Tallarook was the starting point for our very first ever three day ride with The Flipster. It’s only one hour from Melbourne, or slightly less, whether that’s by train or car, and as the starting point for the Great Victorian Rail Trail there was nothing crook about it at all.
The Great Victorian Rail Trail is 120-ish kms of connected off road riding running from Tallarook to Mansfield via Yea and Yarck. With towns spaced at quite small distances along it, often twenty or thirty kms (sometimes less) it makes a great trail to try with kids, or even just to ride yourself when you really can’t be fussed doing much planning or carrying.
(I’m writing a much more detailed breakdown of the trip which you can download if you’re interested in the logistics. Check back for an update in a week or so)
But for now, lets focus on the sunshine, the devonshire teas, the cold beers, the flat tyres, the best spaghetti, the coffee, glorious days outdoors and the simplicity of getting up everyday and only having to ride.
Briefly, we rode from Tallarook to Yea, Yea to Yarck and then Yarck to Bonnie Doon over three days. We abandoned the last stage to Mansfield as we discovered the Flipster’s limitations over the first few days.
We discovered the Flipster can average 30-35kms per day and still enjoy the ride, that, with stops, you need to plan for an average of 10kms per hour, and that it helps if you get up early and ride your daily thirty-ish kms before midday and the 30+ temperatures.
We also discovered that it is possible to ride excruciatingly slow up a large hill, the Merton Gap, with a whingy ten year old and have all forgotten about it by the time you spin down the other side.
We didn’t want to be bothered carrying stuff so took one change of clothes each carried in one bag that the Dutchman and I took turns in carrying. We ate all of our meals at pubs, cafes and general stores. Because of the relatively small distances between towns this was easy and meant we didn’t have to worry about carrying food etc. It was our version of credit card touring.
We rode our city bikes; a single-speed Surly Steamroller, an eight speed custom built commuter and the Flipster’s first road bike. All had their usual city tyres.
We stayed at the Yea Motel and the Yarck Pub, having made reservations beforehand, since it was a long weekend. Both were pretty basic, well actually the pub was extremely basic, but fine for one night and had excellent food!
And at the end of our ride we called Mark Spencer of Rail Trail Bike Tours to come and pick us up and take us and our bikes back to our car at Tallarook. But not before having a beer.
If you’d like to hear what the Flipster thought about it check out this podcast.