Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Local List Ticker


Due to unexpected stuff happening, I won't be able to make it on this ride. If anyone was planning on coming, please still turn up and do the ride without me! The route map is accurate (enough) but shoot me an email if you want some notes on the less obvious parts of the course and I'll tell you all I know. Oh, and take a few photos and I'll post your writeup here.



Visiting : Bald Spur, Andrew Hill, Toolangi, Pauls Range, Mt Jerusalem, Mt Everhard
Distance : ~115km
When : Saturday 31st August, 8:00am @ Hurstbridge Train Station
Where : Click here for route map (subject to change!)

I’ve got a long list of roads and trails I want to ride - this TWBD will seek to shorten that list a little. Centred around the Kinglake/Toolangi area, the highlights for me will be : 

UP Bald Spur Road
DOWN power lines track on the other side
UP Andrew Hill
Connect from Myers Creek Road to Pauls Range (HAB!)
UP Hunts Lane
UP Mt Jerusalem Track
DOWN Mt Everard Track

There’ll be a lot of climbing. This is the first decent ride that I’ll do on a geared mountain bike (ever!) and I want to get my money’s worth! I can say there’ll be some very steep climbs, some singletrack and possibly some untracked hike-a-bike, in addition to the usual fireroads, gravel, paved roads etc. They’re the knowns. As for the unknowns, you’ll have to come out and see for yourself because I’ve got NFI.

Bring 2 bidons minimum; we’ll do lunch/beer at Toolangi Tavern; if you’ve got a choice of bike go for the one with the lowest gears (plural) and the fattest tires. 

NOTE: This one's on the Saturday!

UPDATE: Tobe and Al went and did this ride even though I couldn't. Here's their writeup and photos...

The full story
(as told by Tobe and Al)

The day shaped up perfectly, with Tobe, Al, Neil and Chris (from Pedal Cyclery in Coburg) starting from Brunswick East out to Hursty, where a couple of us (Tobe and Al) headed out for some dirt with the intention to ride a loop out to Toolangi and back, following roughly Angry’s plan.

As we were pedaling along smiles all round, we noticed a group catching us up. As we were making a steady pace, we kept single file and chugged along. Then came the instruction, “Move over, slow down and let us pass”. As Tony Carboni passes us, he lays down the “rules” of being overtaken, where “the idea is…” basically to under no circumstances entertain the idea of cycling with another group, and always bow down to those doing a ‘serious’ ride. Anyhow, after working out this goose was for real, we told him to Vincent Van Gogh, and shortly after made it onto some gravel. We were after bushland peace, they were but an ugly remnant of the city. 

On our way out and up to the hills, we come across a band of free roaming goats, which our ignorant inner-city impulse demanded we interact with. We soon worked out that goats are the least civil animals around (save for those whom we encountered earlier, with carbon horns), and before we were seriously molested and mugged of our trailmix, we continued up.

This commenced the first climbing section of our day, the gravel road of ‘Big Bad’ Bald Spur aka Mont Brute. The thing is very brutal, very steep and very long. But as we inevitably stopped a few times for a breather, there were some shit hot views back to Melbourne, and surrounds.

We both hopped off, Tobe dishonourably, Al mostly due to his slicks spinning out (still quite phenominal to see what he got over, considering I was struggling on reasonable tread).

After we crested this section, we made our war down Power Line Track. There are some ‘Private Property’ signs around, but we felt like it was all good, so we persisted and got to where we needed to be. The signs are probably just there for 4b’s. This section was mad fun, as we had the roads totally to ourselves with yet more amazing scenery and a crazy good descent cut into the hills.

We ended up over-shooting our turn off, which is a little tricky to pin point. But again, we had an inkling it may not have been right, and due to the awesome nature of the ride, were not pissed about an extra k or so. So we made the turn off at Easement Track which was a super muddy (awesome) downhill fang onto Captain Creek Road. Capt Creek was a rocky and potholed (see puddle video / with Twin Peaks styled soundtrack) yet fast hardpacked road through Kinglake Nat Park, which lead us onto Kinglake Glenburn Rd. Delightful riding.
After a k or two on this, we split off onto Andrew Hill. The first four to five minutes of this section were awesome. Stoked from what we had just done, we were hungry. Unfortunately we got served with a wholly unpalatable concoction of the steepest fuckin’ hills around mixed with the slipperiest fuckin’ ground around. This was some heinous hike-a-bike. Contours seldom lie after all. We were walking this section for about 30-45mins, in full sun, the ground however too moist to get traction.

Still, we were out in the bush, who can complain really? Especially considering the slamming descent on the other side, it was well worth it. Thick moist bush track well covered with debris including a heap of fallen trees which pleasingly test ones hops (a couple forced dismount). The tranquillity of the bush was only momentarily interrupted by the squealing of cantis in times of uncertainty, but for the most part we hit this one pretty fast, and it was eye-wateringly, finger crampingly sweet. 

We then made it down to the flat where we took a left, cross the bridge and on to Gordon’s Bridge Rd which takes you onto the Melba. Passing through Castella, on the way to Toolangi is an easy backroad ride for the most part. When we reached the Toolangi Tavern we were in need of a rather large meal, a beer and good use of the facilities. Despite the pub’s jingle “We’re open seven days, for lunch or dinner always”, they do follow scripture which dictates that on the eighth day, no food shall be served at lunchtime. We copped a beer, 3 packs of crisps and some hard stares from a dude with a bleached blonde mullet and dangling earing. As there was no food, we weighed up some options, and decided to head back to Kinglake where we ate a fairly decent conveyer belt style pizza.

With perfect timing, we caught the sunset on the classic Heidelberg-Kinglake descent which was something special. Grabbed the 730ish train back to the city, and made it to The Union in time for a mates birthday drinks. All in all an absolutely solid day of riding through some beautiful Victorian bush. Angry said it would be hilly, and hot damn it was.

Cheers Angry.

Tobe n Al

* The land we rode on for this ride has always and still does belong to the Woiwurrung people. If anyone is interested, the histories of William Barak and the Coranderrk Aboriginal Station are a great place to start learning about Victorian land rights.



  1. Reschulde for the 28th Sept?

    1. Can't commit to a reschedule date. Will make lots of noise though, when the next open invite ride is on.

  2. Great site, spent the last few hours reading your trip reports.

    Now, the garage to build up my own gravel grinder.


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