More Melbourne Routes
The best road cycling in Melbourne
Beach Road (Melbourne CBD to Mornington) ~ 120k return – Mostly Flat
One of the most recognised routes by name, this ride takes you by some of well-known bayside communities like St. Kilda and Black Rock and beyond to Frankston and Mornington.
The bay side scenery is lovely. The light undulating terrain and lack of traffic interruptions is envy of every Sydney rider. The temptation to continue is persistent - just beyond Morning is the slightly hillier terrain of Mount Martha, beyond that the icon climb to Arthurs Seat, from which you can see the distant beach side towns of Sorrento and Portsea. You get the feeling, and so will you legs. So remember the 60km ride back to Melbourne and maybe save Portsea for another day.
See the route here
“Kew” (Walmer Street to Chandler Hwy) ~13k return – Undulating/Hilly
Here’s your chance to get some “hills” in without having to go too far out of the eastern suburbs. Beautiful Kew provides a short but sharpish chance to work your legs, while also providing a great photo opp (stopping at the bench located near the Johnston St bridge & entrance) with a view over the Collingwood Children’s Farm into the CBD. There’s a very good possibility that you’ll even see hot air balloons in the morning sky!
Being only a 13k return segment, it gives a rider the chance to do this route as much as they have time for. Often groups will meet at the par-3 golf course called The Boulevard (on Walmer St) and leave from there. Another starting place is the parking lot at Studley Park Boathouse. This provides the opportunity to get the climbing legs working early, as you have to climb back out to the circuit. Scattered along the route are off-shoot streets with their own 100-300m challenges (like the well-known Yarra St. quad buster). Get into an easy gear early or you’ll be turning around for another run at it! It is recommended that you go with someone who knows the route if you are looking to do any of the extended streets. Otherwise, this route is pretty self explanatory from Walmer St to the Chandler Hwy and back.
Albert Park Lake (Grand Prix circuit counter-clockwise) ~5k loop – Flat & Fast
Time-trialists saddle up! Want a section of road with space, little traffic, and only one traffic light? This is it. There’s a reason why the Gran Prix is held here every March; it’s fast, curvy, and fun to ride. Given the fact that it’s all left-hand turns, this means you don’t need to cross traffic. However, you still need to obey traffic, as there are intersections where you do meet up with it (Aughtie Dr, Lakeside Dr). Just ride with some caution, obeying give-way & stop signs are a must to avoid any accidents. Be mindful of the turns, and look ahead for traffic. If it’s clear, give it! This can be a great chance to get the pistons working and to check yourself against the clock.
This loop is only a few km’s from the CBD with easy access through South Melbourne via Clarendon, Moray, or St. Kilda Rd/Albert Rd. It’s also another great chance for a photo opp, as the view cross the lake into the city skyline being one of the best around. If you’re not riding too fast, that is.
See the route here
Yarra Bend Boulevard (CityLink exit to Bridge Road) – 6k return – Flat & Fast
Less known but still worthy of a quick ride is Yarra Bend Blvd in Burnley. It’s used as both a running route for the Sri Chinmoy races and also multiple duathlon races in the Spring. It’s another route to get an easy or fast spin done before or after work. You need to be mindful of two intersections on this route. The first comes at the lights on Riversdale Rd. If traffic is behaving and keeping clear of the Keep Clear block (makes sense!) an alert rider can sneak through to the last 2k of the segment. Then it’s just a matter of being aware of the traffic to/from the boulevard onto Bridge Rd at the other end of the route. From here, it’s a faster ride back to the CityLink start. You can even give the first intersection a bit of a go as you peel off to the left onto the blvd again.
The following routes are popular weekend rides for those wanting a “training” or longer substantial 3-5 hour workout.
Frankston/Mornington/Arthur’s Seat ~90-160k return – Undulating/Flat/Hilly
As an extension to the “Beach Rd” ride, you’ll continue past Pier Rd where Beach Rd ends at a roundabout, making a right turn onto Nepean Highway. Continuing for 16km to Frankston, then make the climb up Oliver’s Hill towards Mt. Eliza. The grade of this ride is fairly relaxed – mostly flat to undulating, however there is the opportunity to challenge the legs and lungs in the short climb up Oliver’s Hill. Be mindful that on the return trip into Frankston the descent is a little steep and there is no bike lane or verge – ensure you find your own space in the left lane early, hold your line and keep yourself visible to cars.
