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April 12, 2016

Life’s a Beach: Cycling Route 33 (St Kilda to Mordialloc)

Route 33, St Kilda to Mordialloc (otherwise known as the Beach Road), has been lauded as the world’s premier cycle training route by the Bicycle Network of Victoria. The Melbourne cycling community would seem to agree. Like clockwork, thousands of cyclists turn up to enjoy the challenge and the camaraderie of the ride every weekend morning, more often than not well outnumbering the cars. From hardened competitor to amateur enthusiast alike, there is something for everyone to be had on the Beach Road ride.

The ride in itself is arguably not all that challenging; it follows a mostly flat, scenic stretch of coastline over 23 kilometres stretching from St Kilda to Mordialloc, making the total round trip from St Kilda to ‘Mordy’ and back approximately 46 kilometres. Those wanting a more challenging riding experience can choose to do the ‘full loop’ down to Portsea and back, which extends the route out to 180km.

Despite all this focus on cycling, it’s entirely possible that the best feature of the Beach Road is the vast selection of coffee options available en route. From traditional meccas like Café Racer to specialised hybrid coffee/bike shops like Café Velocino, most are extremely cyclist-friendly, offering a range of features like outdoor seating, bike racks and early opening hours.

The Beach Road is not without its controversies, however. The very thing that makes it great – its vast popularity with the Melbourne cycling community – also has its drawbacks. The Beach Road forms a section of a bigger route over which hundreds of cyclists regularly take part in a group ride known as ‘The Hell Ride, an iconic Saturday morning training run notorious for some of its casualties – both cyclists and pedestrians. The sheer volume of riders on the road and the speed at which they are travelling has meant that conditions can sometimes be dangerous for both those who take part in the ride and those who are swept up in its wake.

For those riding the Beach Road for the experience and not the competition, remembering a couple of precautionary tips should steer you clear of danger. After all, the best thing about the Beach Road is that it is so accessible to everyone. To stay safe, it is recommended you:

  • Stay aware: of the road conditions and the size of the group;

  • Stay focused: this is not the time for lapses in attention; and

  • Stay respectful: of other riders and other road users.

One last tip: the ride wouldn’t be complete without a stop at The Cycling Sports Elwood Store – located just 200m off the route at 53 Glen Huntly Road, Elwood. Right in the perfect spot to handle any last minute cycling emergencies, the store is also very convenient for a spot of spontaneous shopping to satisfy even the most fashion conscious of cyclists.

 


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