Are you new to the cycling scene in Melbourne and looking for places to ride?  The easiest way to meet people and find popular routes is to join a Melbourne group ride. Everyone is welcome on the rides that I’ve listed below and there’s no need for an invite.  If it’s your first time, just show up, sit in, and watch what everyone else does. There’s many unwritten rules of etiquette on these rides and no one likes some new guy ruining it. Of course there’s heaps of other rides the smaller groups of cyclists organize themselves, but it would be like crashing a dinner party if you just showed up on one of those. There’s probably other rides throughout the Melbourne area where all are welcome, but the ones listed below are the most popular that I know of.

Weekday Morning Rides

On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday there is a popular group ride that leaves from the corner of North Rd and Nepean Hwy.  There are 2 groups that depart from this location. One at 5:45am and one at 6:00am.  I’d say that the 6am bunch is the more dangerous, erratic and advanced one. The 5:45 bunch is much better behaved and organised. Even though the route is the same on each weekday, there are differences in how the rides are ridden.  The difficulty of the ride depends on the day you go on.  I’ll explain in better detail for each day below.

Monday Morning
Very easy and social recovery ride.  Probably about 30km/hr. Don’t try to ramp up the pace or you’ll look like an hubbard. The bunch will just let you roll off the front and no one will play along. 

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Start Time: one bunch leaves at 5:45am and the other leaves at 6am sharp. Both are easy

Start Place: Corner of North Rd and Nepean Hwy. There is a small service road along Nepean Hwy near the BP Service Station where everyone waits for the ride to begin.   You can’t miss the dozens of cyclists waiting there.

Distance: 40km

Finish: Easy big fella. No bunch sprint finish today.

Bikely route description

Tuesday Morning
Fast ride averaging over 45km/hr. This can be hard if you’re sitting up at the front rolling turns.

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Start Time: One bunch leaves at 5:45am and the other leaves at 6am sharp.

Start Place: Corner of North Rd and Nepean Hwy. There is a small service road along Nepean Hwy near the BP Service Station where everyone waits for the ride to begin. You can’t miss the dozens of cyclists waiting there.

Distance: 40km

Finish: There is a bunch sprint at the BP station in St. Kilda at the end of the ride. Not endorsed or recommended, but it often happens.

Bikely route description

Tuesday Evening

Slow and social down to the end of beach road (travelling down New Street on part of the way out to avoid pm traffic). On the way back this ride is fast – over 45km/hr.

fitzroy-cycles-ride

Start Time: 6:30pm sharp

Start Place: Meet at the corner of Barkly St and Carlisle St in St Kilda

Distance: ~40km

Finish:  There is a bunch sprint at the BP station in St. Kilda at the end of the ride. Not endorsed or recommended, but it sometimes happens.

Bikely route description

Wednesday Morning

Slow on the way out and fast on the way back averaging over 45km/hr.   You can also keep going through the Mordialloc roundabout with some others who will continue going to Mt Eliza / Two Bays which is about a 80-90km trip. You’re usually back to St Kilda at 8:30 am. See the Bikely description here.

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Start Time: one bunch leaves at 5:45am and the other leaves at 6am sharp

Start Place: Corner of North Rd and Nepean Hwy. There is a small service road along Nepean Hwy near the BP Service Station where everyone waits for the ride to begin.   You can’t miss the dozens of cyclists waiting there.

Distance: 40km (short) or 90km (long)

Finish:  There is a bunch sprint at the BP station in St. Kilda at the end of the ride. Not endorsed or recommended, but it sometimes happens.

Bikely route description

Thursday Morning

Fast ride averaging over 45km/hr. Very much the same as Tuesday except that riders are starting to get tired and sometimes not quite as fast.

hour-of-power1

Start Time: one bunch leaves at 5:45am and the other leaves at 6am sharp

Start Place: Corner of North Rd and Nepean Hwy. There is a small service road along Nepean Hwy near the BP Service Station where everyone waits for the ride to begin. You can’t miss the dozens of cyclists waiting there.

Distance: 40km

Finish: There is a bunch sprint at the BP station in St. Kilda at the end of the ride. Not endorsed or recommended, but it sometimes happens.

Bikely route description

Thursday Evening

Tour of the Suburbs it’s sometimes called. Hilly ride with some decent short climbs throughout the north eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It’s getting to be a very large group, but everyone waits at the top of two of the longer climbs for the rest to catch up and a water refill.

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Start Time: leaves at 7pm

Start Place: Even though the map or Bikely description does not show it, the start place is on the corner of Chandler Hwy and Yarra Blvd (East Side) in a small parking lot. You’ll see dozens of riders there waiting before 7pm.

Distance: ~60km (depending where you start from)

Finish: There is a bunch sprint to the Red Rooster at the finish of the ride. The pace begins to ramp up on the final climb called “The Cutting” and once you hit the right hand turn at the roundabout the pace is on!

Bikely route description

Friday Morning

Very easy and social recovery ride (Same as Monday). About 30km/hr. Again, don’t try to ramp up the pace. There is now a large bunch who will turn off just before the roundabout at Mordialloc (at the church) who will ride back to St Kilda hard (45km/hr).

hour-of-power1

Start Time: one bunch leaves at 5:45am and the other leaves at 6am sharp

Start Place: Corner of North Rd and Nepean Hwy. There is a small service road along Nepean Hwy near the BP Service Station where everyone waits for the ride to begin.   You can’t miss the dozens of cyclists waiting there.

Distance: 40km

Finish: No bunch sprint finish.

Bikely route description

Weekends

Saturday Morning

Hell Ride. I don’t endorse this ride but I satisfy my guilty pleasure and attend it once or twice a year an then remember why I don’t do it. It can be fast at times, and probably considered and “intermediate to advanced” level of difficulty. However, to be on this ride you should be an advanced level rider.

UPDATE:  Before you think about going on the Hell Ride, read this post and consider if it’s worth it. It’s been giving Melbourne cycling a bad reputation for a long time and no one I can think of endorses it.

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Start Time: 7am.

Start Place: leaves from a bike clothing shop called Le Knicks at Black Rock (just past the roundabout where the clock tower is).

Distance: ~70km from the Blackrock start/finish

Finish: Massive sprint finish back at Black Rock.

Saturday Racing

In the summers there’s usually no crit racing on Saturdays. Road races are usually held on Saturdays in the winter. There may be exceptions to this though. I believe that Footscray cycling club sometimes does crit racing in the winters.

Sunday Morning

In the summer there’s usually racing on Sunday’s.  The big ones are held by SKCC and CCCC.

The only organized bunch ride that I’m aware of on Sundays is CCCC’s “KFC Ride” in the winter. You can see the details of this ride on their website.

Other Rides

Dandenongs

There’s no open invite groups that I’m aware of who go to the Dandenongs but that shouldn’t stop you.   The Dandenongs offer spectacular riding with many hills to be conquered.  There’s heaps of different routes that you could link up in the Dandies and here’s one of them.  There’s lots of small towns and places to stop for water and food, so just go up there and get lost. It won’t disappoint.

dandenong-rides

Bikely Route Description

Kinglake
Kinglake is another popular riding area with lots of hills. Here is one of the many routes.

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Bikely Route Description

The Climbing Cyclist

For all of you climbers new to the area you’ll want to check out The Climbing Cyclist’s blog. He’s documented many of Victoria’s best climbs and gives excellent descriptions on their routes and how to get there.