22 posts • Page 1 of 1
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...
Last edited by VeloGiro on Wed May 29, 2013 4:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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.
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!
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.
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.
London Boy 29/12/2011
(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.
Pretty good surface. Mainly farmland, though.
Apart from those pesky wheel eating cracks!
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?
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.
(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!
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!
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!
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.
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...
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.
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.
Reviving a dead thread, I did the Ballarat Skipton trail last weekend, in one direction from B to S. The trail is in extremely good condition even after all the recent rains - there is good drainage the whole way, although with some slightly sandier sections here and there it can be a bit slow.
We had a range of bikes from a roadie with slick 28's to a hybrid on 38's and me on my slick 42's (all with small panniers) and everyone was fine. The trail is very flat with all hills being very gradual and requires only moderate fitness to do the whole length.
Scenery is very nice - at least at this green time of year. Very light "traffic" on the trail (we saw a couple of dogwalkers and pedestrians around the bridge but no one else).
The only issue is that Skipton itself has limited accommodation and no pub (though I hear someone has bought it to reopen it). We stayed at the cabins at in the Roadhouse.
Day two was Skipton to Ararat via back roads - enjoyable also.
The Ballarat Skipton rail trail surface is all compacted granite sand, it dries to a very hard surface but can be spongy after rain, you would need to keep an eye on the weather in the week running up to your ride if you are planning to ride a tandem as it may be a bit soft, I have ridden the trail on a tandem and it has been fine, but was in summer.
If it is/has been reasonably fine you should have no problems, but if reasonably wet might be prudent to look elsewhere as it would be hard work (unless that is what you are after), scenery wise it is quite interesting with information boards regarding old stations etc along the way, some open farming country, some mining areas and some forested & as a rail trail always is - not too hilly.
Thanks Espresso for rekindling the flame on this one...Timely as we are were just talking last week about of having a crack at the trail over the Queens B/day weekend...
Great pics! You have inspired me to get out their and do it!
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