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Summer riding plan for newbies [Melb]

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by mattb, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. It occured to me it might be valuable for newbies getting out into the country this summer to be recommended some goods roads, but in stages of increasing difficulty as a safer way of stepping-up to the challenges. Here, in three stages of difficulty / risk, are the order in which I would learn to ride the country / twisty roads (taken from my weekend haunts, on the edge of Melbourne). I'd suggest getting confident at each stage before moving onto the next. But remember one thing, don't let your new confidence on that last road fool you into making assumptions when you ride the next one. Golden Rule: every road you take for the first time will have surprises to bring you unstuck. Ride hard if you want to crash. Just cruise it (at least the first time) if you don't!

    Stage One

    I recommend riding up and down these roads:

    Healseville-Yarra Glen Rd.

    Melba Hwy from Yarra Glen, then turn off to King Lake, and then back.

    Kangaroo Ground (which you can access from the Eastern Fwy: up Blackburn rd then up Warrandyte rd) to Yarra Glen (there's one very tight corner near the end!). Particularly recommended.

    Healesville to Woori Yallock (Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Rd), then to Warburton or down to Cockatoo.

    Whittlesea to Yea. Particularly recommended.

    Yea to Broadford via Strath Creek, then down the old road parallel to the Hume, back to Whittlesea.

    These roads are all chosen because with one exception the corners are not as hard as the other levels (but they are real corners and there's real dangers and you will have to learn to negotiate them and you will learn to do so at speed), and the traffic's tame enough and it's easy to pull over. A quick glance will show that these roads interconnect for longer rides (increase your ride time / distance incrementally too - fatigue often brings new riders unstuck).

    Stage Two

    Take it easy getting to these roads for the first time: there are sharp corners, and you will crash if you make assumptions when entering them. You'll see why I distinguish them from stage 3, but really this also counts as the higher risk stage, not an intermediate stage.

    Dandenongs (a good step-up between stage 1 and 2).

    Chum Creek Rd.

    Myers Creek Rd.

    Launching Place to Gembrook.

    Black Spur (continue on to Marysville)

    Great Ocean Road (Geelong to Apollo Bay or Cape Otway Lighthouse)

    Stage Three

    I generally avoid these two roads, because the vehicles on-coming around blind corners in my lane, and under-skilled motorcyclists gunning it, are likely to kill me!

    Heidelberg-King Lake Rd (through the national park)

    Reefton Spur

    All the roads have to a degree been listed, not only in stages, but individually in order of challenge. The perspective I present is subjective and other experienced riders would disagree with certain details (though nobody is 'correct'), but this is, I think, a sound guide. I would take at least a year to do all these roads as a learner, assuming I rode most weekends.

    Remember that it's better to be known as a slower rider than remembered as a fast one! :)


    EDIT: Just thought I'd add this as an idea. Check out the road you're going to ride here www.street-directory.com.au , following the road at Zoom 5 (300m). NB sharp turns, decreasing radius turns, corners that happed at the end of a long straight (where you might be tempted to open it up and so enter the corner too fast). Not that you should try to memorise anything or use this method to predict anything as you ride, but it means you can keep in mind certain challenges. Planning a ride tonight up Mt Baw Baw for the first time I just used this method and I'll be extra wary having seen what I saw. The other method is to watch the route being ridden on Youtube. Don't let the speed put you off, the videos are mostly by sports riders, but you can get a better sense of what challenges you might come across. One Baw Baw video shows a decreasing radius corner and the bike in front over-shoots it off the road while the camera bike crosses the centre line!
  2. I'd add Mt Donna Buang to the stage 1 or 2 - It's a top little road - hardly any traffic - not to long, and being so close to Warburton it's easy to go up and down a few times with food and drink breaks.
  3. Thanks Matt, I'll give Stage One suggestions a go this wknd as have only been lurking around Hurstbridge the past few wks & I really need to get my kms up for 1st service as well as skills.

    Kangaroo Ground to Yarra Glen is a nice road, yet I'm sure it'll feel completely different on a bike :eek:

    Can you tell me if Whittlesea to Yea is less hilly? Its been a whilst since I've been out that way in my car so I can't remember....

  4. Thanks, I forgot to add Donna Buang (personally I'd go Stage 2 for that), and the road to Mt Baw Baw (though I haven't done the whole thing). Re Whittlesea to Yea: yes hilly and windy, but in both cases gentle mannered and very given to just cruising.
  5. Very Good and Handy Post

    Might I also reccomend the Road from Cape Patterson to Inverloch, unsure of the name, I'd rate it about a 2.5, and a 10/10 for the view.

    Just watch out for elderly cyclists struggling to keep thier bikes upright!


  6. hmm interesting summary, to me some of those roads listed in stage 2 quite often have some gravel/crap then other that always have have crap on them, (after a while you get to know which corner to just roll through and which to have a real crack atm but yeah newbies lack that knowledge so just another thing to think about/to catch em out.
  7. Great list!

    Looking forward to some enjoyment on the twofiddy this summer after using it haul my ass to and from work everyday.

    Thanks muchly as I've been wondering where to ride for enjoyment with the better weather coming.
  8. Great thread Matt
  9. Great list Matt. I've ridden some of these and plan to ride more of them in the coming months.

    Fantastic advise that should be in the minds of all newer riders.

    Well done for putting this list together.
  10. It should be:
    Every time you ride you should prepare for surprises that could bring you unstuck Particularly regarding rural riding. :wink:

    Great idea for peeps stuck in the suburbs and for the rest of us who may want to try something different.

    How about some Google Map links?
  11. Or even Map My Ride

    It's a pushbike related site, but good for mapping routes.
  12. Whenever I get a group of people on roads that are moderately dangerous and in a group with mixed riding experiance, I usually organise 2 people to sandwich the newbies.

    Everytime we go to the spur with newbies, noob corner always claim a victim.
  13. The roads in the Dandenongs (Gembrook/Emerald etc) are getting a lot busier now with tourists and Sunday drivers.. Early morning starts are best.

    btw, which corner on the spur is noob corner? One of the 30km hairpins?
  14. heading from healesville into the blackspur, noob corner is a right hander that has a bit of run-off and slightly up a slope on the left side. there is a little straight before and it is a decreasing radius turn.

    Its not a hairpin and more of a sweeper. It is only slightly decreasing radius.

    For some reason newbies alway crash there hence noob corner. But it is prob the best place to crash. Its the only corner with run-off. and you wont go over the hill. But still it is better not to test it.
  15. Do you guys know of any down the Mornington Peninsula instead of Dandenongs? It would take me half a tank of juice just to get to Kangaroo Ground.
  16. arthurs seat or south gippsland
  17. \:D/
    Great thread. Been looking for something like this... I have even managed to find most of these places :eek:
  18. the road behind Arthurs Seat, cunningly called 'Arthurs Seat Road' is pretty good for bozzing along.

    You can do the loop around and go back up Arthurs Seat for another go.

    I ended up following some MGs from there into the countryside, god knows where, but it was all very pleasant in a jolly countryside way. (this is from a city lurker)
  19. South Gippsland

    Hi guys,

    Thought I would post some good roads that I go on almost weekly, others not as much as I would like.

    Loch to Wonthaggi
    Korumburra to Warragul
    Loch to Grantville (Via Kernot - Short Run)
    Grantville to Loch Wonthaggi Road - Turn Left or Right
    Nyora to Poowong - Short Run
    Trafalgar to Mirboo North
    Korumburra to Leongatha - Back Road via Cardella

    Post some more when I remember or ride them.


  20. will hit these roads now that the weather is heating up...