(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.