MS Melbourne Cycle

MS Melbourne Cycle

Postby Cowcorner » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:31 pm

I did 50km Melbourne Cycle last weekend - just to get out and about, and also to raise some much needed funds for MS Australia. I've done a few ATBIAD's (well sort of - usually the 135) but this was the first one of these I'd done, so it was an interesting comparison between the two.

Some observations (good) :

As they only offer a 30km and a 50km version, it appears to appeal somewhat to cyclists with less experience and who wouldn't normally do the ATB - although I've only done the ATB50 once (and that was 6 years ago with my 12yo son) so can't really comment on what it's like now. It certainly seems more laid back than ATB - for example I crossed the finish line behind a family, one of whom had a dog in a basket on the back of their bike.

I could do this ride with pretty much zero preparation other than my daily commute, but even then I was probably one of the better prepared. I actually lost count of how many riders I passed going up the Westgate Bridge which, for someone on the "wrong" side of 50 (or right side depending on your point of view), does wonders for my ego.

The marshalling I thought was sensational and much better than ATB, although it's a bit of an unfair comparison as this is a much smaller event and requires less manpower. Kudos to all the marshalls nonetheless.

There was the opportunity to buy event jerseys or t-shirts, but there was no requirement to actually wear them.

More observations (not so good):

I'm not sure if it was general inexperience or people just not giving a toss, but there appeared to be quite a few people with a rather "liberal" interpretation of the road rules - particularly riding in the right hand lane on multi-lane roads, even after calling out that cars were approaching from behind.

The 50km route was OK - but the Blackshaws -> Millers -> Kororoit Creek -> Melbourne Rd circuit was fairly ho-hum. Maybe they could have diverted along the Strand and up along Williamstown foreshore instead.

I understand the need to minimise potentially dangerous intersections and pinch points but I think the detours through places such as the South Wharf car park weren't really necessary, particularly given that traffic was minimal around there at that time of morning.

OK - that's about it. Has anyone else done this event - this year or previous? Any thoughts? 8)
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by BNA » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:31 pm

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Re: MS Melbourne Cycle

Postby marty_one » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:31 pm

I have done it a couple of times in previous years. You are right that there are a lot of non-cyclists/recreational cyclists that do this ride. Unfortunately a lot of them are not aware that the roads are not closed off and that they have to obey the road laws and regulations. The marshaling has always been top notch, where there were people to help with directions. There is a caveat here though, towards the end of the 50km course that I did last year the marshalls were a little unhelpful as route went down an unfamiliar road and I noticed a lot of people were ignoring the turn off for the 50km route and rode towards the finish area.

When I did it last year I found myself having to be cautious of other cyclists as well at the start as there were so many people that got caught up at all the lights before getting out of the CBD. Though once clear of the CBD everyone spread out a bit and I was able to get on my way without being hindered.

The only reason I did not do it this year is because I have a very young family and time is very precious at the moment. However next year I will definately do the 50km route again.
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Re: MS Melbourne Cycle

Postby clackers » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:09 am

These participation rides always attract people with dubious skills - and bunch you with them!

I rode a hybrid to have the brakes in reach from the tops and be upright to see everywhere. We still had one rider in our group get clipped and he sported a bandage for the rest of the trip.

But it's for a cause, it's for socializing, and the weather was great. :-)
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Re: MS Melbourne Cycle

Postby rkelsen » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:07 pm

Cowcorner wrote:I could do this ride with pretty much zero preparation other than my daily commute, but even then I was probably one of the better prepared. I actually lost count of how many riders I passed going up the Westgate Bridge which, for someone on the "wrong" side of 50 (or right side depending on your point of view), does wonders for my ego.

For someone commuting on a daily basis, the Westgate should be a gentle and easy climb. Someone of moderate fitness should be able to do it easily in a 6.0 metre (~70") gear (without a headwind, that is).
Cowcorner wrote:I'm not sure if it was general inexperience or people just not giving a toss, but there appeared to be quite a few people with a rather "liberal" interpretation of the road rules - particularly riding in the right hand lane on multi-lane roads, even after calling out that cars were approaching from behind.

It's always an issue on the shorter charity rides. You get lots of people with lower skills & experience than you're used to as a commuter.

I've done it a couple of times. Once in 2010 then again in 2012. My experience was much the same as yours. I might do it again if a friend invites me, but probably not on my own.
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Re: MS Melbourne Cycle

Postby Cowcorner » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:52 pm

rkelsen wrote:For someone commuting on a daily basis, the Westgate should be a gentle and easy climb. Someone of moderate fitness should be able to do it easily in a 6.0 metre (~70") gear (without a headwind, that is).


Agreed - Not sure what I was expecting from the Westgate as the only other time I'd done it was six years ago and that was on a 1985 Graecross Courier. A great bike and solid as all get out, but weighed an absolute ton. This time was easy albeit on a bike probably 10-15kg lighter than the Courier, and a version of me also considerably lighter than the previous one. 8) I think Strava read the WGB ascent at about 3%, which seemed about right. The higher part of Kensington Road on the other hand came up at 9%, but that hardly counts as it's only about 200 metres or so. Saw a lot of people suffering on both though.
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