It’s exactly 14 days until the World Championships come to Australia. In the lead-up to this amazing event I’ll run a series of posts about different aspects of the race. Where to ride, where to watch, coffee shops, LBS’s, etc. The RIDE World Championships Official and the Herald Sun (other) Official Guide both do a fantastic job at this, however your comments and contributions will valuably add to the info we already have. I know many of you reading are from Geelong and have some great local knowledge.
Please keep in mind that I have no affiliation with the World Champs committee and I’m not in constant contact with them. I get this information from the official sources (magazines and websites) and if things change I’m not necessarily notified.
Also, I have a few RIDE World Championships Guides to give away over the next couple weeks. I’ll draw these prizes randomly to a commenter who adds to the topic of the day.
First thing’s first: Accommodation and getting to Geelong.
The Accommodation topic is going to be short and sweet. Geelong is a relatively small city with a population of 160,000. For the past three months I’ve tried to find affordable accommodation there with no avail. Everything is booked solid. The only other options are small nearby towns such as Torquay. If you’re looking for accommodation near Geelong wotif might be your best resource.
From what I’ve been hearing many of the athletes will be staying in Melbourne. The UCI host accommodation is the Grand Hotel in the Melbourne city center (this isn’t secret information – it’s on the Worlds official website). This doesn’t mean that the cyclists will be staying at the Grand Hotel, but I’m sure there will be a great buzz around there during the week. I’m sure we’ll be seeing all the PROs spinning their legs around Beach Road and if the weather holds up it will be an amazing scene. Cafe Racer and other places in the St. Kilda area will be the place to be to catch all the action.
There And Away – Getting To Geelong
As most of you know the start of the Men’s race is held at Federation Square in Melbourne. The start is always one of my favorite places to catch a race. The riders are chilled-out and always up for a chat or a photo. I think the idea of starting at Fed Square is fantastic. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.
There are a few options to travel between Melbourne and Geelong:
The V/Line looks to be an excellent choice – perhaps the best. It runs from Southern Cross Station every 20mins from 10am and 1pm return, 4:30pm and 8:30pm on Saturday, Oct 2 (women’s race), and every 10mins on Sunday, Oct 3 (men’s race) from 10am and 1pm return, 4:10pm and 8:00pm .
The only drawback is that V/Line does not have room for bicycles, so if you want to bring your bike you’ll have to find another way (see coach option below).
Personally, I think taking the train would be the most hassle free and quickest way of getting to and from Geelong. It’ll add to the Euro experience and you can get as drunk as you like on the day.
I’m guessing there will be a massive traffic jam trying to get out of Geelong on Saturday and Sunday (Oct 2 & 3). If you bring your car to Geelong I’d suggest parking away from the course and riding your bike in (see Park & Ride below, or you can DIY). This is all good assuming the weather holds up. We all know it could very well be blowing a gale, pouring rain and 12C at this time of year. I’d bring a backpack with some warm clothes no matter how good the day starts out.
There are a couple issues with driving however:
1. The Men’s RR the riders will be going over the Westgate Bridge. Here is the race route from Melbourne to Geelong. If you want to catch the start at Fed Square and then drive to Geelong straight after, remember that you’ll have a heck of a time getting over the Westgate Bridge and possibly face delays on the freeway. Instead you’ll need to go via Footscray to get across the Yarra River.
2. The other issue I can think of with driving your car from Geelong is the traffic flow over Westgate Bridge on your way home to Melbourne. It’s hard to predict, but we all know from experience this can be a problem and a potential bottleneck.
Alternatively you can use the Park & Ride service being offered. Pre booking will guarantee you a parking spot for $10. Booked online here.
Since Geelong is about 80km away from Melbourne it’s going to be a massive day on the bike if you plan on riding there and back. I’m sure some of you hardcore cycling junkies will do this. You know what you’re getting yourselves into. You’re already clinically insane and march to your own drum, so nothing I’m going to say will help you ;-)
As far as bike storage goes, I’m not aware of anything formal being offered unless you’ve signed up for Ride The Worlds.
Roads around the course will close two hours before the start of each days competition. They’ll reopen two hours after the race finishes. Here is a good place to find out about road closures and times in Geelong. Download map of road closures here.
A good site with some FAQ about how businesses will be affected, closures, parking, etc can be found here.
Again, I have a few RIDE World Championships Guides that I’ll draw as giveaways (randomly) to a commenter who adds to today’s topic.