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Ended up taking the hybrids to Rosebud for Easter so husband and I decided to do a bit of touring. First mistake was riding around Red Hill on Easter Saturday - it's show day and the traffic was bumper to bumper. At least my husband was offered a beer as we pulled past the never ending line of traffic! Then we thought we would be clever and get right away from the roads by taking the rail trail from Red Hill to Merricks.
Asked for directions at a tourism establishment in Red Hill and we were sent in completely the wrong direction. Asked again for directions and eventually found the start of the rail trail in Red Hill. A street sign or two would have been appreciated!
We have ridden a number of rail trails in Victoria and they are generally quite good for hybrids or mountain bikes. Not this one! It was clearly designed and maintained for the interests of local horse riders and no one else. Accessing the trail required negotiating our bikes through a ridiculously tight gate system or carrying them across a series of treated timber poles laid across a fenced section.
The trail itself was poorly sign posted where it split and incredibly rough with exposed tree roots in many places. I actually lost my tail light somewhere along the way.
Unfortunately the various write ups and websites I reviewed before tackling the trail were in no way representative of the actual experience and we will most certainly not be going back for a repeat visit!
Fortunately my next scheduled ride in the Red Hill area will be on the roadie and catered for by the various Lions Clubs of the district. It's sure to be a much better experience!
Yep, it has long been a "multi-use" trail, mainly suited for horse riding and non-technical MTB riding. While the description of the trail may be a bit lacking, photos of it on the railtrails website do show that it has a rough surface with horse gates.
It is quite possible to ride it on a robust tourer but you won't go fast nor smooth. Horses for courses as they say and accept the trail that you get. I rode it quite happily on a rigid touring MTB with 1.75" street-tread tyres. BTW, much of it does not actually follow the rail-line route as that is on private land, but rather a public easement that is available. Despite all this about half of it does follow the original rail formation and is quite reasonable riding if I recall correctly.
Here is what we rode down in 2006. We had fun Probably not too much different today.
I take it, Tracey, you didn't continue after Red Hill? Up, up, up to Arthur's Seat!
At least you would have had great food and wine to put it out of your memory.
Why go past Red Hill ??
The surface shown in Pete's photo is not dissimilar to parts of the Warrnambool to Port Fairy trail that we rode recently.
That's also nice farmland, Mike ... a bit flatter, though.
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