There are a lot of places in Bayside supplying all your cycling needs. Larger stores like Giant and Hampton Cycles, both located in Hampton, cover a range of cycling types and levels and are definitely good places to start if you’re new to the country or looking to start riding regularly. On the more experienced end of the spectrum are Terry Hammond in Highett and O’Mara Cycles in Black Rock. They help those riders who are familiar with road cycling and are looking for a more professional offer.
Cruising alongside the beach, Beach Road is the hub for some of Bayside’s best rides, with the option of either heading toward the city or to the Mornington Peninsula. There are plenty of rides to try, here are a few of the local favorites:
Easy: Hampton to Luna Park along Beach Road Bike Path, 9.2km
Moderate: Brighton Beach to Mordialloc, 16.3km
Challenge: Hampton to Arthur’s Seat, 61.1km
Beach Road is notoriously busy, so it pays to know when the quieter times are, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
Weekdays: 11am-4pm are generally the safer times to ride. Without a lot of traffic around, this is an ideal time to get out and practice riding.
Weekends: Before 9am when most cycling groups are on the road. It is your best chance to meet local riders and get a feel for the road etiquette amongst the groups.
Some key advice for anyone looking to start riding in a group is to first get a buddy; riding in a group with no experience can be daunting and dangerous. Riding with someone who has experience and currently rides in a group or team is a great way to learn the etiquette of group riding and to join a team for weekly rides. Here are a couple of places where you can grab a coffee and meet the local riders:
Corsair Café: O’Mara Cycles also has a café within their shop. At Corsair Café, you’ll find groups of cyclists meeting after their weekend ride (around 10am), probably refueling on Corsair’s famous sausage rolls.
Brown Cow: Brown Cow is another cycling-sponsored café in Hampton and even has its own group. Again, you’ll find groups of local riders here between 9:45am-11am. Brown Cow also hosts events during the Tour de France season, so you’ll be sure to find a lot of cycling enthusiasts here.
Those who have ridden in groups before or have experience in competitive cycling and are looking to join a team are best advised to socialize often. There are a lot of teams formed by locals throughout the various suburbs, which you’ll hear about at the cafés listed above or at competitions and local crits.
St.Kilda Cycling Club is a good bet, as they hold seasonal information evenings for new members looking to join and train with them for competitions. They are a more established club, which offers men’s, women’s and mixed groups for various ages and levels, making this a great starting place for anyone who is new to Melbourne.
Beach Road is the second most popular road in the world for cyclists — awesome! There is a bike path, so use it if you’re feeling nervous or a lot of traffic has suddenly appeared. It runs throughout the whole Bayside area, so it’s always there if you need it. When riding at night, use a light. This is common sense, but always have a light on your bike even during the day, particularly in winter, as the sun can go down quickly.