Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

stevebni
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Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby stevebni » Sun May 20, 2018 7:10 pm

Hello all. I'm due to visit Melbourne, I'll be there for most of June (with a few trips to other areas). I'm a keen cycling, early 50's now but have been riding since teens. I ride road (slowly) mixed terrain (or gravel as it's being called this week) and mountain bike. Mountain biking is my first love, although I'm a bit of a whimp nowadays; too many crashes from my racing days means I take it easy off road now :-(

I can bring a bike in place of hold luggage, but as my selfish wife refuses to give up her hold luggage for more bikes, I can bring only one.

I'm trying to discover what the riding is like in Melbourne and the surrounding area, so as to decide which to bring. I'm leaning towards the gravel bike, as it can do a bit of everything, but I don't want to get there only to discover the best singletrack in the world, and so wish I bought the full susser! I'm guessing road is road, no matter where you are, so thinking the road bike is pretty much not in the running.

I won't have direct access to a car for most of my time there, and usually ride daily, so I also have to consider accessibility.

On the group front, I do carry a lot of injuries from earlier days, particularly lower back, so I tend to have to stop and stretch out every 40-60mins on the road bike and at the top of most climbs on the MTB, so, for this reason, I tend to ride alone. If there are group rides where people don't mind this sort of thing I'd love to tag along.

I'm also looking at the option of buying a bike in Aus, they seem far cheaper than here. I used to own a bike shop and still have the contacts, but your RRP's are not far from our trade prices once the exchange rate is factored in, or I can look at buying 2nd hand, this will open up the potential for having access to a couple of bikes.

Anyway, all advice welcome.

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P!N20
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby P!N20 » Sun May 20, 2018 7:58 pm

Where will you be based? I think a lot of the off road gravel singletrack stuff is a fair way out of the city - I’m sure the mountain bikers will chime in.

I wouldn’t discount your road bike, there’s a lot of cruisy rides around Melbourne on roads or bike paths. Further afield the Dandenong Ranges contain some magic rides, but you’ll need to love climbing.

If you did bring your gravel bike you could train out to Lilydale and ride the rail trail to Warburton and back - makes a good day trip.

human909
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby human909 » Sun May 20, 2018 9:08 pm

Inner Melbourne is very accessible for cycling. Plenty of bike paths and bike lanes at least by Australian standards.

If you want some gravel/dirt then you can follow the Yarra tracks out of the city with plenty of marked and unmarked single track alongside. Not a mountain bikers paradise by any means but you are in the bush and if you keep your eyes peeled there is a fair bit of wildlife. Eg the massive fruit bat colony is right next to trails only 5km from the city.

Also French Island has the largest density of Koalas in Australia and is great to explore by bike but it is hardly tourism central, most locals don't even know about it. But you could readily enjoy a day trip there and explore a largely empty island on Melbourne's doorstep. (Train makes getting to the ferry easy.)

Huge numbers of options. But serious downhill mountain biking probably isn't worth the effort. With a gravel bike you will have plenty of on and off road options.

PS. Melbourne is a big city in terms of area. If you want gravel or similar you need to know where too look!

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Sun May 20, 2018 11:04 pm

Depending on where you're going to be based (Suburbs or CBD) I'm thinking a Cx bike would probably make the most sense, and if you wanted to do some serious MTB stuff out east then maybe hire an MTB from someone out that way like Yarra Valley Cycles (good bunch of guys), who would also help with some local knowledge.

But also what Pin20 and Human909 said,
By European standards Melbourne is big, in terms of sprawl, so knowing where you'd be based will help with suggestions.
Mmm, SunTour

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Ross
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby Ross » Mon May 21, 2018 6:26 am

If bringing your own MTB (or road) with you make sure it is cleaned as good or better than new or Customs will charge you big $$ to clean it for you.

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RonK
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby RonK » Mon May 21, 2018 6:53 am

^ AQIS might do that. Customs are unlikely to even look at it.
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djw47
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby djw47 » Mon May 21, 2018 3:14 pm

Bring your cold weather riding gear, Melbourne in winter is like Ireland in summer - cold and wet.
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antigee
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby antigee » Tue May 22, 2018 10:06 am

tricky - there is good mtb around Melbourne but access without a car isn't so easy and June can be wet and people aren't so happy about trail damage The trailforks website is worth a look to get an idea - as said above renting a MTB for a day or 2 is easier than renting a decent road/gravel bike my vote would be a gravel bike but that's me :-)

one very good thing about Melbourne is that you can take your bike on the Metro train service (outside of peak hours or if going opposite to the flow in peak hours) this opens up a lot of riding that is less urban road or complicated shared paths. eg
to Lilydale and ride Lilydale Warburton railtrail
to Tecoma and take gravel trails through Birdsland Reserve to Lysterfield and ride the easier MTB trails/gravel tracks (sadly the MTB hire here has closed)
to Belgrave and ride up for example Basin Olinda rd to end up at Skyhigh (unsealed)
(these are all out East as that's where I live and are only a few obvious examples, more challenging rides are available)
also regional victoria is very different to the city and maybe look at vline (rural) trains and road rides around Bendigo and Ballarat or Mount Macedon google PTV journey planner

