Dayna's Blog

Holidays, walks and who knows what

The Inaugural Ride of the Melbourne Brompton Club

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The plan was to meet at Green Park (near Velo, Carlton North) at 8am on Sunday, 3 May 2015, for a group ride into and around Melbourne/Southbank/Docklands.

After an initial wince at the thought of an 8am start, I told myself it wouldn’t be any worse than a usual workday, and to grow a spine. But honestly, Stephen and I have been really looking forward to this ride, so there weren’t any grumbles when the alarm when off this morning – I even got an extra half an hour’s sleep compared to a weekday!

The ride started conveniently close to where we live, so we rode to the meeting point and found Stanley and Elsie waiting for us.

Meeting Stanley (left) and Elsie (centre) at the meeting point. Stephen is in blue on the right - Melbourne Brompton Club - Green Park, Carlton North

Meeting Stanley (left) and Elsie (centre) at the meeting point. Stephen is in blue on the right.

 

Our ‘maybes’ for the ride didn’t turn up, so with just the four of us making up the group and the whole day pretty much at our disposal, it was decided to follow the Capital City Trail (the bike path we were on – which used to be Melbourne’s Inner Circle Railway Line) west towards Royal Park where it skirts around Melbourne Zoo.

Heading off - rail trails make for a pretty cruisey ride

Heading off – rail trails make for a pretty cruisey ride

Crossing over the tracks at Royal Park Station, Capital City Trail then crosses Poplar Road within about 20 metres to continue following the railway line along to Flemington Bridge Station.

Here the cycle path does a sharp zigzag and drops down to street level. Capital Trail continues along beside Railway Canal, providing views of Citylink, old bridges and wildlife that the traffic rushing overhead won’t get to enjoy. Or possibly even suspect is there.

In addition to the very common Pacific Black Ducks and Australian Wood Ducks, I’m sure I saw some Chestnut Teals a pair of Black Swans, a few Great Egret’s last week, a pair of Purple Swamp Hens this week. Eurasian Coots are also fairly common. And they were just the obvious species! I’d love to take a pair of binoculars and stop around Royal Park to try to identify more of the passerines (perching birds) heard as we cycled by.

 

By the time we reached the intersection where Capital City Trail crosses Footscray Road we had been joined by quite a number of other cyclists. The previous weekend when Stephen and I had come this way we’d had it all to ourselves! I admit, both the rain and the fact that it was ANZAC day may have had something to do with that… Today, on the other hand, was a great day for riding.

We've got quite a crowd with us now

We’ve got quite a crowd with us now

After a quick photo with the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel (still working!) we headed around to the pier.

Bromptons of the inaugural ride in front of the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Bromptons of the inaugural ride in front of the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Naturally we couldn’t pass up a photo at the pier. Or with the colourful buildings and strange – or should I say, ‘artistic’ – mountain-things around us.

 

Not much further along Elsie spotted a bike. Well, a bike-shaped bike rack, to be precise, so naturally that called for another photo. I was quite enjoying this ‘see and stop’ style of riding. The guys came back to check we were ok; reassured all was fine (our respective partners understand and have learnt to cope with our frequent stopping for a photo habits, it would seem) we set off again.

 

A bike-shaped bike rack. Neat!

A bike-shaped bike rack. Neat!

Leaving Docklands, we used the lovely Jim Stynes Bridge to connect with the distinctive Seafarers Bridge, where we crossed the Yarra River.

 

Although Stephen and I had eaten a light breakfast before setting off this morning, it turned out that Stanley and Elsie hadn’t eaten at all, so we stopped at The Boatbuilders Yard, right next to the Polly Woodside for breakfast. It seems to be a popular stop for cyclists and pedestrians. I was pretty happy with my toast; finally – somewhere that gives you sweet and savoury spreads!

Enjoying breakfast at The Boatbuilders Yard

Enjoying breakfast at The Boatbuilders Yard

Making our way up Southbank after breakfast was fun. There weren’t crowds of people (yet) so even though we were riding at a considerately slow pace, we could enjoy the plane trees, whose leaves are turning colour and falling at the moment, the artworks and easy ride along the smooth dark pavers.

