Monthly Archives: September 2013

Coffee and cycling – a great combination

Why is it that coffee and cycling go so well together?

At the end of my training rides I reward myself with a coffee and treat at my local café before going home.

After levering myself, groaning, off my bike, I plonk myself down at a footpath table, stretch my legs out and order a flat white.

I’ll also gather up the weekend paper for a browse or check out Twitter or Facebook or check out my day’s riding stats.

And then the coffee comes. And that first sip is divine. I can’t explain it but the intense exercise and exhaustion make it taste so much better than any other time.

Maybe because I know it’s a little reward to myself for the effort I’ve put in that day and that makes it taste all the better.

Today’s treat was a triple chocolate cookie, which I definitely deserved, after slogging away into a 20-30kph headwind the whole way home. Other days it might be a berry muffin.

But I’m not the only rider with a fixation for coffee.

On my rides down the Mornington Peninsula I pass plenty of cafes and most have bikes leaning along their walls outside, lycra clad riders sipping coffees and chatting at outdoor tables.

And then there are the bike shops that have added a coffee machine and turned part of themselves into a café.

Even McDonald’s has gotten into the act, with the one in Frankston erecting a metal bar in their carpark where riders can hang their bikes while they stop for a rest.

Anyway, whatever it is that makes cycling and coffee such a great fit, may it long continue.

(Again, sorry about the lack of pictures. As I said in my last post, I’m too busy pedalling! Need a Gopro – hint Santa)


Around the Bay training

(No pic for this post I’m afraid. Too busy pedalling!)

So, I’ve entered the Around the Bay bike ride.

For anyone who doesn’t know it, the ‘round the bay starts in the centre of Melbourne and then circles Port Phillip Bay. It’s touted as Australia’s largest one-day bike ride and is definitely one of, if not THE biggest day on Melbourne’s cycling calendar.

I’ve entered the 210km option, which will see me starting at around 5.30am on October 20 with, no doubt, thousands of other riders. We’ll pedal to Geelong, then down the Bellarine Peninsula, cross on the ferry to Sorento, and then back to Melbourne. There’s a 250km option but I thought, given this is my first try, I wouldn’t be too hard on myself.

In preparation for the big day, which according to the countdown clock on the event website is just 27 days away, I’ve been doing long weekend training rides to get some kilometres on my legs.

My general route takes in some of the event’s route and is, weather and wind permitting, a pleasant ride.

I set out either Saturday or Sunday early in the morning, around 7ish, and head down to Beach Road. It’s a spectacular road that hugs the coast and goes through several of Melbourne’s million dollar suburbs. It’s hard to keep your eyes on the road when on one side of the road there are mansions to sticky-beak at and then, on the other, pretty beaches and the bay. Add to that people watching as other early risers go for jogs or walk their dogs.

But keeping your eye on the road is a must as Beach Road is an extremely popular route for bike riders. There are hundreds on the weekends, some solo, others in large training packs that whizz and whirr past like a quiet train. They can be quite intimidating (a topic worthy of a separate blog one day).

I’m a solo rider and like to pedal at my own pace. I head south, past Frankston, and then go a little further each weekend before turning around and returning the way I came. First was as far as Mt Eliza, then Mornington, then Mt Martha, and then Dromana. Each little bit further I go I see new places and sights. And I’m enjoying my new discoveries.

My favourite so far is the narrow, winding coast road from Mornington south. It has lots of ups and downs, the traffic has to go slow because of its twists and turns, and the views out to the bay are spectacular. Mt Martha is also a pleasant surprise, with a nice beach and a cluster of cafes across the road. I’m looking forward to returning there during summer.

Anyway, the training rides continue.



The Domino Trail

About an hour’s drive north-west of Melbourne is Trentham.

It’s a quiet, cute little country town with a couple of cool cafes too. Red Beard Bakery is legendary for its breads, lunches and sweet treats while Du Fermier is more upscale.

Trentham also has a nice walk called the Domino Trail.

The old Trentham train station

The old Trentham train station

It starts at the town’s historic train station, which is now a tourist information centre, and follows an old, disused rail line through the Wombat State Forest.

One of my favourite things about Victoria is the rail trails around the country-side. It’s nice to know that while trains may no longer run along them, they’re still there for walkers and bike riders to explore.

The Domino Trail is an easy, flat, straight walk that makes for a pleasant way to walk off lunch and any treats from the cafes: for me last weekend, a custardy, creamy, delicious pastry from Du Fermier.

The Domino Trail

The Domino Trail

The trail is around five kilometres long, or a 10km return trip.

It passes through areas of forest that were once logged but are now protected as habitat for the endangered Powerful Owl. It also crosses a couple of creeks and through areas of swamp, but there’s no risk of getting your feet wet on the raised bed of the old railway.

End of the line

End of the line

There’s a loop near the end of the walk, but we misread the map and missed the turn off. So instead we walked to the trail’s end at Lyonville and then retraced our steps back to Trentham.