In the city the Capital City loop trail, Yarra Trails and Beach road have all proved hits with visitors we've had stay

Downloading OSM with cycletrails is worthwhile as makes following some of the city trails a bit easier

Lots of stuff on the internet - the Victoria section on here is worth thumbing through

also https://www.railtrails.org.au/trail-des ... tropolitan

leaflets/maps for some of the city trails can be had from the tourist info at Federation Square

Book called WheretoRide Melbourne published by BApress is available lots of cycle shops/bookstores (and a sister book called something like where to MTB Victoria)

but my personal preference after a moving to Melbourne a few years ago is this book:

https://www.bookdepository.com/Bike-Rid ... 0975233344

subtitled "exploring Melbourne by bike and train" has good clear maps

enjoy your trip and good coffee is never far away

stevebni
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby stevebni » Thu May 24, 2018 1:15 am

Some great advice there. Thanks. I was leaning towards the gravel/CX, so my Ritchey Swiss Cross will be making the trip with me :-) Just need to get me a serious bike box now.

Melbourne winter like Irish summer? I hear Melbourne is a bit warmer and loads dryer!

I'll find out where we're staying and post back.

Thanks all.

stevebni
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby stevebni » Thu May 24, 2018 7:23 am

We're staying in Lalor.

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MattyK
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby MattyK » Thu May 24, 2018 4:06 pm

Ross wrote:If bringing your own MTB (or road) with you make sure it is cleaned as good or better than new or Customs will charge you big $$ to clean it for you.

This. AQIS are very fussy about mud and dirt. Even say hiking boots, if you've been on a farm etc. You'd get reamed for a bike.

You will also need your thermals, base layers, lightweight summer gear and a windproof jacket with good ventilation in Melbourne, and that's just on Tuesdays.

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baabaa
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby baabaa » Thu May 24, 2018 4:43 pm

Oh, yes, good call, just bring the ritchey, if it is the red one in XL then you will only be allowed to bring it in to the country then box it up and send it to me after your visit.
I am a more or less a one brand bike owner (that being three salsas of which one is a cx bike) but I am just new to ritchey frames with a breakaway ascent and to be honest I tend to ride this bike more than any other so it needs a friend in the shed. I will give Australian Border Patrol ( these guys are the worst of the worst in Aust) my forwarding details so they will keep a look out for your arrival and ensure that you do not upset my new best friend....
Note on the XL I am not sure of any red ritcheys in Aust, always wanted one but never had the chance to see one in my size so the bike lust is solid but never been real.

stevebni
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby stevebni » Thu May 24, 2018 4:48 pm

Ha! It's the black one. The disc version.

So I'll be taking it home then?

;-)

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baabaa
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby baabaa » Thu May 24, 2018 5:16 pm

Hmmmm, I guess I can have my arm twisted so if it is XL, yes, I think you will find I now own this bike.
But really this bike will be ideal for almost any riding in here in Oz, make sure you get out of Melb and get into the bush while you are here, biking on anywhere without much tar and just a few cars is really very good. Enjoy!!

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Thu May 24, 2018 5:48 pm

Hi Steve,

Have provided a link below to the City of Whittlesea (local govt covering Lalor) website for cycling in the area which lists on-road paths, off-road paths (not much) and other details.

https://www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au/parking-roads-footpaths/roads-bikepaths-and-transport/cycling-and-bike-paths/

The nearest proper LBS, in case you need bits or a workshop, is Bicycle Works at 2/4 Brand Dr, Thomastown (03) 9041 8586 who are well reviewed. There are others in the area, but this is the closest bike-specific store with good reviews. (I am in no way associated with this business).
Mmm, SunTour

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mogwaiboi
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby mogwaiboi » Thu May 24, 2018 6:42 pm

Plenty Gorge isn't far from Lalor, I haven't personally been there yet but it's on my list. Also lots of good gravels roads in and around Hurstbridge (around 20km's away). I've done several off road rides starting at Hurstbridge and heading towards Kinglake eg https://ridewithgps.com/routes/22269768. If you like climbing steep gravel check out Bowden Spur Rd! http://theclimbingcyclist.com/exploring ... new-roads/
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human909
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby human909 » Thu May 24, 2018 9:17 pm

stevebni wrote:We're staying in Lalor.


Lalor isn't exactly the most bicycle friendly suburb if that is your thing. Though on the other hand you don't need to travel too far North or East to get out of the city and into some open road riding if that is your thing. The town of Whittlesea is a nice stop off on the way to the popular King Lake area.

A quick train ride into the city will give you access to other areas such as the bay.

stevebni
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby stevebni » Fri May 25, 2018 3:07 am

Baabaa, not sure they do an Xl, the biggest is the 59cm, which is what I have. In theory, it's too small for me, but as an MTBer at heart, I prefer bikes a bit on the small side. I'm six foot three. If you're around the same and prefer your road/gravel bikes a "normal" size, you might find it a bit small. If your local to where I'm staying your welcome to give it a try.

Thanks ever so much all for the advice, it'll come in handy once I'm landed.

As for the hills... I'll be bringing my off-road wheels, with 42mm tyres and an 11:36 cassette ;-)

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baabaa
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby baabaa » Fri May 25, 2018 8:44 am

Hey Steve, 59cm sounds right for the xl, my ascent is a tad under 600 ett so It would be fine. Mind you, that is a very kind offer and even as Aust is a big place and I am normally live a fair way away from Melb (TBH would say even a fair way away is too close to Melb for me!!) I would take up that chance .
In fact at the moment I am a fair bit away from most of the world ......Image
so I think I will have to say thanks but no at this time as it would take me about 3 days to get to you.

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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby madmacca » Fri May 25, 2018 10:17 am

baabaa wrote:Hey Steve, 59cm sounds right for the xl, my ascent is a tad under 600 ett so It would be fine. Mind you, that is a very kind offer and even as Aust is a big place and I am normally live a fair way away from Melb (TBH would say even a fair way away is too close to Melb for me!!) I would take up that chance .
In fact at the moment I am a fair bit away from most of the world ......Image
so I think I will have to say thanks but no at this time as it would take me about 3 days to get to you.


With that sign, you should be riding a fat bike (lower ground pressure).

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P!N20
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby P!N20 » Fri May 25, 2018 10:33 am

human909 wrote:
stevebni wrote:We're staying in Lalor.
The town of Whittlesea is a nice stop off on the way to the popular King Lake area.


And if you're going as far as Kinglake, go via Humevale Rd which is a tame climb with with switchbacks aplenty and fantastic views: https://goo.gl/maps/uAyJtq7gF6w

Image

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Fri May 25, 2018 5:38 pm

P!N20 wrote:
human909 wrote:
stevebni wrote:We're staying in Lalor.
The town of Whittlesea is a nice stop off on the way to the popular King Lake area.


And if you're going as far as Kinglake, go via Humevale Rd which is a tame climb with with switchbacks aplenty and fantastic views: https://goo.gl/maps/uAyJtq7gF6w

Image


How is that a tame climb ? Got dizzy looking at the photo. Cool pic btw.
Mmm, SunTour

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P!N20
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby P!N20 » Fri May 25, 2018 6:53 pm

10speedsemiracer wrote:How is that a tame climb ? Got dizzy looking at the photo. Cool pic btw.


Just not very steep. http://theclimbingcyclist.com/climbs/ki ... vale-road/

stevebni
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby stevebni » Sun May 27, 2018 7:32 am

Is that a Breakaway Baabaa? Didn't realize they made one in disc. I think you've mentioned it further up, but what model is that?

Climbs? I do like them, but my body don't :-( I've got lower back problems which are attenuated by climbing: Physio tells me I rely too much on my lower back for power!

We had the Giro here a few years back and I've ridden a few of the office Gran Fondos: 110 miles with 7000ft of climbing. Even for Ireland that's a lot, but I'm thinking for you guys that's a gentle Sunday morning run?

I'm about two weeks away from landing in Aus (In exactly two weeks I'll be in HK!) so starting to put some rides together. I'm yet to get my head around the sheer scale of Aus: In Northern Ireland (where I live at the mo) you can drive coast to coast in about three hours, it's pretty small!

Quick question: What are the roads like in Melbourne? Roads here are shocking: My "road" wheels have 30mm tyres, anything thinner and it's adios rims thanks to the potholes. I've only got 23kgs for the bike, including the bike box, so every ounce counts. If I can get away with thinner road tyres, I can drop a bit of weight.

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P!N20
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Re: Visiting from Ireland, what bike to bring?

Postby P!N20 » Sun May 27, 2018 5:26 pm

stevebni wrote:110 miles with 7000ft of climbing. Even for Ireland that's a lot, but I'm thinking for you guys that's a gentle Sunday morning run?

Quick question: What are the roads like in Melbourne?


That’s a decent ride wherever you live. Melbourne is pretty flat, the few climbs we do have are well out of the city and are short and steep.

The roads here are generally pretty good, they don’t warrant a particular tyre size, just ride what you’ve got...and be careful crossing tram tracks.

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