One of the things that separates cycling fans from other sporting fans is that most of us still participate in the sport itself. Whether it be recreationally or competitively, it’s a sport of longevity.
For all you cycling nuts who are bringing your bikes, there’s some excellent riding to be had near Geelong. I can’t claim to be an expert on these local rides and can only outline the rides I’ve done or have recommended to me. Feel free to add to the list or rate any of the rides posted below.
For anyone staying in Melbourne and looking for local rides, I’ve posted a few here.
As a side note, I’ve heard another good way with how some people are getting to Geelong from Melbourne. A good option for making a full day of riding and watching the races is by going to Geelong via Sorrento, taking the ferry across to Queenscliff ($12 with bike) and then riding onto Geelong to watch the race. This would be a ~130km ride and sounds like an excellent option with taking a bus home. Yes, a big day but EPIC!
This is probably one of the most convenient and easiest to navigate rides in the area. This 60km loop from Geelong has stunning views of the ocean near Barwon Heads (where Cadel calls home). See map here. Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
Bellarine Peninsula and Torquay
Torquay is an awesome little surf town with some excellent riding nearby. I highly recommend you see it. It might be a bit cold for a surf right now, but the famous Bells Beach is close by which you’ll definitely have to check out. You can do an awesome 130km loop from Geelong which will take you through around the Bellarine Peninsula to Queensliff, through to Barwon Heads,Torquay, and back. See detailed map here. Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced
If you’re looking for a bit more adventure and a taste of rural Victoria there’s lots of excellent back roads starting from the town of Anakie. This ~50km loop below was part of the Tour of Geelong and had fantastic riding. Lots of short sharp hills and quiet roads. You can see a detailed map of the loop here and the profile/photos here. I probably wouldn’t put this one on your “must do list”, but it’s a great option if you’re looking for something different. Difficulty: Advanced
Great Ocean Road
You can’t come all the way to Geelong and not see Australia’s Great Ocean Road. It’s a short drive from Geelong but well worth it. The scenery and riding is spectacular. Be cautious down the Great Ocean Road as it can get busy with traffic and has lots of blind corners. If you’re going to do it, early in the morning is the best time to go. Riding in a group of 4 would probably be the safest. If you ride in a larger group it might cause havoc with the local motorists.
Here’s a good 120km route that I’ve never ridden (only driven) but it’s been recommended to me numerous times. This should be on your “must do list”. See detailed map here.
If you want to venture a little further out along the Great Ocean Road you can head to Apollo Bay for some riding that will blow your mind. If you want to take a nice drive and get in an amazing ride while staying in Geelong, you can’t miss this one.
Here’s an spectacular 105km loop through the Otways. There’s a fantastic recreational event called the Rainforest Ride that’s taking place this December 11 that traverses this route. Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced
images courtesy of Rapid Ascent
Alternate there-and-back route from Apollo Bay to Cape Otway:
Barwon River Trail with coffee at the Barwon Edge or a beer at the Fyansford Hotel. Approx. 20km loop between Breakwater Bridge and the Fyansford Common. Great family ride and road-bike friendly for most of it (there’s one patch between Landy Field and Breakwater that’s do-able, but not nice and currently there’s some work being done between Shannon and Queens Park on the south side).
For a bit of an extra, Buckley’s Falls: On the south side where the river trail separates to go to Fyansford Common, continue around the river to the falls. Park the bike and take the steps down. Given all the rain lately, it should be flowing.
More extra: Baum’s Weir:
After coming off the island (or before going to it!), as you cross the bridge to the common the trail splits and there’s a small uphill and then a road. Take a left at the road and at the end of the road there’s a hill with a gravel track – head up there and navigate the paths around to the weir.
Foreshore and bollards:
Collect a map of the bollards from one of the information kiosks and go riding while learning about the history of Geelong from the many bollards along the way. A great option for visitors to Geelong – you can even see Melbourne if the day is clear enough! Flat (maybe one hill near Eastern Gardens), smooth path but watch out for all the people who will be walking along the same route.
When I have visitors staying with me, this is the route I take them on. Towards the Eastern Gardens end is Eastern Beach (with a pool and an enclosed sea swimming area) and a restaurant.
Bellarine Rail Trail:
This link tells you more about it than I can, especially given that I’ve never done it! http://www.railtrails.org.au/states/trails.php3?action=trail&trail=8 It’s a reasonably flat and mostly gravel track. Queenscliff, at the end of the trail, is a lovely and trendy little town. Nearby Point Lonsdale is also nice and has a lighthouse you can visit and see the view to the other side of the bay.
Oh, if you haven’t seen what the course looks like yet, here’s Koen de Kort, Tiffany Cromwell, Chris de Tymmz and myself riding it last January: