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.

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

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.

Arthurs Seat climb

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Arthurs Seat
Distance: 4.1 km
Average Gradient: 7%
Elevation gain: 287 metres
Terrain: Forest
Road Surface: Good

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

The windy tourist road up to Arthurs Seat was first built in 1929 and is a very popular climb amongst cyclists.  Arthurs Seat rises 314 metres above sea level & dominates the local surroundings.  Climbing Arthurs Seat is no easy feat & with some of the best views that you’ll get of Port Phillip Bay.  This is considered one of The Mornington Peninsula’s most iconic climbs.

Generally you’ll find the gradient quite consistent & easy to get into a rhythm.  There are many switcbacks along the way & these are where you’ll earn your money as they can be very, very steep.

Make sure you get a photo on Arthurs Seat at the top.

Not surprising that Arthurs Seats popularity has led to it being used in numerous recreational events throughout the year and is used as the Queen stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour which is Australia’s oldest stage race.

Arthurs Seat State Park

Arthurs Seat State Park is a prominent feature in the landscape of Port Philip Bay. The 314 metre summit provides spectacular views of the bay, which on a clear day can stretch as far as the city skyline, You Yangs and even Mount Macedon.

The park’s most popular attraction is the Arthurs Seat summit, where visitors can take in the stunning views. The park offers a wide variety of recreational activities which include hiking, photography, dining, picnicking and mountain biking. Take the pleasant circuit walk to Kings Falls or visit the delightful Seawinds Garden, featuring indigenous and exotic formal gardens among the sculptures by William Ricketts.  Lose yourself in the Enchanted Maze Garden and wander through its 20 themed gardens.  Then board a state-of-the-art gondola at the Arthurs Seat Eagle and fly over the state forest.

Please note that dogs are not permitted in the park.

Getting there

Arthurs Seat State Park is located 60km south of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula. Access to the park from Melbourne is via Mornington Peninsula Freeway and the Arthurs Scenic Road.

Cycling Warburton

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Beauty, serenity, adventure.  These are all things which you can experience when you take a ride out to Warburton.  This beautiful little town is situated to the east of the Yarra Valley and is a stunning place to visit, and an amazing place to ride.  The town lies in a valley at the base of Mount Little Joe and Mount Donna Buang.  The Yarra River flows through the town, and these are elements which are mixed beautifully in the one area.  Warburton is close enough to easily come down for a day trip, but also has enough variety to justify booking a night or three to spend some time in cycling paradise. 

Lilydale Warburton Trail

Here are 8 of the best rides you can do around Warburton:

1. Mount Donna Buang

Mount Donna Buang is one of Melbourne’s most popular climbs. It is 16.8 km in length with an average gradient of 6.4%. A high level of fitness is required to make the ascent to the top of Mount Donna Buang. This climb takes you through a stunning Rainforest.  Which is home to some magnificent tall Mountain Ash trees and ancient Myrtle Beech Trees.  Ferns, Mosses and other plants and an array of wildlife.  If you get lucky on a clear day you pass several lookouts.  Where you can see views of Warburton and the Yarra Valley which is a sight to behold.

Mount Donna Buang

2. Lilydale Warburton Trail

The Lilydale Warburton trail follows the old Warburton Railway line which was originally built in 1901.  And closed down in 1965.  The trail runs a distance of 40 km between Lilydale and Warburton.  Which passes through the beautiful Yarra Valley offering stunning scenery throughout. The trail provides a wonderfully relaxed and safe cycling experience.

The trail is suited to riders of all abilities and the surface is well-maintained, hard-packed gravel.  And can be ridden on any type of bike (including a Road Bike). This makes riding easy and safe for adults and children alike. The trail is fairly flat overall.  However there are a handful of climbs along the way that should be able to be climbed by riders of most abilities. Just be mindful that it is a shared trail, and you may come across walkers, runners & horse-riders.

The ride begins behind the Warburton Police Station.  Which is just behind the Visitor Tourist Information Centre.

