After being stuck down on the southern island for some time now, I finally managed a trip up to Melbourne with my bike. You all know what that means. Hitting the iconic Melbourne Beach Road for some epic bunch riding!
It’s no secret that I love the Beach Road. Every single morning of the week you can find – quite literally – hundreds of road cyclists hammering up and down this infamous stretch of Melbourne’s southern suburbs. There is also the HELL RIDE every Saturday, but unfortunately I wasn’t around to give that another bash.
It’s not for everyone, but the beach road is a competitive roadie’s dream. One weekday morning I rode down to meet a fast bunch for their pre-work spin. When I say spin, I mean absolute hammer fest. There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of being on the rivet, flying down a public road in a 40-rider strong bunch touching 45km/hr. It’s utter madness. I’m actually surprised the overbearing Victorian Police haven’t put a stop to it!
It sure is crazy, almost like a full-on criterium race. We were passing other small bunches like they were standing still, and even got passed by a local race crew like WE were standing still.
After around an hour we hit the final “drop everyone” section, where half the bunch pulled away and the other half (me included) went even more hell-for-leather! Guys were dropping off the back as the pace rose and rose. Quickly it whittled down to eight of us and that’s where I popped. After a short turn on the front I drifted to the back, then just couldn’t hold the wheel. Pulling well over 300 watts in the draft I watched the elastic snap and the seven others pull away. That was me done. Toast.
Even with traffic lights and a U-turn at Mordi, we averaged bang on 40km/hr for the bunch ride. I will admit, I hardly touched the front during the ride. The megawatt monsters rolling multiple huge turns on the front must have been SO strong.
Beach Road riding is not without it’s dangers of course. You really need to keep your wits about you. There’s cars passing on one side, bollards and slower riders on the other. One morning I saw a group stopped at the side of the road, one of their guys had run straight into the back of a parked car. He was fine, but his bike shattered (the AMG Mercedes was a little worse for wear too).
It was a bit of a whirlwind trip for some work in the FulGaz office and the Christmas party, but I still managed to get out and ride most mornings. The best time is between 5:30am and 8am on a weekday. All the faster bunches get out early before the commuter traffic builds up. I didn’t realise just how much I missed the Beach Road blasts. I can’t wait to get back up there in 2023 for some more fast and furious fun!