We crossed the Yarra River again at Sandridge Bridge, continued under Princes Bridge (St Kilda Road), then road back up to the main street level using Princes Walk, after briefly stopping to greet some quite large, but very lovely, fluffy dogs (a Malamute and an Akita) and their owner.

 

This close to Flinders Station, it would have been ridiculous to pass up the opportunity to stop for a photo beneath the clocks at the main entrance. Lucky it wasn’t peak hour – it was hard enough getting a clear shot as it was!

Melbourne Brompton Club at one of Melbourne's best-known icons - Flinders Street Station (photo by Stephen Powell)

Melbourne Brompton Club at one of Melbourne’s best-known icons – Flinders Street Station (photo by Stephen Powell)

From here we were more or less on the homeward leg… with a small diversion to the Queen Victoria Markets. Setting off along Swanson Street, I was incredibly thankful for the bike lane. City riding is tricky enough at the best of times, what with trams, horse and carriages (for tourists), and – worst of all – pedestrians!

Riding along Swanston Street

Riding along Swanston Street

But we made it through; all intact and without incident, only to be laughed at – laughed at!! – by some bloke at the QV Markets when he saw me and my Brompton! That’s not the usual reaction I’ve had to-date, and my first thought was ‘Wait until you see there are three more following me!’ but he reportedly laughed at the sight of the rest of them, too! I’m not sure what he found so mirthful. Maybe we took him by surprise? Maybe he was delighted? I have to agree with Elsie, though – he did seem to be a bear-ish kind of a bloke.

Laughing bear-like men aside, we’d reached the donut van. Stanley and Elsie declined, but Stephen and I treated ourselves to a bag (shared) of piping hot, jam donuts. Oooh what a treat!

Stanley posing in front of the doughnut van - Queen Victoria Market

Stanley posing in front of the doughnut van – Queen Victoria Market

The MELBOURNE sign is very near the donut van, in the middle of the market. It would have been nice to have a fifth Brompton along for ideal spacing, but… maybe next time. Stanley’s shared a great panoramic photo of the bike from today on the club’s Facebook page.

Bromptons in front of the Melbourne sign at Queen Victoria Market

Bromptons in front of the Melbourne sign at Queen Victoria Market

Leaving the market, we rode one block up Elizabeth Street, then followed the green bike lane along Queensberry Street to the Carlton Gardens. Yep, you guessed it. Another group photo! This time in front of the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum.

The Carlton Gardens are one of my favourite places in Melbourne. Maybe because they’re so familiar – I walk through them each weekday and see the changes in every season. It could be that Melbourne gardens are just lovely. Riding your bike through the gardens is not allowed though, so we set off along the shared footpath on Rathdowne Street, then rode down the (slightly) steep and leafy Barkly Street to meet up with Canning Street, which would take us all the way back to Green Park and our starting point.

The leafy Barkly Street leads to Canning Street

The leafy Barkly Street leads to Canning Street

I believe we all enjoyed today’s ride. We were out for about 4 hours, but that included a lengthy breakfast stop, numerous photo stops and a riding pace that I would describe (overall) as ‘unhurried’. Estimated distance travelled was 18km (~11 miles).

I hope the success of this first ride bodes well for many future rides.

: )

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Author: Dayna

I'm interested in nature, hiking and photography - but these have been somewhat overwhelmed by a new passion... my Brompton folding bikes! You can follow me on Twitter: @daynaa2000 or @Brompton_MEL Or find me hanging out most Saturdays at Velo Electric & Folding (http://velocycles.com.au/folding-bikes/) or on a Melbourne Brompton Club ride! (https://melbournebromptonclub.wordpress.com)

24 thoughts on “The Inaugural Ride of the Melbourne Brompton Club

  1. Wow, I’m very impressed by those cycling paths and the stamina of your mob. Fancy someone laughing at you! The cheek. 😉
    Great that you saw so many birds too. That’s another benefit of cycling. You see so much more wildlife than you do from a car.
    Loved the happy smiles and the great pics. That bike rack is very cool. Super panoramic shot of the cycles against the Melbourne sign.
    Thanks for taking us on a great ride. I wish the Melbourne Brompton Club well! I wish I could have joined you. Sadly, I am in Brisbane and do not have a Brompton. One day though. perhaps… 🙂

  2. It looks like you all had a great time. I liked seeing your photos of a few of the well known tourist spots – makes me want to get back to Melbourne for a few days again 🙂 And as for the guy who laughed at you, I agree with Jane – what cheek!

