Ah Beach Road – Melbourne cycling Mecca.
Every Saturday and Sunday morning there are sure to be thousands of cyclists on the weekly pilgrimage to one of many destinations along the beach road in Melbourne’s southern suburbs along the bay. Beach Road offers cyclists of all levels of ability the chance to get out in the sunshine and enjoy views of our lovely Port Phillip Bay. For beginners, there is a bike path, whilst more confident riders can share the road with the other groups of cyclists. Be wary however, sometimes it can get rather crowded. Beach Road is so popular with cyclists many have taken to social media with the hashtag #notbeachroad to inform people when they’re riding a different route for a change!
And yes, we call it “Beach Road” but it actually incorporates from Beaconsfield Parade in Port Melbourne, Marine Parade in St Kilda, St Kilda Street through Elwood and The Esplanade in Brighton until you finally hit Beach Road proper in Sandringham. It has a number of points that are frequently used as a turnaround spot, which makes it very attractive for cyclists, as you can journey as far as you want without having to pick out a new route every week. Here is a list of spots that a frequently used as a turn around with rough distances if you’re using Carlton as a start/finish:
- Black Rock ~55km
- Mordialloc ~75km
- Frankston ~95km (For the also well known Two Bays Loop, add an extra 15km and 200 meters of climbing)
- Arthurs Seat ~ 160km
- Sorrento ~ 200 big ones
Due to the massive distances of the last three options, most people ride to either Black Rock or Mordialloc; however you can turn around whenever you want! For this brief write up I will focus on the shorter distances, and in later weeks discuss the Two Bays Loop as it is a cracker.
Black Rock has a nice roundabout which you can simply ride around, and Mordialloc has a nice pier and car park to stop and recuperate before starting the ride home. Black Rock, (or flat-rock to some) is a nice flat section of road which snakes its way south, through St Kilda, Brighton and Sandringham before coming into Black Rock. The Black Rock shopping prescient is often bustling in the morning with groups of cyclists sitting together sharing a yarn and latte. However, once you pass through Black Rock the hills start rolling slightly, so the ride down to Mordialloc is a little more challenging but nothing insurmountable.
To get to Beach Road I would recommend a few different ways through the city. Either Swanston Street (which is closed off for cars, just mind the trams), cross the Yarra River then down St Kilda Road, and once you reach the domain interchange make your way west towards the bay. Or, down William Street (there’s a nice bike lane here, following the road left then quickly right under the train line, passing Crown Casino, and following the road, till you meet the City Road intersection. From here you can either turn right on City Road, which will eventually turn into Bay Street, which takes you to the very top of Beach Road. Or alternatively chicane across City Road at the intersection, and going down Moray Street until you meet Albert Road, from here head west until you meet beach road.
The last option (and probably the safest) involves making your way to Docklands, and following the bike path all the way to Port Melbourne. This is very hard to describe so I’ve included a map about how to best navigate through docklands and around the DFO. If you continue along that bike path you’ll meet the water!
Last few notes on Beach Road, while it’s a great place to ride for all levels of cyclists, sometimes boys and their egos tend to get a bit carried away with how quickly they are riding and can come to pass quite close. To ride safely, ride in a single file use hand gestures when you’re changing direction, and let your fellow riders know of any upcoming obstacles. We’re all brothers and sisters out on the road after all! If you’re all unsure feel free to jump on the path but remember that pedestrians also use this path so don’t hoon along at 30kph.
Lastly, no matter the weather, there is always a headwind on the way home. Take that into account when you’re working out where you’d like to turn around (although, there is the train line running alongside quite a bit of it).