!
  • Martin English Maaaaaate!! This is amazing!! Well done you mad determined bastard!!

Fabian Ariano

  • Distance: 223 km
  • Elevation: 8,920 vertical
  • Riding time:  16 hours 9 mins
  • Overall time:     18 hours 27 mins

Link to his Strava activity.

Comments:

  • David louis Congrats Fabian – was a pleasure riding with you yesterday. Unbelievably strong all day!
  • Derek Rothsay Fabulous Fabian, well done, but 8920 m horizontal would have been easier…
  • Boyd Williams Giddy Up. Magnificent effort Fabian and crew.

Sherbrooke Road (Kallista)

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Distance: 1.1 km
Average Gradient: 8%
Elevation gained: 93 meters
Surface: Sealed
Traffic:  Heavy

Click here for link to the Strava segment.

This climb takes you through the majestic Sherbrooke Forest, and is one of the most scenic climbs you can do in the Dandenong Ranges. The highlight of the climb is its impressive hairpin, which was once known as the Devil’s Elbow. Whilst narrow, Sherbrooke Road has one of the best road surfaces the Dandeong’s has to offer. Offering stunning scenery, this climb is a pleasure to do all year round.

Start of the climb: The roundabout at Sherbrooke Road and Monbulk Road, Kallista

As you hit the base of this climb, the road continues straight for the first 250 meters before making a sharp left-hand turn and twists and winds its way up to the township of Sherbrooke.

This road is quite steep, with much of the climb sitting about 10% in gradient. Whilst only short, this is a climb which if you don’t pace yourself right, it will hurt you.

Boasting one of the best hairpins in the Dandenong Ranges.  This climb takes you through the Sherbrooke Forest, and is simply stunning. Its only downside is that you always expect to see water which trickles onto the road. This can be treacherous on the descent

End of the climb: Shortly after you pass the George Tindale Memorial Gardens on Braeside Avenue, Sherbrooke

Best time to climb

With a large number of tourist attractions off this road, it can experience very heavy traffic. It is best to climb during non-peak times and early on weekends.

The descent

Use caution when descending. This is quite a technical high speed descent, with a very tight hairpin which can be difficult to negotiate. Shortly after the hairpin, there is a particular corner which always has water running across the road. You should take caution when descending this road and ride within your abilities.

Sherbrooke forest

Sherbrooke forest covers the southern area of the Dandenong Ranges. From Selby in the south to Sherbrooke in the north. This area covers 800 hectares in total. The dominating feature of the forest is the tall Mountain Ash forest. In the mid 1850’s this area was declared a timber reserve and the whole area was laid barren. Much of the forest has since regrown and the Mountain Ash tree are the world’s tallest flowering plants, growing some 100 meters tall and can live up to 500 years. They also offer the perfect habitat for wildlife such as the Lyrebird, Ring-tailed and Brush-tailed Possums.

In 1958 the Sherbrooke Forest was declared a park, which was then included in the Dandenong Ranges National Park in 1987.

Local attractions

Sherbrooke Forest offers some of the Dandenong Ranges best hikes, including a hike to the Sherbrooke Falls which are best to view after it rains. Sherbrooke Road also offers some of the best gardens in the Dandenong Ranges.  These include the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens & George Tindale Memorial Gardens.

Sherbrooke is also renown as one of Melbourne’s most popular wedding venues with venues such as Poet’s lane and Marybrooke Manor.

A ride to Red Rock

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I was staying at a Caravan Park in Colac West.  A short ride to the north was the Red Rock Reserve.  This site has seen many violent volcanic eruptions.  These have resulted in the craters and lakes found in the area.  Around 40 ‘eruption centres’ have been identified in and around the township of Alvie, near Colac.  Some of these eruptions helped to form some of the biggest lakes in the area such as Lake Purdiguluc, Lake Werowrap and Lake Coragulac.

It was easy to convince my wife to go up to Red Rock Reserve to watch the sunset.

Meeting the family up there on the bike took a little longer.

Open farmland lay ahead of me as I was racing the setting sun.  My shoulder had that familiar ache which has been part of my life since the end of lat year.  There was a slight headwind to make things interesting.

It was just over 11 km to get to the base of the climb which whilst only short, turned out to be a good climb.  I am still struggling with climbing due to my injured shoulder which was a bit of a shame to have to crawl up a climb which would normally be my bread and butter.  It was a great feeling to make it to the top and the views were simply incredible.  Red Rock overlook Lake Corangamite and you could see the whole horizon in front of you.

My wife gave me a few minutes head start and with a nice tailwind pushing me home I opened the throttle.  I lasted 9 km before being overtaken.  Maybe if I were in shape…..

 

The greatest feeling I get whilst riding is getting out there and exploring the unknown.  I will be spending three days around Colac and are hoping to extensively explore the area.

To be continued……

Click here for a link to my Strava Activity.