Melbourne, for the uninitiated visitor, is an e-biker’s delight. With a cycling culture as developed as the cities’ world class network of cycle paths it is a destination that should be on the bucket list of all keen cyclists – of both the e-bike and non-ebike persuasion.
After exploring – and enjoying - a selection of Victoria’s rail trails and the e-mountain biking on offer at the ski fields of Mt Buller, Mt Buffalo and Falls Creek, my wife, Rachel, and I headed back to Melbourne with one intention – to ride our AVE Adventure bikes on as many cycle trails as possible in the precious few days we had available.
Prior to arriving in Melbourne there was no way, we believed, that we could have as much fun cycling in a city as big as Melbourne as we did in country Victoria.
But let me tell you here and now that we were wrong, very wrong.
Melbourne Offers a Maze of Cycle Trails
What we discovered was a maze of world class cycle paths heading in every possible direction that would take weeks, if not months, to discover if all were to be cycled.
So given that we had just days, not months, the decision was made to sample what we hoped would be the best of the best.
As such we tackled the Main Yarra Trail from Federation Square in the city to Westerfold Park in the outer suburbs at Templestowe, the entire 29km length of the Capital City Trail which loops around the central business district, a section of the Bay Trail which follows the coastline of Port Phillip Bay from Port Melbourne to Seaford and, finally, the Merri Creek Trail which meanders for 21kms through the northern suburbs.
What we discovered were trails that were rated as ‘easy’ and as such were perfect for all cyclists of all ages and fitness levels, including newbies keen to try out an electric bike for the first time.
With no traffic problems to deal with and given the fact that all of the trails were well signposted, offered ample photo opportunities and, in the case of the Main Yarra and Merri Creek Trails, traversed heavily forested wildlife corridors, it was hard to believe we were riding electric bikes just kilometres from the centre of a major city.
Take My Advice – Don’t Join the Morning Peak Rush
Given that we were visiting mid-week, for the vast majority of the time we basically had the trails to ourselves except on one not-so-memorable occasion when I decided to cycle into the city along the Main Yarra Trail during the morning peak rush.
Wow, what an eye-opener. The cycle path was packed with commuters!
So for anyone planning to ride the bicycle trails of Melbourne on your electric bike for the first time learn from my experience and wait until after the morning and afternoon rush periods before heading out – you will save yourself and everyone else a lot of stress!
After conquering the cycle trails of Melbourne it was time to head back home to south-east Queensland via Canberra and Sydney for more inner city cycle trail experiences.
Canberra Was a Revelation
Like Melbourne, Canberra was a revelation. Previously my only experience of getting around Canberra was in a car.
But let me tell you here and now that the city provides a whole different experience from the seat of an e-bike.
With cycle paths heading in every possible direction it was just a case of working out which tourist attractions we wanted to see before working out the best route.
As such we visited the Australian War Memorial, the new and old Parliament Houses, the Canberra Arboretum, cycled to the top of Mt Ainslie, to the observatory on top of Mt Stromlo and circumnavigated Lake Burley Griffin – not bad for just seven hours of e-biking (sightseeing included).
With Melbourne and Canberra successfully explored on our AVE e-bikes, tomorrow it is Sydney’s turn.
Next Up - Sydney
After bagging the city as a cycling destination in a previous blog I was contacted by a patriotic Sydneysider keen to prove to me that there is another, largely unseen, side to the city that boasts mainly traffic free cycling.
Keen to take him up on his offer to guide me around the city for a day I am eagerly awaiting a day of discovery Sydney style.
Stay tuned for what I discover.