    • Hi Amanda,
      We certainly did have a great day. It was lots of fun taking photos of the bikes in front of various well known spots. Plenty more to bag.
      All I can say about the ‘cheeky’ bloke is that at least it wasn’t a nasty laugh. He really did find something very amusing. I was bamboozled more than insulted.
      Thanks for reading. 😊

  3. LOL, Dayna, I didn’t even know what a Brompton was til now!!! Obviously I am not a cyclist 🙂 You are a brave bunch cycling through the heart of Melbourne; goodness knows how scary even the pedestrians can be! I admire your determination. Give me a back-pack and a mountain any day, over cycling through the city. 🙂

    • Hi Leah (I hope I have that right?),
      Cycling around traffic – let alone through the city! – is one reason I didn’t rush to bring or buy a bike when I moved down. It can be really scary! But riding in a group helped.
      I’m not at all surprised you haven’t heard of Bromptons previously. I only found out about them about just over a year ago! They are absolutely fantastic, however. If you’re interested, I shared the story of how I came to be a Brompton enthusiast in my last post: Ticket To Ride (http://wp.me/p3eAz6-1hq).
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment : )

  4. Hi Dayna thanks for a very enjoyable post and pics that took me straight back to my home town and that lovely soft grey light that is quintessentially Victorian in my mind. Love the street art and autumn leaves. Bromptons look pretty cool to me. Cheers, Paula

    • Hi Paula,
      Thank you for reading and your lovely comment. It was a marvelous day for a ride and we fell we made the most if it! I’m looking forward to the next one already. 😊

  5. Hi Dayna, enjoyed reading about your inaugural Brompton excursion. I lived in London 2005-2010 and bought a Brompton in 2009 and bought it back to Melbourne with me. Quite a cult bike in the UK and Europe more broadly! I would be interested in knowing more about the Melbourne Brompton Club.
    Regards,
    Denis.

  6. Having been fascinated with Australia since my parents nearly emigrated in the 1950s, it is a pleasure to read about ordinary, everyday life.
    How often I have wished that they had actually emigrated.

    • Thank you for the compliment to Australia, Elena. Sometimes we Aussies do tend to forget just how good life is in the ‘lucky country’. But while it is important to recognise the good things you have in life, it’s equally important to strive to be better. No country is perfect.
      I hope you have a lovely day 🙂

  7. France is really very nice, and so are the people, so I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

    I was sort of on my way to Australia when I left England, but I ran out of money for the really big adventure to the other side of the world. May be one day.

    • Ah, money! Imagine where we’d be if it didn’t exist!
      Don’t worry. Australia’s not going to float off the edge of the earth just yet. 😉

  8. “Unhurried” makes for some beautiful riding Dayna. And it’s so good that you toured around the streets of Melbourne on your Bromptons – apart from the “bear-ish” character – as there are probably many people who’s interest was piqued by seeing your Brompton crew having such a great time cycling.

    It was lovely to see the autumnal colours of Melbourne. Thanks for an enjoyable post! 🙂

    • Thanks for reading Gail. I haven’t participated in a group ride previously, so I have to say my first experience has not let me down!
      Glad you enjoyed the photos, too. Your cycling adventures in Norway recently, and the Gold Coast usually, are always a good read. 🙂

  9. Hey Dayna I often ride My Brommie along capital city trail past Green Park mainly on Saturdays that day i was else where in melb i am interested in joining you group

  10. Pingback: Melbourne Brompton Club – Ride to St Kilda Pier – 31 May, 2015 | Dayna's Blog

  11. Reblogged this on MELBOURNE BROMPTON CLUB and commented:

    Our first club ride!
    It took a couple of attempts, but now we’re full steam ahead with a ride at the end of each month.
    Don’t forget that the Brompton Urban Challenge is coming to Melbourne on 10 October this year – join us to keep up to date with updates. #BUCMEL
    Happy riding 🙂

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