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I am new to riding bicycles, as I never learned how to ride as a child and have only just taught myself how to do so recently.
I'd like to get in a lot of practice, but unfortunately will only be able to ride mainly during weekdays at night because of work and other commitments on the weekend. The lack of sunlight during winter is definitely depressing!. Given I am a total beginner, I am definitely not looking to ride on any roads.
Does anyone have any suggestions of where I can ride at night? Are the bike paths adequately lit, or will a light on the bicycle be sufficient to light a bike path? I have been looking at the Eastlink Bike Trail but have yet to ride it or scope it out at night.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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What I tend to do is use the hybrid view on google maps and zoom right down or use street-view to see what the bike lane situation is. It works most of the time, but obviously doesn't tell you what the lighting conditions are like at night. I tend to assume most main-ish roads are reasonably well lit. Even on the most well lit roads I'd second the advice given above. Wear hi vis and have decent lights.
If you've already been out on some good night rides I'd love to hear where your riding. I live in the east too and could always use some new routes for motivation.
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I'm in exactly your situation, I learned to ride three months ago and in the beginning I was sh*t scared of the roads too. And I live in the SE suburbs as well.
I did the Dandenong Creek and Eastlink trails up as far as Jells Park / F'tree Gully Rd on Sunday. Forget about lighting on the trail - most of the time you are going through parklands or bush. You would want to make sure you have some nice bike lights if you are going to attempt it at night.
Here's a tip, the twenty dollar headlights that KMart sells aren't powerful enough to light the path for you.
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East link trail should be fine however listen to the other suggestions made about lighting.
At this time of the year there is usually light bicycle and pedestrian traffic along the trail up to about 8 pm so you need to be visible.
If you go any further south than the Dandenong bypass keep in mind that it is not a sealed track so if you are riding a road bike you might want to build up your skill base on the northern parts of the track first.
A number of underpasses tend to flood if there is heavy rain fall so you should make sure you know your way around them.
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But anyway, "If you go any further south than the Dandenong bypass keep in mind that it is not a sealed track so if you are riding a road bike you might want to build up your skill base on the northern parts of the track first."
Being a noob = never rode a bike much, so never tried eastlink. Eastlink was going to be my 'bike playground'
So after the Dandy Bypass - its an 'unsealed' track = loose gravel?
I know this is a rhetorical question of some sort, but would a reid condor be okay on this 'not sealed' track?
Also since I'm riding my reid condor, i'll probably at first be riding under the cover of darkness - so either early morning (nah too lazy) -
so night time. The eastlink trail is complete darkness and would need a light source to light the way? Any suggestions?
I do have a head lamp - a cheapo one, but I think it won't fit on the helmet lol - yea I suck I know.
I'll just stick it on the bike if I have to.
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It's not so much the bike as the tyres you have. I understand the Reid comes with 23mm tyres which are pretty skinny. These don't offer much grip on loose stuff but slow down and you'll be fine. The other problem is that the tyres on Reids are not high quality so on rough ground you are more likely to puncture.
The Eastlink trail is long enough that you shouldn't need to venture south of the Dandy bypass for a good ride anyway. But if you do and find it too hairy then just turn around and head north.
Up north between Ringwood and Mitcham it becomes the Mullum Mullum Trail. Watch it around there when its wet. Steep hills where you get up a lot of speed doing downhill only to drop you onto curving wooden bridges at the bottom which a road bike will struggle to get traction on. Once you are past that the Koonung trail is a nice ride all the way into Kew and joins the Main Yarra Trail into the city and beyond.
The other problem with gravel is that you'll get a lot of dirt on your chain which will cause it to wear more unless you give it a good regular clean.
You need to do that anyway but more often if you ride on gravel a lot.
If you plan on riding in the dark you'll need REALLY good lights for the trails. They are typically narrow with lots of bends so you need to be able to see where you are going. Or plan on going real slow.
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Even with lights, you are really seeing the path in front...there is little scenery at all.
If you head out after dinner...some major roads (Doncaster Rd, Mitcham Rd) is pretty quiet and well-lit as arterial road should be. In winter, the air is also warmer and have less moisture on roads.
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slidetaker wrote:If you head out after dinner...some major roads (Doncaster Rd, Mitcham Rd) is pretty quiet and well-lit as arterial road should be. In winter, the air is also warmer and have less moisture on roads.
Later in the evening the traffic level on these roads is quite low, and as long as you have half-decent lights (preferably two or more at least on the rear) the cars will give you a heap of space.
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