Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby VeloGiro » Wed May 29, 2013 11:31 am

Hi folks - has anyone ridden the Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail recently?

Planning a ride on the long weekend on the tandem (MTB) tyres...Not sure that this trail is the most picturesque? agricultural land in the main?

Another thought...do you think a thread on peoples experiences of rail trails would be useful or of interest? I really like riding rail trails and would love to hear form others and their observations and experiences of various rail trails around the place...

Thoughts?

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Last edited by VeloGiro on Wed May 29, 2013 4:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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by BNA » Wed May 29, 2013 12:55 pm

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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby FuzzyDropbear » Wed May 29, 2013 12:55 pm

Hey mate, haven't ridden the Skipton Rail trail so can't provide feedback on that one (plan to do it one day....). If you in the area, not sure how long you want to ride, but there's a 6km-ish trail out at Trentham, there are plans to take it further in the future, but who knows what will happen with that. :?

Anyway, more information is here; http://www.railtrails.org.au/trail?view=trail&id=166. I've only seen a couple of parts of it while at work, there are a couple of nice old bridges, but it's another one that I've been meaning to do.

Cheers.
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby clackers » Wed May 29, 2013 4:00 pm

I rode a couple of years ago ... it's quite long, but of course you can always ride part or use car shuttles or whatever. The Skipton end was quite rough - glad to have been on a MTB that day! :-)
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby oxonabike » Wed May 29, 2013 6:45 pm

Another thought...do you think a thread on peoples experiences of rail trails would be useful or of interest? I really like riding rail trails and would love to hear form others and their observations and experiences of various rail trails around the place...


I did Ballarat to Linton in Jan 2011. There is a blog post about that trip on my website. I want to head back down and finish that and a few other that I haven't quite got around to completing.

With regard to other trails around the place, I've blogged all the rides on done on my visits to Victoria also on my site.
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby Mulger bill » Thu May 30, 2013 12:39 am

Bendigo to Axedale on the O'Keefe trail is a nice day out (except for refuelling options at the far end, take extra sangers).
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby Mike Ayling » Fri May 31, 2013 4:22 pm

VeloGiro wrote:Hi folks - has anyone ridden the Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail recently?

Planning a ride on the long weekend on the tandem (MTB) tyres...Not sure that this trail is the most picturesque? agricultural land in the main?

Another thought...do you think a thread on peoples experiences of rail trails would be useful or of interest? I really like riding rail trails and would love to hear form others and their observations and experiences of various rail trails around the place...

Thoughts?

Image


(1) Skipton. Mary and I rode as far as the big trestle bridge on the Labour Day weekend with the temperature in the high thirties on our Thorn tandem on 26X1.75 tyres with no difficulty.

(2) We have also ridden Warrnambool to Port Fairy. This one is not tandem friendly with many tight chicane gates every time a farm track bisects the rail trail. I managed to ride through a few of them early in the day when we were fresh but I soon decided to walk them, particularly with four panniers on.

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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby clackers » Fri May 31, 2013 4:59 pm

Mike Ayling wrote:
(2) We have also ridden Warrnambool to Port Fairy. This one is not tandem friendly with many tight chicane gates every time a farm track bisects the rail trail. I managed to ride through a few of them early in the day when we were fresh but I soon decided to walk them, particularly with four panniers on.

Mike


Pretty good surface. Mainly farmland, though.
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby Mike Ayling » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:41 pm

clackers wrote:
Mike Ayling wrote:
(2) We have also ridden Warrnambool to Port Fairy. This one is not tandem friendly with many tight chicane gates every time a farm track bisects the rail trail. I managed to ride through a few of them early in the day when we were fresh but I soon decided to walk them, particularly with four panniers on.

Mike


Pretty good surface. Mainly farmland, though.


Apart from those pesky wheel eating cracks!

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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby clackers » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:12 pm

Yes, it's been dry on the Coast. Isn't Apollo Bay on Stage 4 restrictions?
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby gabrielle260 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:38 pm

This thread has got me interested... I'll be in Ballarat on the long weekend. Thinking of doing the whole out and back route on Sunday morning, leaving from the trail head at 6.30am, back by 11am. Just sitting here watching the State of Origin and looking at the trail map. It would be achievable...
Anyone interested in joining me?
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby gabrielle260 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:14 pm