Lilydale Warburton Trail

3. The O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail

The O’Shannassy Aqueduct, was built in 1914.  It was instrumental in delivering water to the Melbourne metropolitan area for 82 years. The Aqueduct was decommissioned in 1996, and is now use as a recreation trail.  Which stretches 30 km in its entirety, and offers a wonderful cycling experience.  There is access to the car park at the top of Yuonga Road in Warburton. The trail is suited to a CX or Mountain Bike. The trail is quite isolated.  So make sure that you bring adequate supplies as there are no shops along the trail.

O’Shannassy’s Trail

4. The Reefton Spur

A short distance out of Warburton East is the Reefton SpurThis is a 20 km undulating climb which has an average gradient of 3% which is a pure joy to climb.  The climb winds its way through the Yarra Ranges National Park.  You’ll find several lookouts along the way which offer great photo opportunities.  You’ll soon discover why the Reefton Spur has a reputation as one of Victoria’s most popular tourist roads. 

The first 7 km of this climb is quite challenging.  Before the road flattens out and becomes quite undulating till you reach the Cumberland junction.  It is important that you bring adequate supplies and equipment as there is only one shop Between Warburton and the end of the Reefton Spur.

The Reefton Spur

5. Old Warburton Road

Old Warburton Road “aka Little Joe” is a tourist road which runs between Warburton to Millgrove.  It is an excellent detour if you want to avoid the traffic on the main highway.  The climb up Old Warburton Road fromWarburton is 4.3 km in length.  Even with a steep descent in-between has an average gradient of 5%. A high level of fitness is required.   This road will take you across the lower slopes of Mount Little Joe and is a must do by bike. 

After reaching the peak the descent down to Millgrove is fast & furious.  Please take care on the descent as there are several high speed technical corners. 

Old Warburton Road

6. Dirty Donna (part gravel)

The dirty Donna is fast becoming one of Melbourne’s most popular dirt climbs.  Which will venture through the western slopes of Mount Donna Buang.  There are many amazing photo opportunities along the way.  This road can be accessed via Don Road, which can be attempted from two directions:

  1. From Healesville, via Panton Gap.  The first 9.5km of this climb is sealed before hitting the gravel section. This climb is 24.5 km  in length with an average gradient of 5%
  2. From Launching Place via Don Valley.  This climb is 24.3km in length with an average gradient of 4%.  Whilst this side isn’t as steep as Panton Gap.  It has a much longer section of dirt road to contend with.  Offering a much more scenic ascent than the Panton Gap side.

Both sides require a high level of experience and fitness, and either may be climbed using a Road bike.  We recommended that you run at least a 25 mm tire. During the winter months Mount Donna Buang Road is closed to motorists.  And not maintained over the winter months.  This has become a popular ride for the adventure seekers to do over winter.  The road is covered in debris from fallen trees.   Offering a number of challenges and is a bucket list ride.

Mount Donna Buang Road

7. The Acheron Way (mainly gravel)

The Acheron Way is a 28 km gentle climb which joins onto the Mount Donna Buang climb at Cement Creek.  The views along the way are amazing.  Through dense Rain forest and a seemingly endless array of giant Ferns.  The Acheron Way is a pure joy to ride. The road is sealed over the first 14.6 km out from Narbethong.  This has a consistent false flat with an average gradient of 2%.  The last 13 km of this road is over gravel, and its a great road to ride.  You’ll have to keep an eagle eye on the road. Loose gravel, animals, corrugations and the odd pothole are all dangers that you will want to avoid. I’ve ridden this road on a Road bike with 23 mm tires.  But would recommend that you run at least a 25 mm or 28 mm tire yourself.

Whilst there aren’t many steep pinches along the way, this is a long climb and will test you.  The gravel section has subtle gradient changes throughout, and is a pleasure to climb. When you get to Cement Creek.  If you’re a hill junkie you might want to turn right and climb to the summit of Mount Donna Buang. 

The Acheron Way is quite secluded and if you attempt to ride this road you should bring adequate provisions to get you safely home.

