Planning started earlier in the week. Three good reasons that I must go for a ride on Friday. Having only owned the bike for 3 weeks and only with one decent ride under my belt it was time to have some more fun. Being currently between jobs and with a day where Amy was in crèche and the wife at work what else should I do…clean out the shed? With winter coming towards us at a rapid rate and a big ride planned for the end of the month it is time to make the most of these not too dreary days! Distance: Total 523 km’s Weather: A bit windy(read strong at times), a little fresh (17) and luckily on a couple of light showers. Route: Started at Port Melbourne(home)…Todd Road servo, Ring Rd and Western Hwy to Bacchus Marsh, East Balliang, Straughton Vale, Anakie, Steiglitz, Meredith, Shelford, Teesdale, Inverleigh, Winchelsea, Deans Marsh, Lorne, Apollo Bay, Lavers Hill. (316 km) Return via Charleys Creek, Gellibrand, Kawarren, then Princess Hwy to Colac, Geelong, Port Melbourne. (208 km) Riders: Just me. Had a couple of possibles, no names mentioned but Nev had a late night on Thursday and Speedzter (from Ballarat) was worried by the weather…living in Ballarat something that you could spend a lot of time doing! 25mins - 0km The morning started well dropped off my daughter at crèche around the corner, jogged back home kitted up and dashed to Todd Rd just in case someone else had a day off on a Friday. After organising my stuff and a quick snack headed off at 9:20. 40mins – 53km By 10:00 in Bacchus Marsh buying a set of ear plugs and heading off again. Had a print out from Whereis.com.au of my intended route. This section I had not tried before and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the day and a great find as a great alternative to the Geelong Rd in getting to Lorne. For anyone interested I turned left at the roundabout at the far end of the Main street. Over railway another left and out the Bacchus Marsh-Geelong Rd towards Balliang East. 83km – Granite Road Almost exactly 30 km from Bacchus Marsh I took my of a few turns, right into Granite Road heading to (and signposted) Anakie. Again almost exactly 10kms later at a T intersection I turned left into Straughtonvale Rd, 3kms on after passing through the town of Straughton Vale I turned right into Geelong-Ballan Road. This whole area is part of the Brisbane ranges National Park and the scenery is beautiful. A recent bushfire has scarred some areas but the regeneration is now well under way. After almost 3kms I turned right into Butchers Rd, a 5km stretch of good dirt road heading towards Steiglitz. At the end of this road at another “T” I turned right and shortly after travelled through the historic town of Steiglitz which has a number of preserved historic buildings set in the Steiglitz National Park and surrounded by more pretty forest scenery. 115km - Shelford 140km - Teesdale 150km - Inverleigh 170km - Winchelsea I arrived at Winchelsea at about 11:30am, so my diversion all up took me just over two hours to reach this town. Straight down the Geelong road it is about 1hr 15 or so but there is no comparison…an exceelent route with a variety of roads, beautiful scenery, almost no traffic and no speed cameras too!! From here headed off to Lorne via Deans Marsh…another fun piece of road…a bit wet in the forest sections coming down into Lorne. I had forgotten how this road really tightens up. From 120kmh fast flowing corners into and out of Deans Marsh to a series of 60kmh a couple of 40 and 25kmh corners on a steep downhill wet road…definitely plenty of fun to keep the unwary amused! Hit the ocean road and really picked up the pace…non-stop straight through Lorne, Kennett River, Wye River, etc to Apollo Bay. The exposed sections of the Ocean Road were very wind swept with a couple of moments up on Cape Paton where the wind blew me out of my lane as I rounded some exposed bends. Decided then not to go all the way to Port Campbell, the last stretch past the 12 Apostles is very exposed and would be unpleasant riding in strong winds with so many tourists watching on too. ;-) 267km - Apollo Bay. 2:30pm After a short break I jumped back aboard the trusty steed and road out of town at 2:30pm. Now for one of my two favourite stretches of road in Victoria – the other being the Buller Road but for different reasons. Apollo Bay to Lavers Hill; just a sensational stretch of road with lots of variety in scenery, corner speeds and a well surfaced road in excellent condition…just beautiful!! After heading up the hill at Marengo past the cemetary the road has a couple of long straights that can be taken at quite high speeds…maybe even a little over the speed limit…twice if you like. Then entering the forested area about 10-12 80kmh and 70kmh marked corners to get you warmed up and into the groove. This whole stretch is a comfortable 120-140kmh speeds slowing slightly for the smooth bends. Then, at almost exactly 10kms out from Apollo Bay the first 60kmh corner arrives followed by a succession of others with a couple of 70 and 75 kmh corners thrown into the mix to keep you amused…speeds drop to 100-120kmh as you approach the Cape Otway turn off at 21 km’s into the ride. Covered this first section in about 10-12mins. Then the road drops downward with a few faster sweepers as the forest clears and 4km on from the turnoff you enter some flat open farmlands with long sweeping turns and views of on-coming corners and traffic well in sight. Pace picks up again…130-150 with a couple of slower 65kmh marked corners and 10kms later as the road climbs past Blue Joanna and then a couple of kms on Red Joanna a steeper climb begins and before you know it 4kms on Lavers Hill arrives..the familiar roadhouse and it is all over. Thirty minutes of blissful riding; do it soon you will love it I promise! With more time I would have turned back to Apollo Bay and rode it all again. 316km - Lavers Hill. 3:00pm Now for the run home! I should be picking up Amy at 4:30pm so I had better get a wriggle on!! Head up towards Beech Forest, turn off to Charleys Creek, then Gellibrand, Kawarren and Colac. All the remainder on the Princess Hwy and Geelong Rd. definitely nothing to write about there. Make it home at 4:45pm, so 2hrs 15mins from Apollo Bay..the long way…good run I say! Anyway weekend off and then doing it all again on Monday…feel like joining me??