Ride the trail this morning. It is quite damp and the clay soft and claggy. I don't think anything less than CX or MTB tyres would work for most of the 54km.
Also the plank bridges are pretty rough and if you want to ride them, a lot of care or high volume tyres or both are necessary.
It is a lovely ride with great farmland, old bridges and wild life to see.
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby VeloGiro » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:05 pm

gabrielle260 wrote:Ride the trail this morning. It is quite damp and the clay soft and claggy. I don't think anything less than CX or MTB tyres would work for most of the 54km.
Also the plank bridges are pretty rough and if you want to ride them, a lot of care or high volume tyres or both are necessary.
It is a lovely ride with great farmland, old bridges and wild life to see.
Andrew


(Belated) Thanks Andrew...we decided to wait until things dry out a bit to tackle this trail after your post...we rode the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail last year in that sort of puggy condition...we found it a bit of a slog on our tandem so and your post was timely and most appreciated! Instead we headed east to the Grand Ridge Trail which had a short section where the wheel dug in but in the main it was in pretty good nick!

Cheers mate!
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby clackers » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:06 pm

VeloGiro wrote:Thanks Andrew...we decided to wait until things dry out a bit to tackle this trail after your post...we rode the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail last year in that sort of puggy condition...we found it a bit of a slog on our tandem so and your post was timely and most appreciated!


VG, which sections were pudgy? My wife and I rode this at the weekend.

The eastern bits from Mansfield to maybe Molesworth are mainly bitumen based, so not them. The rest of the surface to Talarook is currently a pretty good packed gravel, and the bridges are new with concrete crossings.

Perhaps it's because they've had so little rain this year, as an Alexandra local on his dually complained to us.

The driveways to farms and intersecting dirt roads I could see from the bumps and wheel tracks must be quite bad when wet, though!
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby gabrielle260 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:26 pm

VeloGiro wrote:
(Belated) Thanks Andrew...we decided to wait until things dry out a bit to tackle this trail after your post...we rode the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail last year in that sort of puggy condition...we found it a bit of a slog on our tandem so and your post was timely and most appreciated! Cheers mate!
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No problemo VeloGiro!
It was chilly but enjoyable riding. I was silly though- forgot to take any money so couldn't top up on food or drink and bonked 10km from the end!
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby VeloGiro » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:13 am

clackers wrote:VG, which sections were pudgy? My wife and I rode this at the weekend.

The eastern bits from Mansfield to maybe Molesworth are mainly bitumen based, so not them. The rest of the surface to Talarook is currently a pretty good packed gravel, and the bridges are new with concrete crossings.

Perhaps it's because they've had so little rain this year, as an Alexandra local on his dually complained to us.

The driveways to farms and intersecting dirt roads I could see from the bumps and wheel tracks must be quite bad when wet, though!


I reckon we rode the trail 12 months(ish) back - probably not long after the trail officially opened? At the time the surface was pretty much freshly laid gravel that had yet to compact - add a bit of rain to it in this condition and it did get pretty puggy. Particularly the section between Talarook to Yea.

Really enjoyed the trail...glad its in good nick ATM.

Cheers
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby clackers » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:32 am

It's all bedded down now, VG.

We really liked the Cheviot tunnel, even though you can't see what's in front of your tyres without lights, and the side branch to Alexandra has a nice climb ending in a sheltered picnic table with a big view of the valley.
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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby VeloGiro » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:19 pm

clackers wrote:It's all bedded down now, VG.

We really liked the Cheviot tunnel, even though you can't see what's in front of your tyres without lights, and the side branch to Alexandra has a nice climb ending in a sheltered picnic table with a big view of the valley.


Hey Clakers - The Alexander branch line sounds too good...we are planning another ride soon...could be heading for Alex...

How was the section between Mansfield and Bonnie Doon? Seems to be straddling the Maroondah Hwy for a fair bit...we didn't tackle it last time but next time we were planning to do the entire route...

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Re: Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail

Postby clackers » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:02 pm

VeloGiro wrote:
Hey Clakers - The Alexander branch line sounds too good...we are planning another ride soon...could be heading for Alex...


Definitely worth doing.

We put our tent up in the caravan park in Alex when the truck and ute show was on. Just as well the showers were hot, because it must have been two degrees all night.

We stayed at a Yea motel the next night.

VeloGiro wrote: How was the section between Mansfield and Bonnie Doon? Seems to be straddling the Maroondah Hwy for a fair bit...we didn't tackle it last time but next time we were planning to do the entire route...

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We rode that section back in January.

Probably the best surface of the whole trail, nearly all bitumen, and you get the bridge over Lake Eildon.

On a very hot day it was a pleasant surprise to find outside a farmhouse an esky of icy drinks with an honesty payment jar, proceeds to a local sports team.
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