Staying on Nepean (Route 3) you’ll head towards Mornington. A rider can choose to stay on this road which becomes B110, or take a more scenic route along the beach again. To get there you take a right turn at Shandon St/Bungower Rd to Beleura Hill Rd and make your way to the Esplanade (C783). This will take you through Mt. Martha to Safety Beach and then Dromana. From here you get on C789 to make the climb to Arthur’s Seat. Note however, that you can choose to stay on the Nepean and ride all the way to Sorrento if you wanted to, but it’ll be a much longer day in the saddle.
The great thing about this ride is that you will never feel too isolated – aside from the many cyclists who are sure to be out on that route on any given day, the majority of the ride is within close proximity to bike shops, train stations, service stations and cafes – so you are unlikely to find yourself alone.
See the route here
Dandenong Ranges (various climbs) ~90 to 120k return – Undulating/Hilly
The “Dandenongs” can be a great place to spend a couple hours, offering multiple climbs within and around Mt. Dandenong. Most climbs end up in Olinda, but they can vary to/from different spots. Some of the major climbs here are:
The Basin - Sassafras - Olinda. Often referred to as "The 1-in-20" (easy). Olinda is usually the destination point, but a person can go to the SkyHigh if they choose. On a clear day you can get a good photo back to Melbourne.
Upper Ferntree Gully - Ferny Creek - Sassafras - Olinda. Often referred to by the corners called "The Devil's Elbows". (moderate)
Belgrave - Kallista - Sherbrook - Sassafras - Olinda. (moderate)
Montrose - Kalorama – Mt. Dandenong/Olinda. Beautiful view over Silvan Dam to the Yarra Valley on a clear day. (moderate)
Monbulk - Olinda. Often referred to as "The Wall" - pinches a bit in the middle of the climb. (moderate to hard)
"The Crucifix" involves a combination of these.
There are a few ways to get to The Dandenongs. One of the main routes from the city is Burwood Hwy (Route 20-Route 26-Route 28) through Camberwell. This ends up at The Basin. Another way is Canterbury Rd (Route 17-Route 32) after Camberwell, which brings you to Montrose. These are probably the more straight-forward ways to get out there. However, they are also high traffic areas, so one must be careful with the trucks that use this route especially if you are riding during the day. There are also options to take the Metro Trains either to or from the Mt. Dandenong area, making it possible to miss the Easter Suburbs traffic. This is explained in the Transportation chapter.
Kinglake return (Xmas Hills/Whittlesea) – 90 to 120k return – Undulating/Hilly
Kinglake is another woody destination that provides riders with a challenging climbing day in the saddle. After the devastating fires of Black Saturday in 2009, the region has bounced back with plenty of growth and rebuilt local townships. Once again on a clear day the Kinglake/Kinglake West area provides great views over the Yarra Valley and even back into the city.
There are multiple ways to get to Kinglake from the CBD via the NE suburbs. One of the more undulating and quite honestly, less forgiving routes, is Route 44 from Ivanhoe through Eltham to Kangaroo Ground. From here C728 takes you to St. Andrew and then on to Kinglake. On your return from Kinglake another option from St. Andrew is the C746 which takes you through Hurstbridge to Greensborough on your way back to the city. This is a good opportunity to catch the Metro Train if the legs have had enough. The two other ways to get back to the city from Kinglake is either through Yarra Glen/Christmas Hills or via Kinglake West/Whittlesea. Both are good options - with the Christmas Hills providing a bit more climbing, and Whittlesea providing a chance to get some flat speed work back into Bundoora.
The climb proper is steady and moderate. It does have a little kicker prior to which will get the blood pumping. The last 2k of the climb is slightly increased in elevation but nothing too difficult. In fact, as previously mentioned, the undulating ride on your return to the city will probably be the most challenging part of the day.
Livelo's Guide to Using the Garmin GPS to follow a course can be found here