Riding the popular rail trail not far from Melbourne.
Warburton, Victoria; 130km total
Day 1 Melbourne to Warburton
The Lilydale to Warburton rail trail is a popular ride. There are a couple of gradients that are a little challenging, but nothing too severe. It’s about 40km in total. We’re getting to the end of summer here and so the weather can be a bit unreliable. But we ended up with a warm sunny day. Perfect! We also decided not to take the battery chargers with us this time. They take up a fair bit of room and we wanted to see how long we could go on dual batteries anyway.
We rode from home to East Camberwell station (about 10km); the most convenient place for us to jump on the train to Lilydale. After an unscheduled change at Box Hill, we arrived at Lilydale station late morning. We hadn’t ridden the trail for a long time and headed out onto the busy road up to the start of the trail. We really don’t like cycling along busy roads as it increases the chance of issues with cars. When we got the trail we realised that it had been extended down to the rear of Lilydale station. We needn’t have ridden along the busy road in traffic.
The trail is pretty much all gravel on a hard base which means regular road bikes will struggle. Our bikes are shod with Schwalbe Rock Razors. We’ve been impressed by these tyres so far. They don’t offer too much resistance on tarmac and very little road noise. On this trail, they came into their own. Not once did they slip or make us feel unsafe.
After a few kilometres, we decided to stop for a coffee and a treat. There aren’t too many cafes along the trail so you take the opportunity to stop when you can. The Trail Cafe is a good choice and was pretty busy for a Friday. Great coffee and delicious treats. After a a brief rest, we headed off.
The first few kilometres are mainly through woodland. Then it opens out. We’d forgotten what a good ride this is and we’re definitely thinking about doing it again soon. It can be done there and back in one day. But this time we decided to stopover in Warburton for a couple of nights. We had found a great place on Airbnb which suited us perfectly.
We stopped frequently to take photos and enjoy the scenery. We ended up taking about 3 hours to get to the outskirts of Warburton.
Day 2 around Warburton
Overnight we had stormy weather. Lots of wind and rain. By morning it had chilled down quite a bit. The forecast was changeable so we decided to ride a trail that started not far from where we were staying.
The O’Shannassy Aquaduct trail is high above the town and winds through temperate rain forest. It was a bit soggy under-tyre but the Razors did their job and kept us going. We went for about 10km until we reached a sign that stated the trail was closed for maintenance. The annoying thing was that the sign didn’t have a date so we couldn’t figure out if it was current. But the ride was great and as we headed back it started to drizzle, so maybe it was fortunate the remainder of the trail was closed.
Got back to the accommodation, had a cup of tea and a biscuit and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings - just the cockatoos and kookaburras doing their thing.
Then we headed into town to Little Joe pizza. Great pizza and just what we needed.
Day 3 back to Melbourne
The weather really was on our side again. After the previous day’s cooler and changeable weather we had a cold start but it quickly warmed up.
Stopped at Woori Yallock and had a good chat with a couple of guys on bikes. One was on a regular bike, the other an eBike. We chatted about the pros (nice to have some assist at the end of a long ride) and cons (the additional weight) of eBikes. But we all agreed that whatever gets you out and about, is a good thing. A recent study looked at the benefits of riding bikes for the over 50’s; eBikes come off better than you might initially think.
We hit a mini milestone on the way back - 500km total distance since we got the bikes.
When we got close to Lilydale, we made sure we followed the trail to avoid the busy road. We came across a BMX competition so we stopped to watch. It was great to see very young kids giving it their all on a track that would have required a lot of effort on their part.
Got the train back to East Camberwell and then put it in tour mode all the way home. We’re already planning the next visit. Oh… and the batteries still had about 40km left in them when we got back. Not bad.