Acheron Way image taken by Greenalias

8. The Roads less travelled

Some of the best climbing that Warburton has to offer is within the town itself. The town has dozens of sealed and unsealed backstreet climbs.  All are incredibly steep! Martyr’s Road is the most famous of these climbs.  Holding the reputation as one of Victoria’s steepest residential streets which peaks at close to 30%. This is a climb will sort the men from the boys.  Its one of those climbs which will cement your reputation as a mountain goat if you can get up it in one piece.  There is a number of backstreet climbs which we could recommend.  If you want the most fun you would have is by getting out there and exploring them for yourself. 

Martyr Road Image taken by Ewan Hilsdon

Cylcing around Warburton

There isn’t another town within the state of Victoria which has as many great riding options that Warburton has on offer.   There are a number of other great ride options that I haven’t mentioned.  Such as taking the dirt ride out to the Ada tree.  This is a giant Mountain Ash that is estimated to be at least 300 years old and stands about 76 meters high with a circumference of 15 meters.  You can visit the Californian Redwood Forest in Warburton East.  Or take a pleasant stroll across any of the three historical bridges in town.  Not to mention there’s some truly amazing Mountain Bike experiences.  Next time you’re out here go and explore. Do a choose your own adventure ride. Warburton is quite a special place to ride all year round.

Californian Redwood Forest

Directions:                                           Warburton is approximately 72 km east of Melbourne

                                                              on the Warburton Highway

Accomodation Options:                      Visit Warburton Info Website

Information Centre:                            Warburton Highway

Cog Cafe:                                              For all of your bike needs, the Cog Café offers great

                                                               food & Coffee.  Bike rentals as well as bike repairs. 

                                                               You’ll find the Café located just behind the Police

                                                               Station at the start of the Lilydale Warburton Trail.

                                                                Visit Cog Café Website

The Crucifix Dandenongs

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There is an iconic ride in the Dandenong Ranges which is nicknamed “the Crucifix”. It is unknown who originally came up with the idea behind this ride, however someone realised that when you combine four of the Dandenong’s hardest climbs in one consecutive rides it looked a lot like a broken Crucifix on a map.  This is quite a challenge as each and every one of the four climbs offering their own challenges and a great ride to test yourself out against.

The Crucifix Dandenongs

The ride comprises four main climbs:

Here is a link to the Crucifix Strava segment here:

The 1 in 20

Each of the four climbs offer their own challenges and it doesn’t matter which order that do the Crucifix in.  However if you’re a climbing junkie then you’ll likely save the hardest till last……

Distance:                      71 km

Elevation gain:           1,900 vertical

The Devil’s Elbow

The Super Crucifix

If you’re the type of rider who likes a really good challenge and doesn’t consider that you’ve finished a climb until you’ve gone to the highest possibly peak then consider giving the Super Crucifix a go.  It’s pretty much a juiced up version of the Crucifix.  More k’s.  More vert.

The Super Crucifix involves completing all of the climbs listed above, but finishing each of them up at Sky High:

Distance:                     94 km

Elevation gain:           2,850 vertical

Sky High

If you haven’t done this ride I would highly recommend you put this on your bucket list.  The Crucifix is one of the Dandenong Ranges most popular riders to do.  And is guaranteed to offer you a good hard workout.

Inverness Road

 

Plan your ride

Public transport

Train services available to “Upper Ferntree Gully” train station.  From the train station there is an easy 500 metre climb to the official start of the Devil’s Elbow climb.  Click here for Public Transport Victoria for train timetable.

Parking

If you want to drive to the Dandenong’s for this ride.  Here are the best places to park:

  1. The 1 in 20 has all day parking in the car park next to the Basin Fire Brigade.
  2. The Devil’s Elbow has ample parking available at the Upper Ferntree Gully Train station on Burwood Highway.  From the train station there is an easy 500 meter climb to the official start of the Devil’s Elbow climb.
  3. Inverness Road has no parking available.
  4. There is ample parking at the Safeway car park in Monbulk.   There is a short 800 meter ride to the base of the climb.
The Wall

Best times to ride

Monday – Friday:

Avoid peak hour traffic and ride between 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Weekend:

The Dandenong’s attracts a large number of tourist traffic over the weekend.  It is best to schedule your rides early in the morning.

Public toilets are available:

  • At the base of the 1:20
  • In Sassafras at the top of the 1:20
  • At Sky High
  • In Olinda just off the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road