Melbourne: Australia's Cycling Capital City - The Best Rides
Ivanhoe Cycles is a proud Victorian business, and even though that may make us a little biased, there is one fact that is beyond dispute. Melbourne is one of Australia's most cycling-friendly cities, with rides to suit all ages, a well-developed cycling network, and a varied range of trails to suit road bikes, off-road adventurers, and casual cyclists.
But you don't have to take our word for it – here are some of the best rides that you can take in Melbourne and the surrounding areas. For visitors, there are fantastic rides to discover the city and all it has to offer. And for locals, don't miss out on the chance to be a tourist in your own city, we're betting that you'll find some hidden gems that you wish you'd known about sooner!
The Bayside Trail
The shores of Port Phillip Bay are a wonderful weekend ride, with the foreshore coming alive with markets, food trucks and locals enjoying the outdoors each week. The Victorian Government realised some time ago that the bay was one of the great drawcards of the city, and invested in its transport links, including great cycle paths.
Now, the 18-kilometre ride can be easily covered in two hours, and the going is very simple with long stretches of flat open pathway hugging the shoreline. At one end of the Bayside trail is Gem Pier and the historic HMAS Castlemaine, while the award-winning Scienceworks which is hugely popular with kids is also found along the trail.
The Bayside Trail also takes riders under the huge landmark of the Westgate Bridge, through to Albert Park and right up to St Kilda.
The Capital City Trail
If you want to take in the tourist landmarks of Melbourne, the Capital City Trail is the way to go. The beginning of the ride is at the Southbank precinct, home to Crown Casino and the Victorian Arts Centre. A little further down the path is the sporting epicentre of Australia, with the towering MCG, Rod Laver Arena, AAMI Stadium and the surrounding training facilities all within a stone's throw of each other. Further afield the Royal Botanic Gardens and beautifully preserved Como House also lie on the trail.
The ride is a little longer, with a 29-kilometre length, but cyclists should set aside a whole day to complete this trail if they want to take in all the sights at a leisurely pace. The trail also takes in the Melbourne Zoo, the Maritime Museum and plenty of parks and waterfront gardens ideal for a break.
The Maribyrnong River Trail
For those riders wanting to leave the city behind a little bit, the Maribyrnong River Trail is ideal. Like the Capital City Trail, this leisurely 28-kilometre ride begins in the Southbank precinct, before winding past the newer Docklands area and through Footscray Road.
After that, the site of the world-renowned Melbourne Cup Carnival, Flemington Racecourse, is a stop along the trail, before riders cross the river. While there is a moderate climb halfway through the trail, those who complete it are given spectacular views of the city skyline and the river.
The trail also winds through Brimbank Park, with its huge red gums and grassy expanses, which make it the perfect place to throw down a picnic rug and relax under the trees.
The Bay Trail
St Kilda has long been a mecca for creative types, foodies and musicians, and cycling this iconic Melbourne suburb is the best way to see as much of it as possible while still feeling like you are part of the vibrant lifestyle.
The well known St Kilda Pier forms the starting point for the Bay Trail before the ride takes you to Luna Park. There are ample places to park your bike so you wander inside for an hour or two, and this short six-kilometre ride lends itself to lots of stops along the way.
This is just as well, as Acland Street is just a short ride away, with its multitude of cake shops and cafes ready to be sampled, and a range of speciality music shops and bookstores that are very browse-worthy.
The St Kilda marina is also within view for most of this ride, with some beautiful yachts always on show, and kiteboarders a staple further out in the bay.
We hope that whether you're a local or a visitor to Melbourne, that you'll decide to grab a bike and go exploring. If you want to upgrade your road bike, buy a mountain bike, or just want some friendly, professional advice about buying your kids their first bike, just drop into us here at Ivanhoe Cycles and have a chat to our friendly and helpful team.