A Cyclist’s Guide to Bayside, Melbourne

Bayside, Australia, boasts some awesome cycling routes
Bayside, Australia, boasts some awesome cycling routes | © Dorling Kindersley ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Frankie Gordon

Cycling is a growing sport in Australia, and local heroes like Richie Porte and Cadel Evans inspire more and more people to get in the saddle to see what all the fuss is about. Melbourne’s Bayside is the place to find out. A Grupo De Compañeros rider and local cycle enthusiast shares his best tips for riding in Bayside and on Beach Road – one of the most popular roads in the world for cycling.

Where to Shop

There are a lot of places in Bayside supplying for 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 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, you’ll find 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.

The Best Routes

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 favourites:
Easy: Hampton to Luna Park along Beach Road Bike Path, 9.2km (5.7mi)

Moderate: Brighton Beach to Mordialloc, 16.3km (10.1mi)

Challenging: Hampton to Arthur’s Seat, 61.1km (38mi)

When to Ride

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 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 among the groups.

Joining a Local Group

Some key advice for anyone looking to start riding in a group is to first get a buddy, as riding in a group with no experience can be daunting and dangerous. Riding with someone experienced who currently is part of 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:

1.

Cafe, Snacks

O’Mara Cycles also has a cafe within their shop. At Cafe Corsair, you’ll find groups of cyclists meeting after their weekend ride (around 10am), probably refuelling on Corsair’s famous sausage rolls.

2.

Cafe, Snacks

Brown Cow is another cycling-sponsored cafe in Hampton and even has its own group. Again, you’ll find groups of local riders here between 9:45am and 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.

Local Teams in Bayside

Those who have ridden in groups before or have experience in competitive cycling and are looking to join a team are best advised to socialise often. Many teams are formed by locals in the various suburbs, which you’ll hear about at the cafes listed above or at competitions.
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.

Tips for Riding on Beach Road

Beach Road is one of the most popular roads in the world for cyclists. 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.

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