Riding around Woodend for the long weekend.
Woodend, Victoria; 130km total.
Day 1 Melbourne to Woodend
We had a public holiday on Mon 11 March, so on the Friday before, we headed out of the city. Woodend is northwest of Melbourne. About an hour away by car or train; which was our chosen method. The VLine trains run every hour or so outside peak hours.
First we rode from home to Southern Cross rail station via the beach path, through St Kilda and Port Melbourne. It’s about 20km and as we took our time it was about an hour. We saw quite a few eBikes on the way, including an R&M Delite. It seemed to be in a group going out for a ride. This also included a German (or so we thought) with a bit of a home made ‘non-compliant’ bike… he said Bosch was ‘very good’...
We had to use the lifts at Southern Cross, no problems with that, and getting the bikes on the train was OK. The bike spaces are actually a bit too short for a regular bike so you have to jiggle them in a bit, and it’s also where people put the larger luggage, but they are clearly marked and do have a good long piece of velcro so you can secure your bikes and then go and sit down. The best bit, is the train is only $5 each way on top of our regular monthly metro ticket. Not bad.
As soon as we arrived at about lunchtime we made our way up Mt Macedon. It was pretty quiet. Good weather, mid-twenties, cloudy, not too hot. It is not too steep a climb but a steady 9km uphill to about 1000m with some flatter bits. The gradient went up to about 10%. We tried to keep it in Eco mode (50% assist), but Tour mode (120% assist) was definitely very welcome at some points. We could keep going all the way up, except for a couple of photo stops, and it definitely made it a much more relaxed, enjoyable ride that it would have been on our regular bikes. We stopped at the top for a nice flat white, and to take in the views, then had a blast going back down, hit a new max speed of 52km/h, as it was very quiet on the road. The bikes feel super safe & sturdy. It’s a nice ride through wooded scenery, with the smells of the gums, and sound of the birds.
Then we got to our accommodation for the next two nights; Upstairs at Northfield, a very comfy apartment, 10 minutes walk into town. So we wandered down to the Holgate Brewhouse, which is run by a Brit and has beer on hand pumps (or beer engines as they call them over here). We sampled the ESB and Northern Monkey. Both really good.
Day 2 around Woodend
We went to check out the Wombat MTB park. We decided the MTB tracks (1 & 2) were a little too mountain bikey. But it was a nice ride there through forest and farmland areas, with a downhill where we got up to 55 km/h!
We found a couple of tracks further down that then allowed us to cut across country and test the suspension properly. A lot of these back roads are metalled roads, quite gravelly and a bit bumpy, so the tyres were great on these. Will definitely get a map and go back and investigate this area further.
We made a stop at Tylden Junction, basically a servo and a pub, which didn’t look like too much from the outside, but it had a really nice outdoor area, and had good craft beer from fairly local Tooborac Brewery. This was a nice bonus, and it seemed like a great local to have, they even had a shuttle bus (we guess to get locals there & back). Then we went on a bit of a circular ride north back to Woodend. The Tour mode was very welcome towards the end of the ride, as it was warmer & sunnier that day. We met some very curious roos.
All in all, a very nice relaxing weekend away.