To say that cycling is popular in Melbourne is an understatement.
Just go along Beach Road between St Kilda and Mordialloc early on a Saturday or Sunday morning to find out why: you’ll see hundreds of weekend warriors in lycra-clad peletons sweeping down the wide, bayside road.
Melbourne ophthalmologist and cyclist, Mark Ellis says the 50km return city to Blackrock ride along Beach Road is one of his favourites because the views are breathtaking and of course, vital to a Melbournian, there are plenty of coffee stops to choose from.
His second favourite is the ride to Sassafras in the Dandenong Ranges, which rewards cyclists with great views (and great coffee of course) after a 6.8km climb through a natural tunnel of ferns and eucalypt forest.
Called the 1:20, there are time trial markers for serious cyclists who, Mark explains, “quote times like a golf handicap”. In case you need to know what to beat, the current record is 12.24.
So why cycling is so popular?
I’d say it’s a combination of great terrain and ideal weather.
Occasionally too hot in the summer, it’s never too cold – most winter mornings will be 6 degrees at dawn, usually rising to about 15 degrees by midday.
Melbourne’s cycling terrain varies from the wide, flat roads to undulating hills, and there’s a huge network of bike paths in between if you prefer to stay away from cars.
Outside Melbourne the options are endless – summer mountain biking in ski resorts, long road bike rides by the coast or into the high country, and gentle gourmet trails in the wine regions.
If you’re visiting Melbourne, here’s a few tips on where to hire bikes and popular routes for city cycling, road biking and mountain biking.
City bike tours
A bike tour of Melbourne is a great way to cover a lot of ground, see the sights and sample the food in just four hours. Take a look at my latest blog post about this Melbourne city tour with Freddy’s Bike Tours on a city cruiser bike.
Self-guided bike routes
You can also hire city cruisers, e-bikes and mountain bikes from Freddy’s Bike Tours to go on longer self-guided trips on one of the bike trails leading out of the city. Here’s a small selection of what’s available:
Capital City Trail – 30km loop on a bike/pedestrian shared path past parklands, the zoo and northern city suburbs.
Port Melbourne & St Kilda – 20km loop on a mixture of bike paths and roads to the bayside suburbs via the Botanical Gardens and Albert Park Lake.
Yarra River Trail – 22km one way on a beautiful, winding river bike path with an 8km return by road or return via the path.
Beach Road – this iconic 60km return trip takes you from the city centre to the coastal town of Mordialloc via St Kilda, Brighton and Blackrock.
Albert Park – this is a shorter 15km city ride but you get to do laps of the Grand Prix circuit in Albert Park.
Yarra Boulevard – mostly along bike trails and quiet roads this ride follows the Yarra River from Federation Square to Kew.
1/20 and The Wall – hill climbs in the Dandenong ranges to the east of the city.
Bike hire and tours
10 Bikes will deliver Giant TCR Advanced bikes to your door for $80 per 24hrs – all you need to bring along is clothing, cleats and a helmet. Leon will also take you on a tour if you’d like some guidance on the best road biking spots.
Livelo will deliver Bianchi Aria bikes and a helmet to your door for $100 per 24hrs and also offers three and five hour guided tours.
You can hire mountain bikes from Freddy’s Bike Tours to use on trails on the outskirts of the city or further out in Victoria. These include:
Easy – just 6km from the city centre there’s a beginner’s 7km trail for mountain bikes in Westgate Park.
Blue – accessible via the Yarra Trail around 25km from the city centre is Hans Loop in Candlebark Park – a 4.3km track.
All abilities – 40km from the city centre is Lysterfield Park where there are 20km of trails for all abilities includin the 6.3km course used for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
One day trips
If you want a guided introduction to mountain biking you could try this mountain bike tour of the You Yangs about 45 minutes outside Melbourne
Looking for something more challenging in the high country of Victoria? Take a look at the variety of trips offered by Mountain Bike Tours Australia.
Gourmet Food & Wine Trails
More things to do in Melbourne
The Melbourne pocket list
Walking tours of Melbourne
Melbourne laneway photo tour
Art exhibitions and sculpture
Getting up close to Australian animals
Where to eat in Melbourne
Where to play golf in Victoria
Seeing Melbourne from the air
Melbourne bike tour